When looking for possible candidates for a 2013 fantasy baseball sleeper post, do you know how I found Jeff Samardzija? No, I didn’t look up the most difficult player names to spell. That might’ve have taken me to Samardzija. Not to mention, Saltalamacchia or Avisail Garcia. What the hell is an Avisail anyway? It sounds like a nautical GIF. (BTW, say Samardzija fast, like, three times and it trips you up; right now in my head, I’m calling him “Smegma,” so I can at least read back what I’m writing.) So, I came upon Smegma (okay, that’s weird) for sleepers by simply looking to see which starters averaged the fastest pitch last year. At the top of the heap is Strasburg; he ain’t gonna come at any kind of discount in 2013. Next up, David Price. Just won the Cy Young, and is on everyone’s radars. Even that doode who accidentally shows up to your draft with a Fantasy Football magazine knows about them. Next up, Jeff Samardzija. Strasburg, Price then Samardzija. That’s impressive. After him two guys by the names of Matt Moore and Justin Verlander. No idea who they are. Next up, I looked at strikeout rates. Samardzija came in 8th for all starters. Next, I looked at his walk rate, because there’s gotta be something seriously wrong with this guy. His walk rate is just average (2.89). With his strikeouts, an average walk rate is plenty manageable. It’s nearly the same walk rate as Scherzer, Latos and Mike Minor. I’m gonna talk more about that in the 2nd paragraph (paragrapho dos, for our Hispanic readers). Finally, I looked at Samardzija’s innings from 2011 to 2012 — 88 IP to 174 2/3 IP. I don’t like that jump, but technically he’s supposed to old enough where it shouldn’t matter. I’m gonna call that three out of four for Smegma, which also sounds like a bizarre study done by Hanes. So, what can we expect of Jeff Samardzija for 2013 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
About that walk rate… It was a flipping mess in June. For that month, his walk rate was 5.79, which led to a 10.41 ERA in 23 1/3 innings and everything that you want to avoid in fantasy. If you say to Voltar that I want Samardzija without the month of June, his ERA for the year was 2.80. Across the board, he was dominant last year without June. His season ERA of 3.81 with June even gets prettier when you look at his xFIP of 3.38. That’s due to his poor home run per fly ball ratio (12.8%), but I’m not going to say that will get better due to Wrigley. It could get better. There’s a very, very, very good chance it gets better. But I won’t say it will. Wink, wink, nudge nudge, it could. There’s no accounting for wins, but it’s likely the Cubs are terrible again. I only say that because they’ve been terrible for the last 177 years. I’m sure there’s some Cubs fans that will tell you this year is different. So, his homers normalize, he doesn’t have one God awful month like June, holds his strikeouts and walks from 2012 and you have a top ten pitcher. Seriously. His stuff is that good. There are a bunch of ifs there, granted. And if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all be squirrels with cavities. Realistically, I’ll give him the line of 12-7/3.45/1.24/195 in 200 innings. That’s easily top twenty starter quality with a chance for more. I’ve never felt so much love for Smegma before. Oh, and some more advice for you because I care, don’t look at the Wikipedia entry for smegma. It’s NSFW, and not the good kind of NSFW. The absolute worst kind of NSFW. But since my eyes have already been tainted, I’ll let you know that Wikipedia says androsterone can be found in smegma. So that’s what McGwire was ingesting!