Jeff Samardzija is listed 20th (13th among college players) by <i>Baseball America</i> on its most recent list of top prospects for the 2006 MLB draft (photo by Pete LaFleur)

Samardzija's Stock Continues To Rise As Baseball Draft Nears; Manship, Cooper Also Likely To Be Day-1 Picks

June 6, 2006

By Pete LaFleur

The annual Major League Draft has arrived and several Notre Dame players are expected to be among the selections (which include college and high school players) during the two-day event, with other Irish players also being candidates to sign free-agent contracts should they not be drafted. Junior righthanded pitcher Jeff Samardzija’s stock continues to rise, as the two-sport star has been upgraded by Baseball America to No. 20 overall (13th among college players) on its list of top prospects for the 2006 draft. Another Notre Dame junior righthander, Jeff Manship, also is expected to be selected in the early rounds while senior first baseman Craig Cooper could be among the day-one selections.


Jeff Manship and classmate Jeff Samardzija could end up being the highest-drafted teammates in Notre Dame baseball history (photo by Pete LaFleur).



Pre-draft notes are included below (this release will be updated later today with additional info. while updated notes on the draftees also will be included with post-draft releases on – also note that links to articles and 2006 game-by-game stats of all ND baseball players are posted at the top of their bio’s, with links for Samardzija and Manship articles/stats included at the end of this release):

DRAFT BASICS – The draft begins at 1:00 EDT on Tuesday, June 6, and roughly 20 rounds are expected to be completed by the end of the day’s selections (6:00) … the draft then will conclude on Wednesday with as many as 30 more rounds … high school seniors are eligible, as are college juniors and seniors (plus any individual who is 21 on draft day or will turn 21 within 45 days after draft day … meaning that some college sophomores often are draft-eligible) … teams hold the rights of college players until they attend their first class in the following fall semester (if players sign, they forego remaining eligibility).

ELIGIBILITY CLARIFICATIONS – Notre Dame two-sport standout Jeff Samardzija could elect to sign with the major-league organization that drafts him and then could play a short season of minor-league baseball this season before reporting for Notre Dame preseason football camp in early August (he would maintain his college football eligibility despite becoming a pro baseball player) … his classmate Jeff Manship actually has two years of college baseball eligibility remaining (for the 2007 and ’08 seasons), because he did not play as a freshman in 2004 (due to injury).

PAIR OF PROSPECTS – Baseball America’s most recent (May 25) complete list of top-200 prospects for the 2006 MLB draft included ND’s Jeff Samardzija at the No. 37 list and fellow junior RHP Jeff Manship at 111th (51st among college players) … the magazine recently updated the top part of that list (June 5) and Samardzija now is 20th overall and 13th among college players (he is the 11th college pitcher on the list and the 15th overall pitcher) … as noted by BA on its website, the prospects “list is based on talent, not a prediction of the?order in which the players will be selected” … Samardzija’s status as a two-sports standout could cause him to drop in the draft … BA’s most recent “draft tracker” prospects list (non-premium content) can be found at? … that list includes the following short note on Samardzija: “Scouts covet?his power arm and athletic body, but scouts must deal with his commitment to?play both football and baseball at a high level. He’s unlikely to go this high?but would be a first-rounder if not for football.” … BA’s preseason ratings had Manship 75th and Samardzija 94th among the top college prospects … their midseason rankings then had Samardzija as the No. 40 college prospect and Manship 41st (note that the 75/94 and 40/41 rankings did not include high school prospects, unlike the May 25 and June 5 lists).

DYNAMIC DUO – Notre Dame’s Jeff Samardzija (#37; since upgraded to #20) and Jeff Manship (#111) comprise one of just four pairs of pitchers from the same team who were rated among the top-120 on Baseball America’s May 25 list of top prospects for the 2006 MLB draft … the others include: North Carolina LHP Andrew Miller (#1) and RHP Daniel Bard (#15); Nebraska RHP Joba Chamberlain (#7) and LHP Tony Watson (#86); and Long Beach State RHP Jared Hughes (55) and RHP Andrew Carpenter (#98) … check back to this release for a statistical comparison of the four dynamic duos … two other pitchers from BIG EAST Conference teams – Villanova junior RHP Kevin Mulvey (#43) and UConn senior RHP Tim Norton (#118) – were among the top-120 prospects list released on May 25 … the Pacific-10 Conference (7) was the only conference with more pitchers among the top-120 prospects than the BIG EAST’s total (4).


