Sam Dyson, a 24-year-old former Freshman All-American at the University of South Carolina, was claimed off waivers by the Marlins on Wednesday. Dyson has already undergone Tommy John surgery in 2011 but he has a great arsenal of pitches. In July, Blue Jays manager John Farrell told the National Post that Dyson has "maybe the best overall stuff in our organization." Dyson has less than one inning of Major League experience, but he should get a shot at contributing to the Marlins as a reliever in 2013.
In 1988, Sam Dyson was born in Tampa, Florida. He attended Jesuit High School in Tampa, the same school that has produced MLB greats such as Lou Pinella and Al Lopez. Dyson was drafted in the 19th round of the 2006 MLB Amateur draft, but he decided to attend South Carolina instead of signing with the Nationals. In 2007, Dyson missed the Gamecocks entire season due to a surgery he was forced to get in order to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Despite his age, Dyson has much, much less experience than most other 24-year-olds in professional baseball because of his lengthy injury history.
Dyson was drafted after his sophomore season at South Carolina in the 10th round of the 2009 draft. However, he smartly decided to forego his professional career once again, and stay at South Carolina. In Dyson's senior season, he pitched in 103 innings and led South Carolina to a national championship. The Toronto Blue Jays selected him in the 4th round of the 2010 MLB Amateur draft.
It is a shame that Dyson has always been held back by injuries. He throws a fastball in the low 90's, a slider with potential to be a slightly above-average pitch, and an okay curveball and changeup. Toronto decided that Dyson's arm simply wasn't going to hold up as a starting pitcher, so Dyson spent the entire 2012 season, his first professional season free from injury, pitching almost entirely in relief. It would shock me if Miami decides to convert Dyson back into a starter, as that seems like a recipe for disaster.
In 2012, Dyson pitched in Rookie ball, High-A, Double-A, and the majors. That's pretty impressive for a pitcher with absolutely zero minor league experience heading into the season. His longest stay was at Double-A New Hampshire, where he threw 45.1 innings and recorded 9 saves. In those 45 innings, Dyson only gave up two home runs. Once Sam Dyson got to Toronto, he didn't last long, pitching in less than one inning and giving up three earned runs.
I believe Sam Dyson will be able to provide value to a major league team in the future due to his ability to induce ground balls very frequently. The average GB% in the majors is right around 43-45%. I believe Dyson could produce a ground ball rate in the mid-50 percent. Thinking of Dyson as a middle reliever might be hard, as at one point it seemed like Dyson could be a first-round pick, but it is unliekly that Dyson will be able to do much more with his arm. Sam Dyson has not become the pitcher that he had the talent to be a few years ago. However, with his great arsenal and ability to keep the ball on the ground, Dyson looks like he could still have a bright future in Major League Baseball.