Rotoguys is extremely excited to introduce Jessica Kleinschmidt as a guest contributor to our website. Jessica is a sports writer on Sportsnaut.com and has been featured on YardBarker, Fox Sports and Bleacher Report. She is also a radio host at Fantasy Sports Live. A baseball aficionado she also covers NFL and the NBA.
Jessica will be featured every Monday on RotoGuys for the next month as part of four part series on the MLB’s Oakland A’s right now arguably the hottest team in baseball. You can follow Jessica @KleinschmidtJD
As we near the All-Star break, one team has not only changed the minds of many, but has managed to form a unity of All-Stars in and of itself. The Oakland A’s have sent seven players to the All-Star game. I’m going to take you through the Oakland A’s team and why they deserve those All-Star spots and why they are now the hottest team in baseball.
When Jeff Samardzija traded in his Cubs uniform for the Oakland A’s, it seemed new, but he had sported the green and gold before. The 29 year-old once tossed the pigskin for Notre Dame, and even did well making the Football Writers Association of America All-America Team in 2006.
Needless to say, the transition of uniform colors wasn’t quite the shock most imagined. Still, a big name like Samardzija (and I’m not just referring to the length) had a lot of chit chat and high expectations.
When he was with the Cubs, he posted some interesting numbers. They referred to The Shark as a “hardluck” pitcher when he set a Major League record for lowest ERA (1.46) by a winless pitcher through his first 10 starts. This obviously had nothing to do with Samardzija as a pitcher, he was pitching phenomenally, he just didn’t have the right team to make those wins happen. After all, it is the Chicago Cubs.
Luckily, the Oakland Athletics came in to rescue him. The thing I respect the most from this was the fact that Samardzija could see a future not only as a pitcher with the A’s, but a future for the team as a whole. That speaks volume since it’s always an issue when it comes to terms of “respect” for Oakland. Rival fans and even members of the media forget about them until they’re dominating the AL West. When an All-Star like Jeff decides to play for an organization, there’s usually a reason behind it.
His debut against Toronto with the Oakland A’s ended with a win. In seven innings pitched he had four hits, one run, and five strikeouts. Earning him a 1.29 ERA and .71 WHIP.
Since 2008, Samardzija, has accumulated a 3.95 ERA with 644 strikeouts in 2,876 batters faced.
It’s safe to say Samardzija is not only a strong addition to the A’s team, but he could be just what the team needs to make a World Series appearance.