Adrian Sampson has pitched his way into the Cubs’ future plans
When projecting out the Cubs pitching staff in 2023, it has become impossible to leave Adrian Sampson off the list.
There’s no guarantee that the right-hander — who turns 31 next week — will be in the Cubs’ starting rotation but it sure looks like he will be in the pitching mix in some capacity.
Sampson turned in 7 dominant innings Friday at Wrigley Field, holding the Reds to just 1 run and 3 hits.
The outing put the finishing touches on an epic month for Sampson — a 3-1 record, 1.50 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 6 September outings. He also has rattled off 5 straight quality starts, stepping up to fill a hole in the Cubs rotation that has seen injuries to Kyle Hendricks, Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, Drew Smyly and Wade Miley.
Sampson was so locked in throughout September, he could be in position to take home his first career MLB monthly honor.
“Right now, I’m on a good run,” Sampson said. “September was really good for me. It will be nice to end on a good note for one more start if I have one and then just carry that kind of thing into the offseason. It gives me a little more motivation and ready to work and get better.”
But it’s not just September.
Sampson now carries a 3.10 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 101.2 innings this season.
Not bad for a guy who didn’t crack the Opening Day roster and has been designated for assignment twice this season (once by the Cubs and then again by the Mariners).
“Sampson’s definitely put himself in a position to be able to help us next year,” David Ross said. “I think he knows that. I think he pitches like that — talking about confidence in himself and ability to continue to go out and put up zeroes.
“A lot of guys come to mind about being really good in this second half but his performances night in and night out have stood out to me.”
Sampson hasn’t been on the radar for the Cubs pitching staff entering into the last two seasons but he has maintained a belief in himself and an inner confidence. Since the start of last season, he sports a 3.02 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 137 innings while filling multiple roles in the rotation and bullpen.
He is pitching his way into some career stability after a journeyman path up to this point.
In 41 games with the Mariners and Rangers from 2016-19, Sampson had a 5.71 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. He’s bounced around from team to team and minors to majors and even pitched in Korean Baseball Organization in 2020.
“He’s been through so much adversity,” Ross said. “He’s had to continue to believe in himself and push through a lot of the doubters. He’s done a really nice job of that. He should be really proud of that.”