Jeff Samardzija is rated the 2nd-best athlete among the college prospects for the 2006 draft (photo by Pete LaFleur).



ELITE ATHLETEBaseball America also lists Samardzija as the 2nd-best athlete among college prospects for the 2006 MLB draft, behind Texas centerfielder Drew Stubbs (Samardzija was an all-state CF as a prep standout at Valparaiso High School).

DRAWING CARD – Samardzija’s 15 starts this season (home and away) drew an average of nearly 2,000 fans per game (1,918) … four of the largest crowds in Eck Stadium history came with Samardzija on the mound, led by the record-setting pre-sellout crowd of 3,507 for the opener vs. Rutgers on Friday, April 21 … other top Eck Stadium crowds with Samardzija pitching included: 3,052 for Thursday doubleheader vs. St. John’s (April 13); 3,028 for the Friday-night opener vs. Pittsburgh (March 31) and 2,714 for the Saturday matchup with Louisville (May 6) … the attendance for the Pittsburgh game briefly set the Eck Stadium record, only to be eclipsed by six crowds later in the 2006 season.

IN THE ND RECORD BOOK – Jeff Manship’s 111 strikeouts in 2006 tied Aaron Heilman’s 2001 total for the 3rd-most in Notre Dame history (Heilman had 118 Ks in both 1999 and 2000) … Manship has averaged 10.11 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched during his career (131/116.2), the 4th-best strikeout rate in the Notre Dame baseball record book behind … his former teammate Ryan Doherty (12.17; ’03-’05) is the only ND pitcher in the past 40 years with a better strikeout average (Dan McGinn averaged 12.66 Ks/9 IP from 1964-65 and Rick Rusteck 10/75 from 1961-31) … Manship’s 10.63 Ks per 9 IP in 2006 rank 7th-best in a season ever by an ND pitcher (4th-best since 1965) … his .223 season opponent batting average is 12th-best in the ND record book (stat kept since 1991) … Jeff Samardzija’s 21 career wins are tied for 13th in ND history.

AMONG THE BIG EAST LEADERS – Manship ended up with the 4th-best overall ERA (3.26) among “regular” pitchers (at least 1.0 IP per team game) in the 12-team BIG EAST Conference while leading the league in wins (9-2), strikeouts (111) and Ks “looking” (48), also ranking 4th in low opponent batting avg. (.223) and innings pitched (94.0) and 8th in games started (14) … Samardzija finished with the 15th-best season ERA among BIG EAST regulars (4.33), also ranking 3rd in the BIG EAST for innings (97.2) and starts (15), 4th in wins (8-3) and 8th in Ks looking (24) … in 2006 BIG EAST games, Manship led the conference in wins (7-1), Ks (70) and Ks looking (29) while also ranking 3rd in opp. batting avg. (.226) and innings (63.1) plus 5th with a 3.13 ERA in BIG EAST play … Samardzija’s 59.2 innings during league action ranked 6th-most among BIG EAST pitchers.


Jeff Manship led the BIG EAST in wins (9-2) and strikeouts (111), seven shy of tying Aaron Heilman’s ND record (photo by Pete LaFleur).



HIGHEST-DRAFTED PLAYERS IN NOTRE DAME BASEBALL HISTORY C Ken Plesha (1st round/17th pick; White Sox, ’65) RHP Brad Lidge (1st round/17th pick; Astros, ’98) RHP Aaron Heilman (1st round/18th pick; Mets, ’01) Heilman (supplemental round/31st overall pick; Twins, ’00; did not sign) CF Steve Stanley (2nd round; A’s, ’02) RHP Grant Johnson (2nd round; Cubs, ’04) CF Dan Peltier (3rd round; Rangers, ’89) SS Paul Failla (3rd round; Angels, ’94) OF Ryan Topham (4th round; White Sox. ’95) RHP Christian Parker (4th round; Expos, ’96) 3B Matt Macri (5th round; Rockies, ’04).

