Chicago Cubs: Looking back at Jeff Samardzija’s career

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Jun 1, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) pauses before making a pitch in the third inning during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Emerging as a force-to-be-reckoned with

A win-loss record hasn’t been the best way to measure a pitcher’s success in quite some time – but that sentiment has rang particularly true with Chicago Cubs’ hurlers during the rebuild.

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With a lackluster offense behind them, Chicago starting pitchers have pitched better than their records indicated, such was the case with Samardzija’s first year as a starter … and his second and third, as well.

Pitching to a 3.55 FIP across 28 starts, the right-hander’s first go at being a full-time starter was widely considered a success. He averaged a career-high 9.3 strikeouts-per-nine, matching that mark with an equally impressive 3.21 SO/BB ratio. That may not seem like much, but given his early numbers, it was a big step in the right direction.

The next year, his earned run average rose (although his FIP rose by just 0.20) – and he was once again a sub-.500 starter on a struggling club. That being said, 2013 marked the first time in his Major League career that he surpassed 200 innings pitched and 200 strikeouts, something that’s since become commonplace for the right-hander.

Next: An All-Star on the move