When Jeff Samardzija made the leap from reliever to starting pitcher at the start of the 2012 season, there was some reason for doubt. He proved that the Chicago Cubs made the right move by having a very good season, good enough for him to be considered the staff ace going into the 2013 season. Some say he has struggled this season and while that is true to some degree, he also has had a very good and very successful season.
Over the last couple of months Samardzija has definitely seen less quality starts in a row. It could be assumed that his arm might be a tad overstretched since he has thrown 207-2/3 innings. Also during his start on Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates Samardzija crossed the 200 strikeout threshold which is quite impressive. Though his ERA isn’t below three like some starting pitchers, these other two numbers do mean something.
The other starting pitchers in the MLB with at least 200 strikeouts and innings pitched are Max Scherzer, Adam Wainwright, Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee and Chris Sale. It would be safe to assume that there is at least one if not two Cy-Young award winners on that list and Samardzija has done enough this season to get his name placed right alongside them.
That should impress everyone that reads it. In other words, if Samardzija had given up fewer runs and kept that ERA low, he would be a Cy-Young candidate as well. Call it what you want but it is definitely the best season he has had yet as a starter. Look for an even better season in 2014.