- Full name Larry Allan Simpson
- Born 08/26/1977 in Springfield, IL
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Taft College
- Debut 05/17/2004
- Drafted in the 8th round (253rd overall) by the Seattle Mariners in 1997.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Simpson received a scare after the 2002 season when he was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that can be fatal. Further tests revealed he only has a circulatory problem in his right index finger, the result of throwing too many splitters. Healthy again, he finally reached the majors in 2004, his eighth pro season, and could win a job in the Colorado bullpen during spring training. Simpson consistently dials his fastball up to 95 mph and has peaked at 99 in the past. He creates an uncomfortable feeling for hitters from a low three-quarters arm angle. He complements his fastball with a decent slider, and only rarely uses the splitter. Simpson's command never has been consistent, in part because his arm slot tends to wander. Maintaining his mechanics is vital to his success.
Simpson shared minor league pitcher of the year honors in the organization with San Antonio bullpen mates Aaron Taylor and Aaron Looper, who helped the Missions win the Texas League championship. With Taylor promoted to Seattle before the TL finals, Simpson took over as closer and earned a win and two saves. Simpson's fastball sits at 92-95 mph, and he got up to 99 in the postseason. His second pitch is a slider, which has improved but still isn't more than an average pitch. He also has a changeup, but it's not as strong as his other two offerings and he doesn't use it much. Opponents batted just .189 against him in 2002, though he surrendered nearly as many walks (50) as hits (53). Simpson's future is cloudy after he was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease, during the offseason. That led to the Mariners' decision to remove him from the 40-man roster and outright him to Triple- A when they needed a roster spot after re-signing Jamie Moyer in December.
Simpson has blossomed from project to prospect since signing as an eighth-round pick out of Taft (Calif.) CC in 1997. He was just a tall, skinny kid with a projectable fastball and little else when he entered pro ball, and he didn't really find his niche until he repeated high Class A and became a full-time reliever in 2000. Simpson usually pitches at 92-94 mph and hit 96 in the Arizona Fall League, which prompted the Mariners to include him on their 40-man roster last November. His slider gives him a solid second pitch and hitters don't get a good luck at his stuff. They batted just .180 with two homers against him in 2001. The Mariners will give him a look in big league camp, but he's most likely headed for Triple-A.