San Francisco Giants Jeff Samardzija: Shark Sighting


The Giants did not take long from moving on from losing out on Zack Greinke, as they inked Jeff Samardzija today to a five year deal. Samardzija, to put it bluntly, was terrible last season. He gave up the most hits, HR, and earned runs out of all other AL starters. While last season was certainly a bump in the road, the talent potential and lower amount of wear and tear on his arm compared to other free agents, allows him to remain such a lucrative option.

From fantasy perspective, Samardzija will have to make changes in order to fall back into the good graces of the fantasy community. Nearly everything he threw was straight and his breaking pitches lacked the break and movement that triggered his early success. The move to San Fran could not have happened to better candidate as it serves as the best possible fantasy landing spot for him to rebound in 2016. He does himself a huge favor of getting out of the AL and allowing the pitchers’ paradise of AT & T ballpark to help possibly curb his homerun issues.

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It is a small sample size and his stuff was a lot better in 2014, but over his 16 starts in Oakland he excelled in a bigger ballpark to post a 3.14 ERA. So with Oakland and San Fran’s ballparks playing the same way, we can see how he could regain his value in 2016.

We could also look at the difference in team defenses between the Giants and White Sox as well as a reason for optimism. The Giants ranked as the fourth best team defense in the league making less than less 80 errors in 2015. On the other hand, the White Sox were ranked as the 24th best defense in the league as they had over 100 errors. While Samardzija’s struggles cannot be directly contributed to the team defense, you have to believe that he will see some benefit of having a defense that was top 5 in the MLB behind him for the 2016 season.

While there are some reasons of optimism for Samardzija in 2016, we should watch him closely in the spring to see if the Giants and Dave Righetti can get his stuff back to where it was in 2014. Whether it be a mechanics issue or what have you, we have to see something of a tangible difference before we can target him aggressively in drafts.

Samardzija has all the makings of a prime 2016 rebound target, but there has to be a reason outside of his new digs for us to fully immerse ourselves in labeling him that. He will be drafted in the mid to late rounds, reducing the gamble somewhat, but if he looks good in the spring he could warrant a higher mid round selection in order to ensure you can snag him.

Samardzija landed in the best spot he could and has some signs of rebound coming in, he is one of the biggest wildcards next season as he could slot in and become a dominant co-ace with Madison Bumgarner or flame out once again. It all comes down to how comfortable you are in investing in him at the draft, so keep monitoring him.

2016 Early Projections: 14 W/3.75 ERA/190 K/1.24 WHIP