From June 2 through July 20, spanning four Double-A and six Triple-A starts leading up to his big-league callup, Samardizja had a 2.92 ERA, allowing only 46 hits and striking out 52 in 58 2/3 innings. He held opponents to a .222 average in that span.
Scouting report: He features a heavy fastball with some serious sink. Sits comfortably at 92 mph as a starter and can touch 96-97 mph coming out of the bullpen. His slider is a plus pitch at times, but his changeup, which he didn't need in relief, lags a bit behind the other offerings.
Upside potential: A workhorse who can log 200-plus innings per season with plus stuff or a nasty closer shutting the door in the ninth.
He said it: "When I don't have to answer football questions anymore, I'll be a happy dude. That's what I'm working on now. Every inning I go out there, every quick inning that I get outs and get back in the dugout will help." -- Samardzija on his past as a Notre Dame wide receiver
They said it: "It depends on what happens over the winter. I know he wants to start down the road and nobody doesn't feel he'd be real good at starting. Next spring, we're going to put him in whatever role helps the club the most ... " -- Cubs GM Jim Hendry