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Friday, August 13, 2010

Scouting Report, Lefty Cole Hamels

The Mets faced Cole last week and it was a classic pitcher's duel, but he came out on the losing end. He threw 7 innings, allowed only 1 run on 6 hits, while striking out 11 and walking none. The sole run came on a home run by the beloved Jeff Francoeur (on a pitcher's pitch).

Here is the scouting report from May 27th/August 7th, and his updated stats/trends at the end.

The 26-year old Hamels went from a future ace after his stellar post-season in 2008 to a failure in the eyes of Phillies fans after 2009. So which pitcher is Cole? Most likely some where in between, but closer to the future ace. He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2002 draft and made his major league debut in 2006. He had some durability/character issues in the minors (elbow pain, back discomfort, broken arm in a possible fight in high school, and broke a bone in his hand in a bar room fight), but he has a career 53-36 record in the big leagues, with a 3.68 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Last year he was highly unlucky (.325 BAPIP), while his strikeout and walk rates remained the same from 2008. In his nine career starts versus the Mets, he's struggled. He's 2-4 with a 4.12 and a 1.573 WHIP. Last year the Mets hit him hard in his first two starts at Citi Field (10 innings, 21 hits, 8 runs), but shut down the Mets in September at CBP (6 2/3 innings, 1 ER, 6 Ks).

Hamels has a smooth high 3/4s arm action and is a fly-ball pitcher. He throws his fastball 88-92 mph, and possesses one of the best change-ups in the game (81 mph). He occasionally throws a show me curve-ball, and has added a cutter this off-season, but it hasn't been effective yet this year, especially versus right handers, who are hammering it to a tone of .412/.429/.882. His strike out pitch is his change-up, but also has been getting strikeouts/swings and misses on fastballs out of the zone. He's averaging 9 K/9 this year (one of the best SP in baseball), but he's also seen his W/9 rise to 2.98 (highest in four years).

UPDATE August 13th: So far this year Hamels is 7-8 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 23 starts (146 innings). In his last 6 starts (since July 11th), he has a 1.94 ERA. He's minimized the long ball since July, allowing only 4 in 55 2/3 (18 in previous 90 1/3). He has yet to allow a hit on his cutter to lefties, but he barely throws it. As noted above, his cutter gets pounded by righties.

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