Tyler Sample checks in at #15 on the 2010 Kings of Kauffman prospect list.
Who: Tyler J. Sample
DOB: 6/27/1989 Elizabeth, Colorado
Acquired: 2008 Draft (3rd round)
~ Baseball America #14
~ Diamond Futures #21
~ Royals Review #16
~ The Royal Tower #20
~ John Sickels C+
|2008||AZL Royals (Rk)||27.0||9.00||2.19||10.0||9.7||13.0||1.34|
|2009||AZL Royals (Rk)||4.0||6.75||2.25||15.8||4.5||11.2||2.50|
His improvement from 2008 to 2009 certainly stands out, but it’s the improvement that he showed during the 2009 season that lands Tyler Sample at #15 in my rankings. He joined the Burlington Royals in July and in his first six appearances had a 4.43 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 4.3 BB/9, and 9.4 K/9 in 20.1 innings pitched. In August he started six games and went 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in 30.1 innings with a stellar 0.89 WHIP. Thanks to improved control and command of his three pitch arsenal his BB/9 and H/9 for the month were 3.0 and 5.0 respectively. He finished the season throwing back to back shutouts and was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week on August 31st. In those final two starts he went 13.0 innings while allowing only four hits and two walks while striking out seven hitters.
Sample features a fastball that ranges from 89-95 mph. There isn’t a lot of movement to it, but his height gives him a good downward angle. His best pitch is a mid-80s 12-6 curve that was considered one of the best in the 2008 draft class. He has shown the ability to throw it for strikes thus far in his professional career. His changeup remains a work in progress, but it does have the potential to develop into a solid third pitch. He has a clean delivery and has shown no ill effects from the Tommy John surgery he had in high school back in 2006.
He has already shown an aptitude to learn, take instruction, and refine his mechanics which all bode well for his future. Those factors coupled with two potential plus pitches in his fastball and curve, and a potentially average changeup lead me to believe that Tyler Sample has a chance to reach the majors as a middle of the rotation starter. If the changeup fails to develop and round into form, Sample can shift roles and become an intimidating power arm out of the pen.
Sample’s strong performance to close out the 2009 season was more than enough to prove he is ready to move from rookie ball to A ball. Burlington, Iowa seems like the logical starting point for his 2010 season. If he dominates Midwest league hitters like he did those in the Appalachian League he could receive a quick promotion to high-A Wilmington and join the Blue Rocks rotation. However, with the number of promising arms ahead of him in the system, there is no need for the Royals to rush him.