Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 1/4/13
It’s no surprise that a pitcher from the AL East with a career 4.30 ERA and 1.41 WHIP doesn’t seem like a very good draft choice. But if you take a deeper look into the stats, you’ll find that Jason Hammel is a very intriguing sleeper option for next year. Last year, he was coming off a season where he went 7-13 with a 4.76 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and a pathetic 4.97 K/9; nobody wanted to draft Hammel last year. However, he proved to be a great sleeper pick and smashed his career bests in K/9 (8.62), ERA (3.43), and WHIP (1.24). Despite putting up his best season yet, owners are still hesitant to draft Hammel; a knee surgery limited him to 118 IP last year and just three starts after the All-Star break. However, the injury isn’t a problem anymore, so the only thing you should be concerned about with Hammel is if he can repeat his breakout season. Hammel seemed like a completely different pitcher last year as he threw his pitches with more authority and also threw his two-seamer more than ever before. Here are two charts showing Hammel’s increased velocity and change in repertoire: It wasn’t a huge leap, but Hammel’s velocity rose across the board in 2012, which led to batters making contact 77.3% of the time (career average of 82%) and swings-and-misses 9.9% of the time (career average of 8.1%). Not only were his strikeout numbers up, but the way batters made contact improved as well. Last year, Hammel allowed line drives 18.7% of the time, ground balls 53.2% and fly balls 28.1%. His career averages are 20.4%, 46.1% and 33.5% respectively. We can attribute this to the increased usage of his two-seam fastball, which tends to have a sinking motion. So not only did batters make less contact off of Hammel, but when they did they were less likely to get a hit. Last year, not only was Hammel’s FIP (3.29) a career best, but it was almost a full run higher than his career average (4.23). This tells us that Hammel’s 3.43 ERA was the result of skill, not luck. In fact, his FIP was lower than his ERA, which gives us the notion that he was a bit unlucky last year. While his .291 BABIP seems normal at a glance, it is a bit high considering his high GB%. According to MLBDepthCharts.com, Hammel is slated to be the number one starter for the Orioles heading into next season. While the Orioles aren’t the best offensive team, they do have a strong bullpen (Baltimore relievers had a 3.00 ERA last year, good for 5th best in the majors), so double-digit wins isn’t out of the question. It’s starting to look like Hammel will not only have another great season next year, but he will be undervalued again. As the old adage says, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Don’t get fooled twice by Hammel’s low draft stock and draft him accordingly.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brady issues statement on Facebook after having suspension lifted

Don Orsillo reportedly asked to lie about being fired by NESN

Matt Cassel believes Bills will keep three quarterbacks

St. Louis police seize scalpers' World Series tickets to give to friends

Eli Manning happy Tom Brady will play NFL season opener

Phil Kessel has shed 13 pounds this summer

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cam Newton addresses ‘gang’ photo on Instagram

Steelers defense is younger and faster but not better

Duke basketball to visit White House next Tuesday

Report: Cowboys have interest in Broncos RB Montee Ball

NFL owners to discuss changing Goodell's disciplinary role

Report: Eagles trade Matt Barkley to Arizona Cardinals

WATCH: Ben Revere gifted Matt Wieters a home run

Judge Sarah Thomas as an NFL official, not a female NFL official

Redskins skip Robert Griffin III in jersey countdown

Wisconsin vs Alabama preview

Simona Halep popular with fans who want to kiss her

Patriots planned on raising a "Brady banner on opening night

Braves and Phillies sucking at the same time is rare

Montana St. linebacker delivers bone crushing hit in opener

Despite loss, all eyes still on Jim Harbaugh, Wolverines

Kirk Cousins discusses what it’s like to be called ‘Kurt’

Playoffs or not, Bryce Harper is the NL MVP

Donald Sterling’s wife Shelly seeking alimony

Chicago Bears and Jay Cutler: A love/hate relationship

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Wisconsin vs Alabama preview

Tom Brady issues statement on Facebook

Robert Griffin III and a dream deferred

Best, worst surprises of NFL preseason

The Gospel Of Harbaugh prepares for its ultimate test of faith

Meet the Utah Utes, the pluckiest program in college football

Iman Shumpert will name daughter Iman Shumpert Jr.

Dallas company celebrates Romo with DirecTV 'crownies'

Top 10 storylines for Week 4 of the NFL preseason

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker