Sammy Long, LHP
BATS: L / THROWS: L
ACQUIRED: Signed, Minor League Free Agent, Nov. 2020
ORIGINALLY DRAFTED: 2016, 18th Round (by Tampa Bay)
LAST LEVEL: MLB
GiantFutures 2022 Ranks: #7 Relief Pitcher
Performance: Sammy Long was one of the Giants’ spring sensations after signing as a minor league free agent, despite having left baseball entirely in 2018 after Tampa Bay released him. He started the season in Double-A, where he had four solid starts before earning a push to Triple-A. Two scoreless starts in Sacramento led to a mid-June callup to the bigs, and then an up-and-down ride the rest of the season.
By the end of it, Long had a 5.53 ERA in 12 appearances, five starts, in the bigs, and had a 2.05 ERA in 11 appearances, three starts, in Triple-A, with him having been shifted to relief through the last month of the season. He did so while struggling against right-handed batters. In the bigs, he allowed an .860 OPS to them as opposed to .509 against lefties, and allowed a similar split across the minors.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Long works with a starter’s profile of four pitches, but none are plus level. His fastball started the year touching 97, but it slipped as the season went on, sitting in the low-mid-90’s with movement as he was in and out of the Majors. His main offspeed pitch is a curveball that, when it works, is a good pitch against both sides of the place. He also has a low-80’s changeup and a slider.
Long’s biggest advantage is that he has natural deception to his delivery, which keeps hitters off-balance, but that was less of an advantage in the bigs. Without any real plus pitches, Long suffered at getting swinging strikes in the big leagues. That was a big part to his extreme splits, and what might have led to his move to relief as the season ended.
2022 Outlook: Long is less than ten innings away from losing prospect status, and he will likely earn that pretty quickly. He’ll spend the spring competing for a big league spot, and should spend 2022 moving between the two levels. The bigger question is whether or not he’s going to be a starter or reliever, but I’d be on reliever.
Future Profile: His future depends on sharpening a weapon against right-handed batters. Without that, he’s got lefty reliever status. But if he can get his changeup or slider to help, Long could have a home in the back of a rotation role.