Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 4/9/13
Last season Jason Hammel turned in a career year despite starting only 20 games. I wrote about him in the preseason and have targeted him in all my leagues this year. However, in two starts this year (12.2 IP), Hammel has turned in a very strange stat line.While his 0.87 WHIP is sparking, his 4.97 ERA is far from it. In fact, Hammel is the only qualified pitcher so far this year to have an ERA above 4.00 and a WHIP under 1.00. But the strangest stat of all is the fact that Hammel has only struck out just five batters, good for a pathetic 3.55 K/9.I realize that two starts is a very small sample size, and it would be ridiculous to think that his K/9 stays this low. The last qualified starter to finish the year with a K/9 worse than 3.55 was Livan Hernandez back in 2008, and I would be shocked if Hammel doesn’t manage to increase his strikeout rate. The real question is will he strike out batters closer to his career line (6.53 K/9) or his breakout 2012 season (8.62 K/9)?Hammel’s pitching arsenalWhen looking at pitchers’ numbers, it’s important to think about why their numbers have either stayed the same or differed from the past. It usully begins and ends with their pitch selection and velocities. Check out Hammels’s pitching arsenal over the last few years.One of the big reasons that Hammel struck out more batters in 2012 was the fact that he incorporated a sinker into his repertoire. From 2007-2011, he relied mostly on his fastball, throwing it an average of 61% of the time. Last year Hammel not only added a sinker, but threw it more than any other pitch (31%), while relying on his fastball much less (29%). Not only did adding the sinker help mix up hitters, but it also helped Hammel generate more ground balls (53.2 GB% in 2012).This year, Hammel is using his pitches at almost the same frequency as last year. He’s using his fastball slightly more and his curveball slightly less, but aside from that he has been pitching the same (small sample size aside). However the velocity on Hammel’s pitches has decreased by about 1.0 mph each, and now sits closer to his 2011 numbers. While his fastball might not be as overpowering as it was, his change-up velocity has decreased as well. The separation between pitch speeds isn’t an issue.Looking ahead to 2013Unless his velocity returns, I don’t think Hammel can top his 8.62 K/9 from last year, although he should easily surpass the 6.25 K/9 he averaged in the other six years of his career. Assuming no major changes, I would project Hammel to finish the year with a K/9 right around 8.00. Assuming he can still keep the ball on the ground frequently and maintain his good control (career 3.12 BB/9), he shouldn’t have a problem posting an above average ERA and WHIP as well.Buy low on Hammel, or pick him up if you can -– he’s available in 49% of Yahoo! Leagues and 83% of ESPN leagues. Depending on your league format, he would likely be a 5th or 6th starter, but will give you the numbers of a 3rd or 4th starter. There’s a lot of value here, so use his slow start to your advantage and make sure you own Hammel!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Ray Lewis gave Bills pregame pep talk

Report: Marshawn Lynch out a few weeks to recover

Peyton Manning to miss at least two more weeks

Notre Dame DT: Committee 'spit in our faces' with ranking

LaRon Landry suspended indefinitely by NFL

Don’t blame Mike Pettine for benching Johnny Manziel. Blame Johnny.


Danny Ainge: Celtics’ Marcus Smart has shown ‘propensity to get injured’

Ravens claim Jimmy Clausen off waivers, send Joe Flacco to IR

Report: Signs point to Chip Kelly, Eagles parting ways after season

Johnny Bench(ed): Manziel demoted to third string

ACC schools find themselves in major financial trouble


10 storylines for Week 13 of the college football season

LISTEN: Browns fan cries on radio while ripping Johnny Manziel

Texas A&M QB Kyle Allen says he was injured vs. Alabama

Report: Maple Leafs are no longer the NHL’s most valuable franchise

Ranking the 10 best games of 2015 college football rivalry week

Did a Chipotle employee convince Danny Ainge to trade for Isaiah Thomas?

Bud Black joins Angels organization as special assistant to GM

Ben Simmons, Henry Ellenson excelled in freshman vs. freshman battle

Maximizing the Bucks

Holly Holm asked Beyonce who she was

Florida, Florida State kick off college football rivalry week

Which goalies are pulling ahead for the Vezina Trophy?

2015-16 UEFA Champions League roundup: Matchday 5, Pt. 1

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

10 storylines for Week 13 of the college football season

Ranking the 10 best games of 2015 college football rivalry week

Examining the Mavericks' hot start

Johnny Bench(ed): Manziel demoted to third string

Mike Trout, four years in

Tom Brady on ‘Rex Ryan!’ line call: It’s ‘in the playbook’

Five NFL teams trending downward

Not so fast, USC: Eagles Chip Kelly buys Philly-area home

The five best hockey fights from Week 7

Bart Starr doesn’t remember Green Bay Packers career

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker