Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-6 WT: 215 DOB: January 23, 1985
(stats will be in the book)
No, I have no idea what to make of this guy either. Samardzija was a fifth round pick in '06 out of Notre Dame. He has a first round arm, but his football commitment and huge bonus demands clouded his draft status. The Cubs signed him for a mere $7.25 million, granted much of that is deferred money. They knew they were getting a strong arm, but it was unclear how quickly it would take him to transition from thrower to pitcher. It is still unclear. Samardzija was horrible in the Florida State League, posting ugly ratios across the board. He flashed his 95 MPH fastball at times, but his velocity was erratic, his curveball and changeup were terrible, and he was hammered more often than not. About the only thing positive was that he didn't walk a lot of guys, but his K/IP was remarkably awful, especially for a guy who throws hard. For some strange reason, the Cubs promoted him to Double-A for the last few weeks of the season. Either they got really lucky with this decision, or they knew something we didn't: he pitched much better in Double-A, showing more consistent velocity and a better curve. He wasn't dominant, but he held his own, remarkable considering his Daytona performance. What can we expect in 2008? I haven't the foggiest notion, and neither does anyone else. You might as well consult an astrologer on this one. Grade B-.