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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!

  1. Kershawshank says:
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    Trade Lester for Samrdzija and a minor league draft pick upgrade – yay or nay? Samardzija also costs $2 less in a $100 cap.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’d want Samardzija…

  2. Sky

    Sky says:
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    That’s funny, I just went with calling him Mittelschmerz because for some reason that was easier to say than his last name. Don’t forget, he might score you a few touchdowns at the TE position as well. Very rare fantasy hybrid.

    Oh and one of only 6 starting pitchers last year who met the minimum that averaged over a K per inning with at least a 3 to 1 K:BB ratio. Amazing he’s not as recognized as he should be. Numbers and peripherals were great in 2012.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I hear he was really a wide receiver not a TE… The editor of that mag told me that, at least… Agree, he somehow seems to have fallen by the wayside of acknowledgement…

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        @Grey: Hrm google/memory fail then. I blame Notre Dame for sucking at football for so long. Stopped caring about their players.

        I’m just anxiously awaiting a Marco Estrada post, of course. I expect plenty of Polo and CHiPs references.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, for shame…

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            @Grey: Roll up your December copy of HighTimes. I’m ready for my punishment, I promise I won’t flinch.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Prepare for your lashes…

  3. D says:
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    I usually agree that you can’t ignore a bad month, but I think Samardzjia’s an exception. He openly admitted that he started trying a new pitch (a curve) in the game where he gave up 8 ER and ditched it 3 games later, which is magically when the sucking stopped.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/11526/samardzija-dominates-after-ditching-curve

    Without those games, he’s got a 2.86 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 9.7 K/9 over 154 IP. Those are Gio Gonzalez’s numbers, essentially.

    The biggest worry with him is the degree he relies on a slider+splitter combination. Screams injury risk to me.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, coupled with the innings jump it could spell trouble for an injury, but where you have to draft him it’s worth the gamble…

  4. Vacation says:
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    Please rank the following pitchers for 2013 assuming standard 5×5 categories:

    NatGio
    Medlen
    Samardija
    Minor
    Tehran
    Haren
    J. Zimmerman

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’ll rank pitchers in January with the rankings…

  5. royce! says:
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    I traded for Samardzija at the end of May and dropped him at the end of June. Only saving grace was that it was a h2h league so it didn’t hurt me in the long run. But thanks for reminding me of all those fun starts!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ouch… The absolute worst time to own him… Don’t hold it against him!

  6. Simply Fred

    simply fred says:
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    rank Headley, B.Butler, A.Ramirez…? (standard 12 team)

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’ll rank guys in January… They’re all close…

      • Simply Fred

        simply fred says:
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        @Grey: got it. tried to catch you with your pants down.

  7. ivebeenupthreedaysstraight says:
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    From the Smegma entry on Wikipedia: “This article is about a secretion of mammalian genitals.” God, you know this one is gonna be good! The real funny thing is that it says “genitals,” which I believe encompasses the farthest exterior reaches of the duodenum (“butthole”). The entry only talks about Samardzija that appears on the onus and the yoni (proffering a close up picture of one Samardzijafied onus as a demonstrative), but makes no mention of the b-hola. Given the anatomical similarities between the ringpiece and the clamcave, seems reasonable to assume that Samardjiza does, in fact, find its way out the poopchute. I bet the author just left that bit out becasue it’s just too gross to think about, but that’s just me… not thinking about it or anything.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Wow, that was probably the toughest comment to read without squirming… I’m going to take a shower now… I hope to clean my mind…

  8. Big AL says:
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    I like Samardzija too. I picked him off waivers in July for strike outs. I was watching a game and he was throwing 95-96 in the 8th inning. Boy has some stamina. That thing they called a bullpen in Chicago last year cost him 3 wins also.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah,he only had one start where he averaged less than 94 MPH on his fastball…

  9. Nelson Santovenia says:
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    Would you deal Olt for Smardj, in a keeper league? They both cost the same.
    Im a little worried trading a decent bat for a riskyish pitcher, especially without the Astros around anymore to beat up on.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Samardzija doesn’t need the Astros… As of right now, I’d want Samardzija…

  10. Steve says:
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    Some Twitter chatter that Choo is on his way to the Indians…

    Elsewhere, there is plenty of blather on ESPN, but the 30-for-30 series is pretty good. Has anyone else seen The Ghosts of Ole Miss?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I watched one episode (can’t remember which one) and liked it a lot, but it’s difficult to find on at a regular time to record… What’s that one about with Ole Miss?

