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Red Report 2016 - Keyvius Sampson

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I wanna talk to Sampson!

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Fast Facts

Position: Pitcher
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6' 2", Weight: 225 lb.

Keyvius Sampson was born January 6, 1991 in Gainesville, FL. He attended Forest High School in Ocala, FL, where he excelled to the point where the Padres felt compelled to used their 4th round pick in 2009 to procure his services. Sampson signed in August and made two starts over two leagues in San Diego's system... for a total of a whopping 8 innings. It was a small but promising sample from the 18 year old.

Sampson's breakout season came as a 20 year old for the Fort Wayne TinCaps, where he tossed 118 innings over 24 starts, good for a 2.90 ERA and a very strong 10.9 K/9. His subsequent transition to AA San Antonio wasn't as smooth, however, posting an ERA of 5 in his first 122.1 innings with the Missions.

He started 2013 getting shellacked as a member of the AAA Padres, posting an ERA over 8.00. His second go around with San Antonio proved to be Missions: Possible, however; his line improved dramatically across the board. He was promoted to AAA again late that summer.

In 2014, Sampson spent 91.2 innings with AAA El Paso. He league again busted him up for a 7.17 ERA to go along with a 1.735 WHIP and a 6.7 BB/9. In December, the Padres decided to give up on Sampson, who was still only 23 years old and who most prospect  forecasters considered the Padres 9th best prospect.

The Reds scooped him up, then, and his time in 2015 pitching over multiple Reds levels, including 12 game starting stint over the last two months of the season. That went.. predictably, but he showed the Reds enough talent to keep his spot on the team after it was all said and done.

Organizational Information

Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 4th round of the 2009 amateur draft.
Signed August 16, 2009
Debut: July 30, 2015 (Age 24.205, 18,568th in MLB history) vs. PIT 1.0 IP, 0 H, 2 SO, 0 BB, 0 ER
Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 2015 season 
Team: Reds 2015
2016 Contract Status: Pre-Arb Eligible 
Service Time (01/2016): 0.067, Arb Eligible: 2019, Free Agent: 2022

Career Statistics

Scouting Report

Remember that time that he saved/did something dirty to Todd Frazier in a game?

Oh, and just last weekend, Chad Tromp (I have no idea who that is, either) hit poor Keyvius with a pickoff attempt.


2016 Projections

Outlook

Keyvius Sampson has a decent shot of making the Reds bullpen out of spring training for 2016 because, I mean, why not? There are really no obvious names that you just have to pencil in for the Reds pen this year aside from JJ Hoover and, even then, would it be so shocking to see Hoover dealt if he gets off to a strong start as the newly minted Reds closer?

Tony Cingrani and Jumbo Diaz seem to be obvious fits, should their shoulder and command allow, respectively. Blake Wood has a major league contract, so, whatever. Chris O'Grady is both a much needed lefty and a Rule 5 draftee, so that may get him in without even considering performance. Otherwise? Who knows.

The Reds trusted Sampson to start 12 games at the end of last season. He got shellacked for the most part, but it's obvious now that the starting experiment is over. Sampson just turned 25 in January, mighty young enough to carve a career out of being a bullpen specialist.

In fact, it's long been said by scouts that Sampson's major league future, if he had one, would be out of the 'pen. And, if there's any team to give his raw talents a whirl, results be damned, it's the 2016 Cincinnati Reds. With a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can flash higher in doses to go along with an above-average change, Sampson has the raw tools to be successful. He can wild at times (hello, 4.5 BB/9), but he's never really been given a regular chance in the bullpen.

If things break his way, that chance will come now.