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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK WATCH: JEFF SAMARDZJIA GETTING LIT UP ALL SPRING

When the San Francisco Giants signed free agent starter Jeff Samardzjia to a very generous free agent deal over the winter, we immediately praised the move and did a long piece on how the guy was an excellent bounce back value play for 2016 fantasy baseball.  It was not that long ago when Samardzjia looked like one of the best young power arms in the game while with the Chicago Cubs but soon trades to the Oakland A's and Chicago White Sox send his stock spiraling as his ERA and WHIP soared in the much tougher American League.  Signing with the Giants however remedied that threat on the surface as Samardzjia was now going to benefit from moving back into the much easier National League and in one of the best home ballparks as well in San Francisco.  Thus our reason for great optimism surrounding Samardzjia. 

Well if spring training is any indication, it may not matter the location where Samardzjia pitches.  He was absolutely bombed on Monday as he gave up 6 earned runs in 6 innings against the A's which followed him giving up 7 earned runs in just 4 innings in his start prior to that one.  The result is that Samardzjia is toting around a ghastly 8.53 ERA and his stuff has looked as hittable as ever.  Even more concerning, Samardzjia is not picking up much in the way of strikeouts as the slight loss in velocity he began showing in 2015 has not improved.  So all of a sudden we have at least some cause for concern when it comes to Samardzjia as he is not fooling anyone with the season less than two weeks away. 

In taking the guy apart a bit, maybe the drop in velocity is a bit of a bigger issue than we first thought.  Samardzjia only was down a 1-2 mph on his fastball last season but maybe he is that razor-thin in terms of being more hittable with such a slight loss.  The drop in K rate is very sharp here from the start of 2015 and it is not getting better this spring despite going against weaker competition.  Yes the thin air in Cactus League play is a factor but Samardzjia has to be even somewhat better then this. 

So as far as where we are with the guy, obviously you don't want to be rash and drop of dump the guy based on spring training results.  There have been way too many cases such as this where a veteran guy struggles for a time before finding himself in the regular season.  At the very least however, we have to think that maybe that automatic bounce back may not happen as anticipated. 

 

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