      • Steve says:
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        @Grey: Its’ written and narrated by Wright Thompson who writes for ESPN and is from Mississippi. It’s about the 1962 football team’s perfect season and how that all took place while there was violence/rioting etc over James Meredith being admitted to Ole Miss, which, of course, was segregated at the time…

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Ah… Sounds interesting… I just remembered which episode I saw… The Two Escobars, which was great… Coincidentally, I’m currently reading Bowden’s book, Killing Pablo, which is excellent…

          • Steve says:
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            @Grey: Ah – I missed that one. I did see a really good one on the Baltimore Colts marching band, though. No, really!

            I’m working my way through the 2012 edition of Best American Sports Writing. Some great stories so far…

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              What was the story about with the Colts marching band?

              • Steve says:
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                @Grey: After the asshole Colts owner moved the team out of Baltimore to Indy in the middle of the night, rather than, er, disband, the band resolved to stay together and keep playing in the hope that an NFL team would come back to Baltimore…

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Band_that_Wouldn%27t_Die

                I know you’re not much of a football guy, but The Best Game Ever (by Mark Bowden, coincidentally) is a fabulous read. It’s about the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Colts and the Giants (and some of the main protagonists incl Johnny U) and how in many ways it gave birth to the modern NFL.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Funny that he wrote a sports book, I had no idea, but his writing does remind me of Buzz Bissinger’s La Russa book… I put aside Art of Fielding to read Killing Pablo, so probably will go back to that when I’m finished, but maybe afterwards… Art of Fielding has been disappointing so far, hence the ‘put aside.’

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  BTW, that’s a pretty amazing story about the marching band (just read the Wiki entry)…

                  • Steve says:
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                    @Grey: Yeah. When you try and explain it to someone it sounds a bit lame but it’s a really engaging story. BTW Bowden used to cover the Philadelphia Eagles and wrote a book about their 94 season, so quite a bit of sport in background.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Ah… Had no idea… Since I only knew him from Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo, I thought he was a straight reporter/ex-military reporter…

    • slew says:
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      @Steve: Cincinnati’ s John Fay is reporting deal between Reds and Indians is all but complete.
      Choo for Gregorius and Stubbs.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Don’t think that helps or hurts anyone’s value on first glance…

  11. this guy says:
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    Trade Bautista for Agon and Romo? need to cut salary. or just drop andrus? thanks. h2h 12tm pts

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Not a good trade… Drop Andrus, I guess…

  12. beardcrabs says:
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    I just started prepping and noticed that the mid to late first round is kind of wonky… after Cabrera, Braun, Cano, Fielder, there are no no-brainer/safe picks… Even Trout and McCutchen don’t feel like first round picks… After those guys it’s kind of the luck of the draw to pick players who have the best chance to stay healthy or bounce back to elite levels…The whole point of the first round is to pick the best player available while minimizing risk; not an easy task at the moment…

    Sorry December Grey, I know I’m premature with this…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’ve already done my top 20… I agree, it’s a mess….

  13. Steve says:
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    And Youk to the Yanks, it seems…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Damn, that’s just sad… 3rd base marketplace was so bad…

  14. The Dude says:
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    Hey Grey,
    Yesterday’s Wil Myers post got me thinking about acquiring him in my keeper. I know I can get him for a relatively low draft pick, so essentially for free – the question for me is would he be worth keeping.

    We keep 8 and use OBP and TB instead of AVG and HR. My top 5 keepers are pretty set with:

    1. Cano
    2. Fielder
    3. J. Hamilton
    4. Greinke
    5. Tulowitzki

    I’d keep 3 more of the following:

    Shin-Soo Choo
    Billy Hamilton
    Paul Goldschmidt
    Brett Gardner
    Domonic Brown
    Jayson Werth
    Drew Stubbs
    Mike Olt

    A lot of rookie nookie in there, I know. But I threw my season at the trade deadline and hoarded youth and draft picks. Right now, based on your optimism on Myers and the cheapness I can get him I’m thinking of pulling the trigger on him then keeping him and the top 2 names on my list. Amy I crazy?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Choo, Werth and Goldschmidt are keepers that should be set… Your league doesn’t look deep enough for some of these other guys, Myers included…

  15. Hoosier Daddy says:
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    Although you temper concern over the increase in Samardzija’s innings by the fact that injuries are not as frequent in pitchers his age, I’m concerned that his arm is more comparable to a younger arm since he was catching footballs instead of initiating strain of his pitching arm for a few years.

