In this fourth installment of those players I see that have been touched by the magic of the Cubs this year, I will take a look at the minor leaguers. More specifically I am referring to Micah Hoffpauir and Jeff Samardzija, who have been called up, jumped in and helped the Cubs continue to win. Now I realize Micah Hoffpauir isn’t currently with the big club but he has been up a couple times this year and was impressive when he was. I think his visits to the big club have truly inspired him because he has been outstanding for Iowa this year.
Now he hasn’t put in a lot of time for the Cubs but he was solid when he was there instead of looking overmatched like some minor leaguers do. On the year he is batting .378 (14-for-37) and has scored six runs. He has as many strikeouts as hits but that just shows he needs time to adjust to big league pitching. I am not saying that Hoffpauir is the MVP of the Chicago Cubs but he has impressed me when he has been called upon. His effort in Chicago has carried over to Iowa as well and he could very well be considered the MVP of that team.
We should definitely see Hoffpauir in Chicago once Iowa is done with the playoffs, if not sooner, and he could really provide some relief for a sore Derrek Lee at first. Now if you aren’t as impressed with Hoffpauir as I am consider his stats at Iowa. In 66 games, he is hitting .368 with 23 home runs and 92 RBI’s. That is a very impressive stat line and the 92 RBI’s in 66 games is downright insane. If you adjust his stats to a 162 game season, which I love to do, it gives him 56 home runs and 225 RBI’s. Yes, I realize it doesn’t work like that but it does show the talent this kid brings to the table. That is well over an RBI per game and even over 66 games is a job well done.
We have a guy coming up that hit the ball well but we also have a guy that was called up to pitch and he has done what he was asked to do. It wasn’t long ago that Jeff Samardzija was catching footballs for Notre Dame but he is now a Cub and is excelling the role he is currently in. With the guys we have in the bullpen I feel pretty confident in being able to hold most leads we give to them.
Jeff Samardzija was pitching well at Iowa when he got the call so it wasn’t a surprise when it happened. Some had thought he might get a spot start but that didn’t happen. He has been solid out of the pen. He made his first appearance on July 25th and gave up one earned run over 2.0 innings pitched. Four days later he gave up another earned run against Milwaukee in his third appearance but hasn’t surrendered a run since that game.
Samardzija’s ERA sits at a very low 1.04 with a WHIP of 0.92. He has appeared in 14 games and pitched 17 1/3 innings. striking out 18 batters while only walking five. The main go to guys have been Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood with Bobby Howry also getting the ball in tight spots. Samardzija has been a replacement for Michael Wuertz and even though he is young I still feel better when he comes into a game than when Wuertz made the walk to the mound.
Samardzija can throw the heat and his off speed pitches will get better with experience. He is a bullpen guy now but you can see where this is just a step in getting him in the rotation one day.
Winning the division and making the playoffs isn’t an easy accomplishment but it happens because your team is able to overcome injuries and continue winning. Micah Hoffpauir and Jeff Samardzija have been the best examples of coming up from the minors and helping out when they are needed. They have both provided some magic from the minors and I am glad we have both at our disposal. I just hope that next year they can keep both guys in Chicago. They are both making solid cases for why they should be there.
This was the 4th part of the “Magic” series with the 5th and final article coming next. I have saved the person that has been touched the most by the magic of the Cubs and I am sure most of you can already guess who that person is. Overall the whole team and year has been magical thus far. I just wanted to take this chance to recognize some of the players that have helped while possibly getting lost behind all the bigger names.