Key Stats: Since the 2006 season, only three starting pitchers have finished a season with a WHIP under 1.00. Cole Hamels became one of those when he finished last year with a 0.99 WHIP. In four out of the last five seasons, Hamels has finished in the top 60 overall in the player rater with last season being his best finish at 20th overall.
Skeptics Say: Much of Hamels success in lowering that WHIP to the level that he did can be attributed to a more aggressive approach against hitters. This enabled him to establish a career best walk rate, but it also lowered his strikeouts by 1 per 9 innings. Hamels also enjoyed his lowest home run to fly ball rate, so expect a slight tick upwards in the ERA.
Peer Comparison: Hamels will most likely hit the open market in November. If we don’t count Dan Haren and James Shields who have options, here are the other notable starting pitchers and their 2011 numbers:
There are a number of talented arms in this group, but going by the numbers Hamels will be the face of the 2013 pitching class.
Team Outlook: Looking at Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list, the Phillies originally picked 5 of the players on the list, but now have only 1. Trades for proven talent like Hunter Pence and Roy Oswalt has probably settled well with the veterans for now, but the Phillies window will eventually close. Roy Halladay will turn 35 this year and Cliff Lee will turn 34. Injuries to Chase Utley last year and Ryan Howard this year are indications that the lineup is also in trouble as both players creep toward their mid 30s too.
Hamels will be a free agent in November and is already making $15 million this season through arbitration. He will be able to get a better deal than C.J. Wilson which was for five years and $77.5 million. The question is, what will motivate Hamels decision in free agency? If the answer is winning, I don’t believe he will resign with the Phillies.
What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #7 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #6 Starting Pitcher & #24 Overall; Yahoo: #7 Starting Pitcher & #30 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #9 Starting Pitcher & #54 Overall; RotoChamp: #46 Overall
Projection: I wonder if a contract year will impact his performance or not.
16 wins 3.00 ERA 1.04 WHIP 190 K in 210 innings
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