It is only April, but it is never to early to look at potential award candidates. Despite his win-loss record, the Chicago Cubs‘ Jeff Samardzija deserves early considerations for the NL Cy Young Award. Samardzija’s other stats are certainly award worthy, and a gaudy winning record is not always needed to win the award. Is it possible that Samardzija could garner consideration if he continues to pitch well?
MVP winners have come from last place teams. If the best pitcher hales from a losing team, why can’t a Cy Young winner also come from a non-playoff contender? With Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list, the NL award is up for grabs. While other pitchers are also off to strong starts such as Ervin Santana, Adam Wainwright and Jose Fernandez, Samardzija has also logged five quality starts. It is not his fault that he has yet to record a victory in Chicago.
After five starts, Samardzija currently ranks seventh in the NL in ERA, tied for first in quality starts and fourth in innings pitched. While his strikeouts are down, his walks and home runs allowed are also down. The right-hander has adapted out on the mound and is arguably pitching better than in previous seasons. Out of the gates, Samardzija is certainly pitching like an ace, he just has no wins to show for it.
If you immediately discount the team that he does play for, that same argument can also be made for Fernandez. Kershaw won the award last season with nine losses. In 2009, Tim Lincecum won the award with a 15-7 record. Finally, Felix Hernandez won the 2010 award with a 13-12 record. In the eyes of voters, the team and even the win-loss record could be viewed as non-intangible traits.
Another possibility for Samardzija is that he could also very well be considered for the award while wearing a different uniform. C.C. Sabathia finished in the top five for the award after changing leagues midway through the 2008 season. If Samardzija continues to pitch in top form, he is very capable and deserving of Cy Young considerations. But again, it is only April and a lot can change.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.