HIGHEST DRAFTED TEAMMATES IN NOTRE DAME BASEBALL HISTORY 2004 – RHP Grant Johnson (2nd round; Cubs) and 3B Matt Macri (5th round; Rockies) 2002 – CF Steve Stanley (2nd round; A’s) and OF Brian Stavisky (6th round) 1996 – RHP Christian Parker (4th round; Expos) and CF Scott Sollmann (7th round; Tigers) 1999 – IF Brant Ust (6th round; Tigers) and LHP Tim Kalita (7th round; Tigers) 1998 – RHP Brad Lidge (1st round; Astros) and OF Allen Greene (9th round; Yankees) 2001 – RHP Aaron Heilman (1st round; Mets) and RHP Danny Tamayo (10th round; Royals)


Jeff Samardzija served as Notre Dame’s game-1 starter in 10 of his 15 starts while collecting first team all-BIG EAST honors (photo by Matt Cashore).



Jeff Samardzija UPDATED 2006 BIO CAPSULE (as of the morning of June 6) – Joined fellow junior RHP Jeff Manship in receiving first team all-BIG EAST honors for the BIG EAST season… ended up with the 15th-best overall ERA (4.33) among “regular” pitchers (at least 1.0 IP per team game) in the 12-team BIG EAST while also ranking 3rd in the BIG EAST for innings (97.2) and starts (15), 4th in wins (8-3) and 8th in Ks looking (24) … his 59.2 innings during league action ranked 6th-most among BIG EAST pitchers … led Notre Dame’s 2006 staff in innings pitched (97.2) and games started (15) while ranking 2nd in wins (8-2), 3rd in strikeouts (61) and Ks “looking” (20), and 5th in appearances (15) … his other 2006 season statistics included 37 walks, 101 hits allowed (3 home runs), a .272 opp. batting avg., 5 hit batters and 5 wild pitches … led team with 115 groundball outs, as 60% of his outs (176 of 293) came via Ks or GOs (10.60 per 9 IP; 5th-most on staff) … compiled 1.16 groundout-to-flyout ratio … averaged team-best 6.2 innings per outing while his 9-inning averages included 5.62 Ks, 3.41 walks, 9.31 hits and 39.26 batters faced … owned 2nd-best opponent 2-out batting avg. on the staff (.211) while holding lefthanded hitters to .234 batting (5th-best) … his other situational stats included a .388 opp. leadoff on-base pct., .267 opp. batting with runners on base and .291 by RH hitters … 10 of his 15 starts in 2006 came as the game-1 starter (in series or tournament) … his career stats in three seasons with the Irish include a 21-6 record, good for the 13th-most wins in the 114-year history of Notre Dame baseball … also compiled a 3.82 career ERA in 50 appearances (31 starts), with 159 strikeouts, 84 walks and 236 hits allowed (.256 opp. avg.) in 240.1 innings pitched (1 SV, 11 WP, 18 HBP, 11 HR) … his top games during the 2006 season included keeping the Irish in the game versus then-#15 Texas A&M, in San Antonio (5.1 IP, R, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 Ks; no-decision as ND rallied for 5-4 win) … delivered 6-1 win in his 2006 home debut, logging career-high 8.0 innings and totaling career-best 8 Ks as Irish set Eck Stadium attendance record of 3,028 (R, 8 H, BB) … had solid outing to help beat St. John’s in 9-2 opener of showdown series (7 IP, 2 R, 11 H, 3 BB, 5 Ks) … improved to 6-1 the next week with 11-5 win over rival Rutgers (7.1 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 3 BB, 6 Ks) … closed regular season with his strongest outing of the season, notching 3-1 road win over Villanova in duel with fellow top prospect Kevin Mulvey (8.1 IP, R, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 Ks) … totaled 16 Ks and just 3 walks over his final 3 GP of the 2006 season … won key winners-bracket game at BIG EAST Tournament vs. West Virginia (12-4), with Stan Posluszny’s 3-run blast accounting for most of WVU’s runs (8 IP, 4 R, 9 H, BB, 6 Ks) … another mistake pitch yielded a game-tying, 3-run HR in the NCAA opener vs. the College of Charleston as the Cougars forged a 4-4 tie in the 7th and ultimately won, 5-4 in 16 innings (8 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 Ks).

