Cole Hamels, who isn’t shy, told Jim Salisbury of the Inquirer his aspirations for 2008.
Last year, as you remember, he wanted to win 20 games. And he admitted every game out he tries to throw a no-hitter.
Well, this year, he has raised his expectations tenfold: A Cy Young, the All Star Game start, 20 wins, a World Series start and, of course, that elusive no-hitter.
“I’m striving for it. It’s exciting. I want the fans who watch me pitch coming to the ballpark thinking I might throw a no-hitter that night. I definitely want one. And I want it to be on a nationally televised game with a sellout crowd.”
As high-reaching as Hamels is, I find him completely refreshing. The Phillies haven’t had a Cy Young-caliber pitcher since Curt Schilling (apologies to Brett Myers), and, really, Schilling was never this outspoken with his goals. Sure it was nice having a guy who gunned 300 strikeouts a few seasons, but Hamels has gigantic aspirations, and he’s not afraid to share them.
Moreover, Hamels is cocky, which I love. I find there are two types of ace pitchers â€” the ones who remain quiet and do their work without fail (Steve Carlton, Greg Maddux) and then there are the ones who don’t feign from the camera, who love speaking up (Schilling, Roger Clemens). Personal opinions and recent problems aside, Hamels is in great company in the latter group. “Hollywood,” as he’s called lovingly in the clubhouse, knows his abilities, stands by them and works with them.
Looking at projections for 2008, most experts penciled Hamels to have something like a 14-6 record with a 3.50 ERA. Respectable, but glaringly short. Most don’t think he can eclipse 200 innings, as injuries have sparkled through his career. (In fact, he barely eclipsed 200 innings for his entire Minor League career.) But I say that’s hogwash. I fully expect Hamels to reach over 200 innings while registering 20 wins and an ERA south of 3.20. If Hamels is that confident, so am I.