Last night Louisville Bats starter Keyvius Sampson took the mound against the Indianapolis Indians and fired out 8.0 shutout innings with two walks and four strikeouts. From a statistical standpoint it was his best start of the year. He hadn’t gone beyond 6.0 innings in any of his previous starts and only one other start was a shutout, and that one lasted just 5.0 innings for Double-A Pensacola.
When the Reds picked the right hander up on waivers in January we knew that he had a good arm, but had struggles throwing strikes with consistency. Willing to take a chance, the organization picked up a quality arm and put Sampson on the 40-man roster with the hopes that he could take a step forward and become a part of their future at the big league level.
After making eight starts in Double-A Pensacola for the Blue Wahoos the Reds promoted Sampson to Triple-A Louisville. With the Bats, he’s battled consistency with the strikezone, walking 22 batters in 39.0 innings thus far. But he has also teased with strong outings as well. On June 29th he struck out nine batters with just two walks over 6.0 innings against Syracuse. He followed that up with 3.0 strong innings out of the bullpen following a rehab start by Raisel Iglesias. Those two outings were followed up by two where he struggled though, totaling 10 earned runs in 8.0 innings with seven walks and just five strikeouts.
Last night saw the good side of Keyvius Sampson. In his 8.0 innings he had 13 swings and misses, with five of them coming in the 2nd inning against the Indians. The right hander was mixing his three pitches well, getting the ball past the Indianapolis hitters on his fastball, change up and curveball throughout the night.
The fastball was working well, coming in around 93 MPH most of the night and it helped generate 11 groundball outs on the evening. He mixed in the change up quite often in the low-to-mid 80’s and used his curveball to put hitters away.
With performances like the one Sampson had on Friday night, he showed the upside that the Reds saw to pick him up and place him on the 40-man roster back in January. He still has had his battles with control and consistency, but last night showed a reason to keep an eye on him as a possible pitcher that the team will turn to if and when they decide to start making some trades that open up spots on the big league club.