    I’d pick him up as a free agent, but I’m too scared that if I spent a draft pick on him, that he’d be spent Smegma on my face.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Could be…. Less innings on an able-bodied 28-year-old could be seen as a positive though too…

  16. Steve says:
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    Bauer going to the Indians as part of this Reds-Indians-Dbacks three-way…

    • Steve says:
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      @Steve: Indians get: Bauer, Stubbs, Shaw, Albers. D-backs get: Gregorius, Sipp, Lars Anderson. Reds get: Choo, Donald.

      Thanks @JeffPassan

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Wow… Bit surprised, but they really seemed like they wanted to get rid of him…

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        That’s Bauer…

        • Steve says:
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          @Grey: Yeah, Passan says in another tweet that if this trade says nothing else, it’s how much AZ had soured on Bauer.

          Genius move by the Indians if he works out. They weren’t resigning Choo anyway. And Choo is a great real-life baseball get for the Reds.

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Yeah, crazy trade for the Diamondbacks…. I have to think they could’ve gotten more…

  17. Jasen says:
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    Hey Grey. Need help from you and the moustache to try and pick 10 keepers out of this group.
    Standard Yahoo 5X5 H2H keeper league.
    C-WILLIN ROSARIO
    1B-M.TEIXEIRA
    2B-D.PEDROIA
    SS-J.ROLLINS
    3B-B.LAWRIE
    OF-M.KEMP
    OF-C.GRANDERSON
    OF-N.CRUZ
    UTIL-C.GOMEZ
    UTIL-E.HOSMER
    BENCH-R.DAVIS

    SP-M.BUMGARNER
    SP-C.HAMELS
    SP-M.LATOS
    RP-A.CHAPMAN
    RP-J.JOHNSON
    P-C.JANSSEN
    P-G.BALFOUR
    BN-K.MEDLEN
    BN-H.KURODA
    BN-T.LINCECUM
    BN-R.DEMPSTER
    Thanks!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Bum, Kemp, Grandy, Pedroia, Cruz, Lawrie, Latos, Hamels, Aroldis, Medlen…

      • Jasen says:
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        @Grey: you would really keep Cruz over Hosmer or Teixeira?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          They’re all a toss up at the end… Depends who will be in the draft and who you can get back… Cruz should be drafted before Hosmer and Tex, and Tex is on a serious down swing of his career… Hasn’t been good in 3 years…

  18. Rags says:
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    When I say Samardzija three times fast, it inevitably comes out like Jan Brady complaining about her sister. I don’t know why I felt the need to share that…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Hahahaha

  19. Stephen Allard says:
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    Big Samardzija fan as well I traded for him in my keeper league..My league allows to keep 3 minors a yr..I have Oscar Taveras & Shelby Miller..last spot i’m considering either Mike Zunino or Addison Russell..any suggestion? thanks

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Zunino

  20. TheNewGuy says:
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    Big Samardja fan too., owned him last year for this last few months and he was great. Still could never manage to spell his name right but hey ho.

    Dude could become a stud next year. Definately going after him late in my draft.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Hmm, not sure if he’ll be there late…

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Grey:

        When do you reckon he’ll be going.

        15th? I’ll have some of him then.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          In a ten team league? Yeah, potentially… I’m gonna tell people to draft him earlier though…

  21. Ben says:
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    Hi –
    I like the new site (obligatory ego stroke). I like the new logo – eeeeeeeexcept for the font. I hope you’re not married to it? Looks like it says DAZZBALL. The leg on the “R” is tiny & doesn’t match the girth / scale of the other letters.

    It had to be said,
    Ben

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks for the kind words! Welcome to the new and improved, Dazzball!

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