Jeff Samardzija has been killing it since joining the rotation to start this season. He’s had a bad start (and a half), but in all other outings, he hasn’t just been good, he’s been absurdly good. He’s got a 2.62 FIP (17th best in baseball), has already accumulated 1.2 WAR (9th best), and is striking out more than a batter an inning (14th best). He’s throwing four quality pitches with superior command, and he’s been remarkably efficient for a guy striking out so many batters.
And, as you might expect, baseball is taking notice. Some praise after last night’s dominance of the Braves:
- “He’s really, really good,” said Chipper Jones. “Obviously, I’ve only faced him out of the bullpen [before today], but he’s got staying power. Good heater. Has two heaters, a two-seamer and four-seamer. Cuts it sometimes. I didn’t really see any sliders but I saw a couple of splits. Command has always been kind of shaky for him, and it looks like he’s got the command thing down, or at least he did tonight. He was real tough.” (AJC)
- “That was my first time facing him, I believe,” said Jason Heyward. “He looked great. He’s got some good pitches. Fastball – four-seam and two-seam. Splitter was awesome. Slider was pretty good, too.” (Tribune)
- “We’d seen the video of him, it’s 94-95 [mph] with movement,” said Braves manager Freddi Gonzalez. “And then today he had the secondary pitches that he threw for strikes, had a lot of swings and misses.’’ (Tribune)
- “Scout’s comp on Samardzija: Healthy Josh Johnson, downhill 98 MPH, great tilt to slider, filthy split, 91 MPH cutter.” (Peter Gammons)
A healthy Josh Johnson might have become the best pitcher in baseball over the last five years, so I’d say that’s a mighty nice compliment. Probably a bit over the top, even, but, hey – Samardzija’ll take it.
If the Shark Attack keeps pitching like he has so far this year, he’s going to get more and more praise like that – and I’m going to feel completely comfortable dodging your arrows when I keep saying “Shark Attack.”
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