Chicago Cubs: Looking back at Jeff Samardzija’s career
Jun 28, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) walks off the field against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Walking the plank in his walk year
Suffice to say, the body of work turned in by Jeff Samardzija during the 2015 season isn’t indicative of what he’s truly capable of.
Let’s start with a bright spot: the right-hander tied for the American League lead in shutouts with two. He won 11 games, although he still hasn’t managed to post a single season in which he’s finished above .500 as a pitcher.
2015 was about as bad a season as we’ve seen from Samardzija to-date, as he failed in almost every regard – yet still he gutted out 214 innings pitched.
Now for the bad.
He saw his earned run average surpass 4.75 in four of the six months, with May and July being the lone exceptions to the rule. With men on-base, opponents posted a staggering .835 OPS against Samardzija, due, in-part, to major struggles in the first inning of games (.353/.410/.588 opponents’ batting line).
He ranked at or near the top of the American League in hits (228), runs (118) and home runs (29) allowed, as his strikeout numbers plummeted down to just 6.9 per nine – his worst single-season total since 2010 with the Cubs.
With free agency looming after the season, Samardzija no-doubt hurt his stock heading into the open market, which may actually increase his chances of returning to the Chicago Cubs, giving the front office greater financial flexibility to fill other holes.
Next: A lot to like, 2015 aberration aside