  • Jeff Samardzija 2006 game-by-game stats (updated regularly)

The season-long spotlight and fan attention surrounding Jeff Samardzija included this popular two-sport promotional poster (photo and copyright held by Mike Bennett).



Jeff Manship posted 8-plus strikeouts 10 times during the 2006 season (photo by Pete LaFleur).



Jeff Manship UPDATED 2006 BIO CAPSULE (as of the morning of June 6) – Named by Collegiate Baseball magazine as a third team Louisville Slugger All-American while also collecting BIG EAST Conference pitcher-of-the-year honors and being the only unanimous pick for first team all-BIG EAST honors … ended up with the 4th-best overall ERA (3.26) among “regular” pitchers (at least 1.0 IP per team game) in the 12-team BIG EAST while leading the league in wins (9-2), strikeouts (111) and Ks “looking” (48), also ranking 4th in low opponent batting avg. (.223) and innings pitched (94.0) and 8th in games started (14) … in 2006 BIG EAST games, he led the conference in wins (7-1), Ks (70) and Ks looking (29) while also ranking 3rd in opp. batting avg. (.226) and innings (63.1) plus 5th with a 3.13 ERA in BIG EAST play … led Notre Dame’s 2006 staff in wins (9-2), strikeouts (111; 3rd in ND history) and Ks “looking (48) while ranking 2nd on staff for innings pitched (94.0) and starts (14), and 3rd in low opponent batting avg. (.223), plus 5th in ERA (3.26; among pitchers with 20-plus innings) and appearances (15) … compiled nearly a 4-to-1 season strikeout-to-walk ratio (111/28; 3.96) while totaling 16 more innings pitched than hits allowed (78) … his other season stats included 6 hit batters, 4 wild pitches and a team-high 7 home runs allowed (the rest of the staff allowed just 11) … owned top groundout-to-flyout ratio on the staff (1.82), with 76% of his outs (213 of 282) coming via Ks or GOS (102; 2nd-most on staff) … averaged 6.1 innings per outing (2nd on staff) while his 9-inning averages included 10.63 Ks (2nd on team), 2.68 walks (5th-lowest), 7.47 hits (4th) and 37.44 batters faced … averaged more than 20 outs per 9 IP (20.40) via Ks or groundouts (9.77) … held opposing lefthanded hitters to a .180 batting avg. (3rd-best on staff), also ranking 3rd on team in opponent batting with runners on (.242), plus 4th in opponent 2-out batting (.222) and opponent leadoff on-base pct. (.313; 2.8 per 9 IP) … RH batters hit .249 vs. him … posted 8-plus Ks in 10 of his 15 appearances during the 2006 season … pitched well enough to win his first two starts of the season, instead picking up no-decisions in losses to Oklahoma (3-4; in Millington, Tenn.; 5 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 Ks) and Arizona (0-2, in 10; at Metrodome; 6 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 10 Ks) … posted pair of wins in his hometown of San Antonio, vs. Iowa (6 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 Ks; 16-2) and Southern Illinois (8 IP, 2 R, 7 H, BB, 8 Ks; 12-2) … beat Pittsburgh in first home series of the season (7 IP, R, 4 H, BB, 9 Ks; 4-3) before winning 10-1 series finale at South Florida (8 IP, R, 4 H, BB, 4 Ks) … pitched well but had no-decision in 7-5 series finale vs. St. John’s (7 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 7 Ks) … notched his ninth win of 2006 in final regular-season series, posting 6-2 road victory over Villanova (7.2 IP, 2 R/1 ER, 5 H, BB, 6 Ks) … pitched in postseason losses to St. John’s at BIG EAST Tournament (2 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 2 BB, K; 1-10) and vs. Kentucky in NCAA Lexington Regional (3.2 IP, 6 R/3 ER, 3 H, 7 BB, 8 Ks out of bullpen; 4-10).


Craig Cooper (left) and Jeff Manship swept the BIG EAST player- and pitcher-of-the-year awards (photo courtesy of the BIG EAST).


  • Jeff Manship 2006 game-by-game stats (updated regularly)