Bad Samardzijatan

By Beachwood Reporter on Friday, April 16, 2010

"According to Stats Inc., Samardzija had a 0.93 earned-run average in his first 16 games as a Cub, and has a 7.77 ERA in 33 games since," Paul Sullivan notes in the Trib this morning.

It's still not clear what the best role for Samardzija is. He began as a starter but was touted as a closer even as a prospect.

And does this report from his brief minor league career sound familiar?

"On Sunday Samardzija, currently 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA, pitched like a prospect who split time between sports. His fastball was there, reaching 95 mph. However, he struggled with his off-speed pitches, allowing 10 hits and two earned runs in 5.1 innings.

"Performances like this have scouts from other major league organizations suggesting that Samardzija might eventually be better suited to the closer's role. Samardzija's lack of secondary pitchers, scouts reason, will be less of a liability if hitters have fewer chances to face him."

But Samardzija thought then - and still thinks now - that he's better suited to be a starter.

"Samardzija says he often has trouble getting the feel for his off-speed pitches early in games, only to have them come around in the middle innings. Off-speed pitches are usually the last ones to come to a power pitcher.

"Splitting time between football and baseball shortened the amount of time Samardzija could dedicate to mastering a variety of pitches. He expects to develop his secondary pitches quickly now that he's dedicated to baseball and shrugs off the idea of ending up in the pen.

"'I think I'm a starter,' Samardzija said. 'I think I always will be. I think I can go late in the innings. There's really no depth to that (evaluation). It's just hearsay.'"

Not anymore.

At this point Samardzija seems best suited for Iowa, and maybe when Ted Lilly returns that's where he'll end up.

Posted Friday, April 16, 2010 by Beachwood Reporter

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