Hamels 2011 Takes Him to Elite Status

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, November 20, 2011 10:35 AM | Comments: 13
2011 Player Review, Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

Photo: AP

We continue our 2011 Player Review series with Cole Hamels.

It’s almost as easy as talking about Santa Claus throwing snow balls at an Eagles game 40-some-odd years ago. There’s always that point to go back to that allows writers a point of entry for a particular story. It used to be the 2009 season with Cole Hamels. But two years later we can honestly say that season was a deviation from the norm.

With yet another excellent showing in 2011, Cole Hamels has established himself as not only an elite left-handed pitcher (perhaps the best of the best), but one of the best overall. Last week, he finished fifth in the National League Cy Young Award voting behind Clayton Kershaw, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Ian Kennedy.

A quick glance at his numbers show you consistency throughout. Only twice did Hamels allow more than four earned runs in game, one of them coming in his first start of the season against the New York Mets. Eleven times he went at least seven innings without giving up more than one run.

Hamels’ fine first half sent him to Phoenix for the 2011 All-Star Game, where he joined Halladay, Lee, Placido Polanco, and Shane Victorino.

His name appears high on the NL statistical leaderboard in many different categories. Hamels finished 6th in ERA (2.79), 2nd in WHIP (0.99), 10th in strikeouts (194), and 9th in innings pitched (216). He also ranked 5th in K/BB ratio (4.41), 2nd in opponents batting average (.214), and third in opponents OPS (.596). Hamels’ only true blemish is his home run total of 19. That ranked 24th in the National League.

And long gone are the days where we can no longer trust Hamels in a big situation. The uneasy feeling that 2009 left behind has dissipated. We now look to Cole to take the ball on the road in the playoffs and come up large. He did just that in Game 3 of the NLDS against St. Louis in October.

Needing to be close to perfect to give the Phillies faltering offense a chance, Hamels tossed six shutout innings en route to his seventh postseason victory in 13 starts. Obviously, it was all for naught as St. Louis would come back from a 2-1 series deficit to win; but that was no fault of Hamels.

How did Hamels get here? By changing. He changed his work habits; he’s in the best shape of his life, bulking up and adding strength as a way to deal with the everyday rigors of the game. Basically, Hamels is prepared to be great every fifth day; something you can count on from Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, as well.

That work ethic has led to improved velocity on his fastball, and to the addition of a sturdy cutter he’s implemented over the past few years. Since he broke into the league, Hamels has added a mile-per-hour on his fastball, but now has the ability to get it to 94-95 if need be.

Now, we look to future. What does it hold for Hamels? If he gets his way, it’ll include him in red pinstripes for a long, long time. A few pundits have argued that with the Phillies inflated payroll, Hamels might be the sacrificed lamb. A trade would bring in quality young talent at cheap price. Worry not, Phillies fans. Cole Hamels is not going anywhere. He loves this town too much. And the town loves him back.

Grade: 9/10 – A brief injury gave us a scare, but beyond that Hamels was exceptional throughout 2011. We hope for many more quality seasons to come.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1684 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 222 tavian

    Avatar of tavian

    Now we will experience first hand how that boneheaded contract with Ryan Howard, that will pay this player a bundle for the next five years will handcuff the Phils in signing key players like Hamels. Don’t be surprised if Hamels is no longer a Phillie after 2012. And you can thank Ruben Amaro Jr. for all that.

  • Posts: 439 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    I woulda went higher with the grade here but if you go any higher, I guess Doc gets a 14 or 15 then. Great season, hope he’s here for a long, long time.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Wow a team with all 9s and 10s

    That won 1 playoff game. I am hoping Ben Fran gets a 10 here since he won one all by himself.

    Still trying to decipher how the greatest team ever lost to the Cardinals in round 1 and the Giants the year before.

    Donny is sleeping on telling us how great they all are.
    Was he one of the ones that said 11-0 in the playoffs?

    But really when they justify the first baseman thats the best.
    Do it.

    Cole needs to e traded or not signed long term.
    Oh the blasphemy is deep now.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    The injury scare on the 8

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    I mean when the 9 of 10 was injured
    I said my god
    Without him they can lose in round 1

    But you all said sign them all long term.

    Scary times.
    Jimmy and Cole write their own contracts.
    Home grown talent has earned it.
    Like the first baseman.
    Donny will tell you
    Or turn in your fan card.
    And root for the Cubs.

    • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

      Avatar of Pat Gallen

      Should we give them all zeroes because they fell short in the NLDS by one run? Andrew, I hope I never become a fan like you. Greatest era in team history and I never see one positive word from you. Real shame.

      • Posts: 31 Gavin

        Avatar of Gavin

        Thanks for saying that,
        Always wanted to say something about it, but never really did it.

    • Posts: 993 betasigmadeltashag

      Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

      AFW can you please just go away Iknow you like to sit in your mother’s Basement and get real philly fans all riled up, And I have said it before that I should just it pass. But these grades are for what these guys did in the season. One 5 game series does not a series make. And if you were not such a jacka** I may agree that the numbers are a little high. But this team did win 102 games with a lot of injuries and a rookie starter and mostly young kids in the bull pen. Cole should not be traded period he will be an elite lefty for 4-5 maybe enven 6 years. Do you sign him for 6 years no. But you can create a contract for 3-4 years maybe with option for more and it would be a smart move. so please take your nose away from the glue and put down the WOW game and please go to the Mets website

  • Posts: 0 Bob Myers

    Hamels definitely is a 9 maybe a 10. And I agree with Pat, this is an incredible team, incredible season for baseball for Phillies fans.

    If you reach a point where your team is only good when they’re World Champions, then being a fan is going to be more painful than joyful and it’s just not worth following a team.

    Good post on Hamel. He’s terrific.

    Also, I don’t get the hate for Ruben. He’s been great, aggressively seeking to win, and willing to spend to get there. It’s fine to disagree here and there. What kind of deal would have made you feel good for Howard? Half of it, one or two less years, what? He might be a bit overpaid and bit long in the contract, but c’mon, he’s worth at least half of the 125 Mill for five years, so what if Ruben signed him for 5 years at 12 a year, for 60 mill? We’re talking a difference of 65 mill over 5 years from genius Amaro to “hate him”. I don’t get it….

  • Posts: 2069 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    It seems like that Bob – all or crapped.

    Watching Hamels is fun where in the past it was sometimes well, scary – you just were not sure what you would get. It sure boils down once again to the offense, doesn’t it? One more season where if Cole were to have nominal run support, his win totals would rank among the best in the past few years.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I agree and often he shut down or kept the game 1 and under when the Phils couldnt score. I think “some” people need to see another good year before they are convinced that Cole is up with the Roys and Lee. His only shaky year really was 2009. Since then he has been great, with more run support he could be easily a 18 game winner a year.

  • Posts: 2069 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    Could’t help it. My wife was rustling through the DVD’s looking for Prancer and up popped the 2008 WS Classic DVD. With nowhere else to plug it in, I have been watching it on my PC for the past 40 minutes. A rush, tears and Oh, what memories!

    What a sap I am

  • Posts: 0 davehist

    When you’ve been following this team from the time of Bucky Harris and Fat Freddy Fitzsimmons on, then you can appreciate just what a time Phillies fans are (or should be) living through these past few years – and more to come. A lot of pretty bad teams in all those past years, and now we’ve got one of the “elite franchises” in MLB. Wow! And yet these guys come on here and with their posts they moan and groan and hate the GM and hate the manager and even hate the broadcasters. Get over it, guys…the Phillies have never had it so good!

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