No Love For Jeff Samardzija

I was checking out the stats for most of the Cubs players today (and some other players too). When I was looking at what Jeff Samardzija had done so far this year it wasn't how well he's pitched (at least by FIP standards anyway) that stood out to me, but how no rest of season projection expected a damn thing from him the rest of the season. I don't know why this surprised me. It takes a long time for pitching stats to stabilize. A full season of pitching in the rotation isn't going to affect a projection all that much.

If you look at FIP he's been pretty damn good. Fangraphs has him with 1.8 fWAR and I'm pretty sure BPro uses FIP or FRA to calculate their's and he has 1.7 WARP. Quite a bit below that is gWAR (0.7) and even lower is rWAR (0.4). Take the average and call it 1.2, which is good at this point in the season. Compared to his pre-season projections it's almost unbelievable. Compared to his rest of season projections it's equally unbelievable.

ZiPS (available on Fangraphs) projects him to have an ERA and FIP of 3.68 and 4.01 the rest of the way. Neither number is all that impressive given the run environment, but when you look closer at the projections ZiPS is projecting 40 games and only 4 starts. It's a hell of a lot easier to relieve than it is to start and the adjustment is usually about 1 run. Since there are some starts mixed in with the projections we'll go with .7. As a starter then, ZiPS is really projecting something closer to a 4.38 ERA and 4.71 FIP. That's a well below average ERA and probably close to replacement level FIP as a starter..

PECOTA is projecting a 4.71 ERA and 0.1 WARP the rest of the way. The other in-season projection is The Hardball Time's Oliver and they like him less than the rest. Oliver has him at a 4.83 ERA and 0.0 WAR. The average of the 3 projections is a 4.64 ERA and an FIP in the 4.70 range. League ERA is 3.98 right now and FIP is adjusted to match ERA so it's also 3.98.

I was one of the biggest critics of the decision to put Samardzija in the rotation and remain unconvinced he'll have much of any value as a starter, but I'm even more optimistic than the projections. Actually, I'm quite a bit more optimstic. I'd probably expect about a 4.25 ERA going forward and an FIP in the same range. Maybe a bit worse.