2010 Player Reviews

Year in Review: Cole Hamels

This post was written by PN contributor Jeff Nelson. Welcome Jeff to the Phillies Nation squad.

Headcase. Immature. Soft. Unprepared. He wouldn’t pitch on three-days rest if asked. He’s not a big game pitcher. He sounds like a whiny 7-year old – these were some of the descriptions I heard and read from many Phillies fans following Cole Hamels’ disappointing 2009 season. Heck, some people even wanted him traded after what he said during the ’09 World Series. To the naked eye, Cole just wasn’t right two years ago.

Fast forward a year later and Hamels all the sudden ‘found his game.’ He ‘flicked a switch’ or ‘put his game face on.’ He was more prepared heading in to 2010 or he was cured from the Verducci effect. I’m obviously being a bit facetious with those descriptions. So if determination and perfection weren’t the reasons behind Hamels’ resurgence as an elite pitcher, then what was?

In general, most of Hamels’ ’08 and ’09 rate stats were eerily similar. His K/9, BB/9, HR/9, GB%, FB%, and LD% all barely varied. His BABIP and strand rates on the other hand differed greatly. Cole’s BABIP ballooned from .270 in 2008 to .325 in 2009, by far the highest of his young career. Indeed, Cole was extremely unlucky in 2009 and he didn’t pitch nearly as bad as his 4.32 ERA suggested. Last year, his BABIP regressed right around his career norm, which is slightly lower than league average.

Cole’s strand rate also jumped in the right direction from 72.1% in ’09 to a more than healthy 82.7% in ’10. Part of this is a result from an increase in both his GB% (40.4% to 45.4%) and punchouts (7.81/9IP to 9.10/9IP). The other part stems from the decrease in his BABIP.

While I think it’s safe to say he probably won’t leave runners on base at this clip this year, I still think he can be well above average next year if his rate stats don’t plummet harshly.

Hamels’ 2010 SIERA of 3.19 (good for 10th among starters) did not fluctuate much from his sparkling 3.06ERA. In other words, he really is that good and he is very likely to put up a similar ERA next year. I’m happy to point out that two other Phillies starters also finished ahead of Hamels in SIERA, so he’s in very good company (Halladay with a league leading 2.93 SIERA and Cliff Lee with a 3.03 SIERA).

As impressive as Hamel’s 2010 campaign was, a closer look shows he was absolutely dominant in the second half. Cole made 15 appearances after the all-star break, posting a miniscule 2.23 ERA, a K/BB ratio approaching 5/1, a 9.7 K/9 and a .603 OPS.

The only blemish on Hamels’ 2010 resume was his win/loss record and that’s something you cannot fault him for. Rather, the paltry 3.66 runs/game he received serves as a much better culprit. He deserves much better than his record indicates, but I guess that’s why they play the games.

Jeff’s Grade: 9.3

PAT GALLEN’S GRADE: 9.2 – Hamels was sensational and there is still room for improvement. He struggled a bit through the first month but turned it around to have an incredible season. So exciting to watch this “kid” mature into a top-flight, number-one pitcher.



  1. GoPhils

    December 31, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Hamels experienced an uptick in velocity this year, at times hitting 95-96 consistently throughout a game. In the beginning of the year he was the object of great scrutiny because of the year he had in ’09. He resolved not to dispute with umpires and he also met with a mental conditioning coach. He added a cutter and a curve to a the fastball and changeup. One of my wishes for 2011 is for Hamels to win the amount of games that he deserves to win. I fully expect him to compete as well in 2011 as he did in 2010, if not better because he is just entering his prime. He handled the lack of wins he was getting with great class.

    • yrsoprano

      December 31, 2010 at 11:40 am

      Cole did show great restraint and class considering the lack of run support he received last season. It often looked like the team deliberately didn’t score behind him although I am sure that was not the case. I think we tend to forget how young he is and he added bulk to his body to increase that velocity that set up the change-up making it more effective than ever. Adding the cutter kept hitters off balance and he will keep adjusting his game. I think he’s the cornerstone of this rotation and I hope the Phillies realize that and find the coin to sign him. I would hate for him to walk. I wish Ruben Amaro appreciated Cole more but Cole will pitch his game and hopefully deliver another championship.

  2. Pat Gallen

    December 31, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Next up: a new contract for Cole Hamels. 4 years, $75 million?

    • Lefty

      December 31, 2010 at 1:39 pm

      At his age I would think that someone would offer more years than that, it seems to be the trend. They might have to make it 5 with an option for a 6th.

  3. Chuck

    December 31, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Let’s get it done, Pat. Lock him up NOW!! That could be a very good value considering what he’sdone and what his potential is.

  4. Lefty

    December 31, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Curious- Who’s Jeff? And why is his grade before yours, Pat?

    I have a feeling we haven’t seen the best of Cole Hamels yet, nothing concrete, just gut. His second half last year was sensational. If he gets slightly more run support this year, 20 wins is well within reach.

