Kalian Sams has been tearing the cover off the ball since signing as a free agent with the Padres organization on May 4. Assigned to AA San Antonio, the 26 year old hit two home runs in his first game with the Missions and hasn't cooled down. In Saturday's 9-6 win over Frisco, only his eleventh game, Sams went 3-4 with a pair of doubles and his seventh home run. His three RBI brought his season total to 18. Again, because I cannot stress this enough, he has done this in only eleven games.
Born in The Hague, Netherlands in 1986, Sams signed with the Mariners as an undrafted free agent in 2006 after spending two years in the Dutch Major League as a teenager, first with Hypotheekzeker and then with ADO. In six years in the Mariners system Sams hit .215 with 80 HR in 1,513 AB over 450 games in A and AA. He struck out frequently, four times as often as he walked. Before his amazing run to start this season, his best year was 2011, when he set career highs with a .231 BA, 24 HR, 66 RBI, and an uncharacteristic 26 SB- twice as many as his next-best total.
A member of the 2013 Netherlands World Baseball Classic team, Sams hit .238 with three doubles and three RBI in 21 AB over seven games. Before that he was part of the Netherlands' gold medal winning team in the 2011 Baseball World Cup in Panama and the silver medal team at the 2006 Intercontinental Cup in Taiwan.
Although Sams' .361 BA and home run pace are as unsustainable as they are awesome, there are encouraging signs that it might not be all a mirage. Sams has only struck out five times in his 46 plate appearances and has drawn eight walks. While there's no way he'll keep getting on base exactly half of the time, he certainly looks like a different person than the one whose career high OBP was a meager .306. If he settles into even a happy medium between the two he could find himself in AAA for the first time.