The Case for Chris Sampson | The Process Report

The Case for Chris Sampson

Next on the tour of misfit minor league relievers is Chris Sampson. Unlike Fernando Cabrera, Sampson has major league results in his favor. That’s not the only thing in his favor, as Sampson has a history with Jim Hickey (in 2006 and throughout the Houston system) and Gerry Hunsicker (who ran the team when they selected Sampson) alike. Not every relief pitcher who exits from Houston gets a call, but take a look at the shared names since the 2006 season:

Chad Harville
Dan Miceli
Trever Miller
Chad Qualls
Russ Springer
Dan Wheeler
Travis Driskill
Wayne Franklin
Ruddy Lugo
Carlos Hernandez

It helps that Sampson’s results suggest he can be a useful piece for any bullpen. The six-foot-one righty does well by getting groundballs and appearing worthwhile against batters of either hand. His career numbers include a .322 on-base percentage against righties and .329 versus lefties despite being a starting pitcher for 33 games. His FIP against lefties since becoming a reliever are 2.90 and 3.89; while against righties 4.04 and an uncharacteristic and unsustainable 7.30 (his career FIP versus LHB: 4.32 and RHB: 4.56).

His career 51.8% groundball rate tells that part of the story and do know that he’s converted an above average rate of double plays throughout his time in the majors. When it comes to strikeouts and stuff, he’s closer to Lance Cormier than Chad Qualls, but his cost should be considerably lower than either of them, and there’s always the chance he’d accept a minor league deal, making him a more versatile pen option than some with his track record and skill set.

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