  5. betasigmadeltashag

    December 31, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    The beginning of the year he was still working on the cutter to be an effective pitch. You can say he should of had it perfected by the beginning of the year, but ST is a little different than the regular season. Once he got command of that pitch and worked his curve in a little more he was absolutely dominant. If they could lock him up for 5 years 16-18 million a year average I think you do that. The kid can pitch and he really is just begun what should be a stellar career baring injury. Plus not having the pressure to be number one and accepting that he is the #3 pitcher is a huge advantage for the kid. And face it no matter what number he starts at he is the third best pitcher on this team. I put him ahead of little Roy. And if was not for the l r l r thing I would go with that rotation Doc, Cliff, Cole, Little Roy, KK or Blanton, or any else you choose

  6. Brooks

    December 31, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    4 years $75 Million? Where does that come from?
    Regardless, if we get an 07, 08 or 10 version of Cole (I’d prefer the most recent) – the Phils will be golden.

    I think he was the most improved Phillie, showed the most grit and determination and was not bothered one bit by the lack of support he recieved it seemed outing after outing –

    The great thing about our 4 #1 starters is that any one of them could wind up being the CY award winner in 2011. Amazing.

    • betasigmadeltashag

      December 31, 2010 at 5:38 pm

      was just wondering Brooks do you like that deal if he would sign it? I do, i think you could even go five would still only be, what, 34 by the end of that one? I like Cole and I think that his secondary pitches will only become better as he gets used to them. And if he trains like Doc he should be able to pitch a long time

  7. Brooks

    December 31, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Beta – in the second half of the season, Cole actually outpitched Doc in nearly every stat but the win column.
    But then again, Roy Oswalt pitched better than both of them!

    The terminology of a designate #3 starter is now mixed. Regardless of who is called a #3 starter, how much difference is there between this teams #1 and #4 in talent? Crazy good.

    • NigeyJ

      December 31, 2010 at 2:40 pm

      yep terminology’s gone out the window but then again you listen to managers, coaches and talent evaluators and most seem to use phrases like top, middle and back of the rotation instead of throwing out numbers…

  8. NigeyJ

    December 31, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    We forget the human element in baseball and surely a pitchers job is the hardest in sports because the line between success and failure is so thin.

    After winning the World Series Cole was given most of the off-season off because of the amount of innings he’d pitched the year before. You hear so much about how pitchers regiment their years to repeat success and Cole didn’t have the chance, hell the guy had his first child and most here must know what that does to a man. He never had a chance to get his ’09 season going because he was playing catch up and trying to sprint into form.

    Then he has a whole off-season to prepare with a chip on his shoulder…

    Hard even thinking of what scenario he’ll be in when he re-signs or test free agency but boy I hope he can just repeat the steps he took going into last year cause I think there’s more pressure on him than any other player in the organisation.

  9. tavian

    December 31, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    With the successful older pitchers in the rotation I cannot help but think that Cole will improve by emulating the examples they set. This will be a real good year for Cole Hamels.

  10. Chuck

    December 31, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    18 wins. Bank on it.

  11. Jay aka Phillyboy

    December 31, 2010 at 3:39 pm


  12. Jay aka Phillyboy

    December 31, 2010 at 3:40 pm


  13. Ted Bell

    December 31, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I won’t pretend to understand these grades (or even acknowledge that they mean anything), but J.A. Happ scores higher than Cole Hamels?

    I’m Ted Bell.

  14. betasigmadeltashag

    December 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    ted, I think Happ’s grade was based on getting Little Roy, so it was like a combined grade what he did and what we got when we traded him

  15. Brooks

    December 31, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Happy New Years guys!
    Look, I am thinking this year or next he leads the club in victories – 20 or more. 18 this year would be SUPERB though.

  16. bruce

    January 1, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Did someone say 4yrs and $75 million for Hamels? PEANUTS!! (chuckles) The way general managers today are waving their money at every free agent out there (How the hell did Werth get 7yrs and $126 million?), you think Hamels is going to settle for PN’s suggested offer especially if he has another outstanding season next year?

    Hey..next year is less than 1 hour away. 🙂 ….. Happy New Year everyone!!

  17. MissPhillie

    January 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I was REALLY impressed with Cole this year, he really stepped up and improved greatly. I think he knew he needed to after his less-than-stellar 2009, and he came back in top form, doing great as a 3rd starter in the 2nd half of the season. His win/loss record is unfortunate, he never seemed to get much run support, but even in his losses he pitched wonderfully.

    As long as we get this Cole back in 2011, and everyone stays healthy, we’ll be golden (I almost typed “colden”…hahaha). 15-18 wins sounds just about right, provided he actually gets run support this coming season. Can’t wait, Go Phils and Happy New Year!

  18. landshark

    January 2, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I expect big things from Hamels this season. He doesn’t have as much pressure as he did in the past 4 seasons since he’s pitching 4th in the roatation, so expect him to be dominant. He’s coming up on career milestones (1000 K’s & 1000 Innings pitched), and he’ll be playing for a nice raise in his paycheck for 2012 season. If I could guess right now, I’d easily say he’d hit a season high in wins between 16-19, 200 K’s, and an ERA in the low 3.00’s. God! Is it April yet? I cannot wait to get this season rolling

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