Sam Bachman received just two Division I scholarship offers out of Hamilton Southeastern High School in Indiana. The right-handed pitcher selected Miami (OH) University over Lipscomb University.
Bachman, a self-described “late bloomer,” has made tremendous strides in his first 2½ years at Miami. He has developed into one of the top pitchers in college baseball and a potential first-round pick in July’s MLB draft.
The RedHawks have never produced a first-round pick. Bachman will likely be the first to accomplish that feat if he can continue his evolution as a pitcher and display premium velocity this spring.
“I think it’s cool,” said Bachman on the draft. “I feel like a lot of guys get caught up in it and see that as the final goal. But I see this as a vehicle to get me where I want to be, which is the big leagues. It is really cool that my work and discipline have paid off, but I think this fuels the fire, even more, to be better than what people say I am.”
Bachman jumped into the starting rotation immediately as a freshman in 2019. He posted a 3.93 ERA with 75 strikeouts and 39 walks allowed in 75 2/3 innings (15 appearances) in his first collegiate season.
He was off to another solid year last spring until the COVID-19 pandemic caused the season to end prematurely. Bachman recorded a 3.42 ERA with 31 strikeouts and six walks allowed in 23 2/3 innings (four appearances).
Bachman is a 6-foot-1, 220-pound right-handed pitcher who throws a two-seam fastball, gyro slider and changeup from a three-quarters arm slot. He has some effort to his delivery but maintains his velocity late into starts.
Out of high school, Bachman used an over-the-top arm slot and four-seam fastball. The change in arm slot and the adoption of a two-seamer has allowed Bachman to increase his fastball velocity. His two-seamer sits 94-97 mph and reached as high as 100 mph during the fall season. It also features about 17 to 19 inches of horizontal break, Bachman said.
Bachman’s slider is his top off-speed pitch. It’s a firm slider that generates plenty of swings and misses.
“I am very disciplined,” Bachman said. “When I come up with a plan, I stick to it. I am doing everything at one speed. Whether that’s school, taking care of my body outside of practice or lifting, I stay to my plan and attack it. On the field, I attack guys early and am not afraid. I just believe in myself.”
Bachman averaged 4.1 walks per nine innings in his first two years at Miami. He spent the offseason tightening up the lower half of his delivery. He believes the mechanical work will translate to increased fastball velocity, which he experienced in the fall, and better command.
Bachman also hopes to show improvement with his changeup this spring. He believes he now has better feel for his changeup than he did in his first two years after consistently throwing the pitch throughout the offseason, he said.
“My slider has always been my reliable swing-and-miss pitch,” Bachman said. “I just want to get more swings and misses on the changeup. It is a new pitch, and I had a lot of success with it in the fall. It would be cool to keep feeding that and seeing what success I can have with it during the season. I think that is one of my main goals is what I am working towards.”
This spring, Bachman has high expectations for himself and the RedHawks. He believes the RedHawks have the talent to snap the program’s 15-year NCAA tournament drought.
“We want to put Miami on the map and make it to the College World Series,” Bachman said. “Our pitching staff is super deep and our hitting will show up and do the same thing. I think we have a very special group.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He’s interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.