The 2013 season hasn’t been kind to the Chicago Cubs, as was probably expected by everyone inside and out of the organization coming into the year. This sentiment is especially true for Jeff Samardzija, who a year ago, looked like a front end starter and a building block for this team.
He still may be just that for this club, but as the season wears on, it’s looking more and more like Samardzija should have been more willing to accept a contract extension prior to the season. His 2013 season has been one filled with inconsistency.
Samardzija’s numbers on the season aren’t awful, but they aren’t exactly good either. He’s pitched to a 4.29 ERA, with 190 strikeouts and 69 walks so far on the year. He’s already thrown more innings than he did last year, when he was shut down because of the increased workload.
From start to start, Samardzija hasn’t really pieced together a steady string of consistency this year. When he’s on, he’s the dominant hurler we saw for much of last season. When he’s off, he struggles with his command and works up a high pitch count early.
While his overall numbers aren’t terribly impressive, his peripherals indicate a season that is quite similar to what he did last year. His FIP is sitting at 3.68, just a few notches above what it was last year. His groundball rate is also up, and he’s surrendering less home runs, each of which are positive signs.
For Samardzija, it’s not a matter of regressing. We know what kind of pitcher he is, and he’s still developing as a starter. So those stretches of inconsistency are going to happen. It’s a matter of limiting them, which he’s managed to do for the most part. This season has seen more ups and downs than last year did for Shark, but the future is still bright for him as a starter, and he’s still a building block at the top of this rotation for the future.