Born: June 27, 1989
Height: 6’7″
Weight: 245
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Drafted: 3rd Round, 80th Overall, 2008 (Royals)
How Acquired: Rule 5 draft (minor league phase)
High School: Mullen (CO) HS
Agent: N/A


Sample is a big RHP who was considered raw when drafted out of high school.  His fastball in his first year sat at 92-94, reaching 96, but was in the 91-93 range in his second year.  His main secondary pitch is a knuckle curve and he also throws a change.  Baseball America ranked him as Kansas City’s 14th best prospect after his first two seasons, but his control issues got worse in full season ball.  He’s not a groundball pitcher.  He’s had reverse platoon splits as often as not since he reached full season ball.  The Pirates selected him in the minor league phase of the 2013 Rule 5 draft.

R:  0-5-0, 9.00 ERA, 2.19 WHIP, 27.0 IP, 9.7 BB/9, 13.0 K/9

Sample obviously struggled badly with his control in his debut, although he at least missed a lot of bats.

R:  0-1-0, 6.75 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 4.0 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 11.2 K/9
R+:  4-2-1, 2.84 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 50.2 IP, 3.6 BB/9, 7.8 K/9

Sample spent most of his second season in the advanced rookie Appalachian League and pitched much better, holding opponents to a .184 average.

A:  6-10-0, 4.69 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 121.0 IP, 7.1 BB, 8.6 K/9

The Royals moved Sample up to full season ball and things didn’t go well.  Opponents hit only .231 against him, but walks were obviously a major problem.

A+:  7-12-0, 5.25 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 130.1 IP, 4.0 BB/9, 5.9 K/9

Sample continued struggling in high A.  He didn’t walk nearly as many, but he got hit harder and his K rate cratered.

A+:  1-9-0, 5.84 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 98.2 IP, 4.8 BB/9, 8.3 K/9

The Royals sent Sample back to high A for a second year and he continued to struggle.  Midway through the season he moved to the bullpen.  Overall, he had largely the same year as in 2011, except his K rate rebounded.

A+:  2-4-0, 5.06 ERA, 1.92 WHIP, 48.0 IP, 9.2 BB/9, 8.9 K/9

Sample missed the first two months of the season, then pitched mainly in relief, once again in high A.  His already-shaky control disappeared and he walked over a batter an inning.

A+:  1-0-0, 6.11 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 17.2 IP, 6.1 BB/9, 10.2 K/9
AA:  3-3-0, 6.49 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, 34.2 IP, 7.8 BB/9, 7.3 K/9

Sample opened the season with Altoona, pitching out of the rotation at first.  In early June he suffered a left ankle injury and, when he returned in late July, the Pirates sent him to Bradenton.  He pitched in relief there.  Sample was ineffective most of the time, although oddly in his very last appearance he threw four perfect innings and fanned nine.  Generally, though, he struggled to throw strikes, allowing a .399 OBP overall.  He had a sizeable reverse platoon split.

Sample would have been a free agent in the off-season, but he signed a minor league contract to return in 2015.  He’ll try AA again, starting off in the bullpen, and see if he can start throwing more strikes.

Baseball Reference–Minors
2015: Minor League Contract
Signing Bonus: $500,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2015
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 3rd round, 80th overall pick; signed on June 6.
December 12, 2013: Selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
October 4, 2014: Signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.