Analysis

Is Hamels a Top-3 Cy Young Candidate?

Here are some stats for you to chew on:

-Cole Hamels is 12-10 this season, with a 2.93 ERA, a new low. He ranks 11th in the NL in ERA, 9th in WHIP, 3rd in strikeouts, 6th in K/9, and 13th in BAA, and 8th in innings pitched.

-Since May 1, just after a less-than-stellar opening month, Hamels has a 2.51 ERA. If you toss away his one inning start against the Braves in which he gave up three runs before being pulled due to the weather, his ERA drops to 2.36 since May 1.

-After the all-star break, Hamels ERA is 1.89 with a batting average against of .200

-He’s allowed just two earned runs this month, one against the Braves on Monday night and one against Florida the previous week.

All of these statistics put him squarely in the race for a shot at the Cy Young Award in the National League. Right now, the clear favorite is Roy Halladay. He’s head an shoulders above the rest, but a case can be made for Cole Hamels to slide into the top three of the NL.

Rob Neyer of ESPN.com is a well-respected stat head who ranked R.A. Dickey (!) and an injured Josh Johnson ahead of Cole Hamels in his top five. No love for the lefty on that list, although he does have Roy Halladay at number one.

Has Hamels done enough to jump into the actual top three in the Cy Young voting? It’s obvious that his low win total will hurt him, even though it’s a rather meaningless stat for him. Five times this season Hamels has gone seven or more innings and given up three earned runs or less and been tagged with the loss. So, give Cole roughly 15 wins at this point, which would put him in the top six. Still not enough?

In all honesty, the first three slots seem to be reserved for Halladay, Jimenez, and Wainwright. But consider this: Jimenez has an ERA just digits lower than Cole’s. And while Jimenez has given up 23 less hits on the season, he’s walked 25 more than Hamels. The Phillies lefty has also struck out 207 on the year to Jimenez’s 192.

Not to dismiss Josh Johnson, as he had a remarkable season for Florida, however, he’s going to fall well short in the innings category. Therefore, he’ll also end up losing the peripheral stats battle.

What say you? Does Hamels deserve a spot amongst the three best pitchers in the National League this season? At the very least, a top five landing spot is well within reach.

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