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Jeff Samardzija is Finally Exceeding Expectations

May 26th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

'Cubs vs. Braves 4-7-2013' photo (c) 2012, Doug Anderson - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

In order to be considered a success young prospect needs to exceed the franchise’s expectations, surpass his potential, otherwise, he’s just regular.  Jeff Samardzija has been battling his “potential” ever since he was a 5th round pick by the Chicago Cubs back in 2006. And until recently, Samardzija was only regular. His ceiling seemed to be without limit when he first broke into the league; tall, strong, athletic and blessed with a mid 90’s fastball. Samardzija joined the Cubs rotation fulltime in 2012 and put up “promising numbers” (9-13, 3.81 ERA). His numbers weren’t great when compared to today’s frontline starters but they were notable for a guy who pitched for a team that appeared to be allergic to winning. He had a solid year. But because baseball is a game that is forever filled with optimism and “what if’s…”, Samardzija was put up on a pedestal. “Just imagine”, they said, “if he can do that on a bad team, just imagine what he could do for a good team!!”. Combine that with the myth that all players get better every single year and Samardzija was on the fast track to being a perennial all star.  But unfortunately Samardzija busted that myth with a 2013 season that just never got on track. His inability to string multiple quality starts together lead his numbers to balloon in nearly every single statistical category, both basic and advanced. The down year was not without a few bright spots though, and, as is the case with most top prospects, few seemed to lose hope in Samardzija’s bright future and rightfully so.  Through ten starts this year, Jeff Samardzija has been, arguably, the most dominant starting pitcher in baseball. He leads the league in ERA (1.46), ERA+(266) and homeruns/9IP (.3), per baseball-reference.com. His performance may lead the Cubs to the playoffs (he is 0-4 on the season), but his success is definitely something that has been long awaited and looks to benefit both himself and the Cubs come July 31st.

Tags: Baseball, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, ERA, Jeff Samardzija, MLB

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