The Samardzija Question

(Yes, it's spelled correctly. I double-checked.)

The interest in Jeff Samardzija's answer to the $7.25 million question--Cubs or NFL?--largely overlooks one thing:

There's serious reason to wonder if the guy is going to be any good.

Per Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus:

Baseball is still secondary to football, so he's raw; control, location, and breaking ball all lag behind; a straightforward delivery makes him more of a thrower than a pitcher at this point; commitment to waiting for the NFL Draft means he won't play first full season until he's 23.

Samardzija, who pitched well last year (2.37 ERA at Short-season Boise), was the second early-round draft pick from Notre Dame taken by the Cubs in the last two seasons. The other, Grant Johnson, was 7-5 with a 4.70 ERA (108 hits, 92 IP, 56K, 38BB) at Class A Daytona.

Considering that Samardzija had already established himself as a solid football prospect but only a questionable pitching prospect before last year's amateur draft, it's hard to understand the Cubs' rabid enthusiasm for him: the expenditure of a high draft pick, plus the record bonus he'll receive for bypassing the NFL.

Now the Cubs are facing the possibility that Samardzija, who by all accounts would need lots of seasoning before he's remotely ready to pitch in Wrigley Field, will try to play baseball and football, thus complicating his life and his schedule and almost certainly retarding his development as a pitcher.

If he goes ahead and plays both sports professionally, however, it will provide an interesting study in which is more injurious to the health of an able-bodied, young athlete:

A helmet-on-bone hit from a bloodthirsty NFL cornerback or a couple years of the Cubs' fitness regimen.

1 Comment:

  1. Wrigley Ville said...
    Re health and fitness, I've concluded that the Cubs are going to have to drop their health plan due to high costs.

    On Jeff, I'd play baseball 99 times out of 100 before football, but I'm good at neither, so...

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