5. Jeff Samardzija, Chicago White Sox
August 30, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) pitches the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Jeff Samardzija experiment didn’t go very well for the Oakland Athletics, but it would be very surprising if it went poorly for the Chicago White Sox. At first glance, Samardzija’s 2014 looks like nothing special, going 7-13. But, you have to remember that for the first half of the season, he played for a very poor Chicago Cubs team. And for the last month of the season a very lackluster Oakland ball club. At the very core of his performance the former Notre Dame Wide Receiver (you read that right) was actually quite good. His 2.99 ERA made him one of only 22 big league pitchers to post a sub-3.00 ERA, while his 202 strikeouts clocked him in at 13th most in the entire MLB.
Samardzija has played almost his entire career for an abysmal team. The guy has had absolutely no help his entire time in the majors, but with a rotation to compliment him and a competitive lineup to back his starts, 2015 will show us a revamped Jeff Samardzjia.