Why I’m Excited For Today’s Exhibition Game

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, February 23, 2013 09:09 AM | Comments: 8
2013 Spring Training

It's finally time to get out of that suit and into red pinstripes. Spring is here and Hamels is on the hill. Photo by: Ian Riccaboni

Some folks react to today’s start of the Spring schedule with a shoulder shrug, a yawn. A bigger “why care” is exhibited instead of an “I care”. But, I do care and I’m really looking forward to today’s 1:05 PM start against the Astros.

It is all because of Cole Hamels.

While the pitches Hamels throws today may feel meaningless, and in the grand scheme of the history of the game, they are, there is a greater significance with every appearance, Spring Training or regular season. Hamels is entering the prime of his career, on pace for more than 2,800 career strikeouts, suddenly the leader on a staff with two Cy Young winners who are still pretty good in the own right. He is likely your 2013 Opening Day starter. He is the face of the Phillies no matter if Chase Utley or Carlos Ruiz re-sign after the season or Jimmy Rollins returns after 2014. And he is very quietly halfway through a Hall of Fame career.

It is no secret that Hamels is a very good pitcher, but it is often lost just how good Hamels is. Both traditional and advanced statistics bare this out. Take, for example, this snapshot from his first full season, 2007, until now. The numbers may surprise you:

2007 – 2012 MLB Rank (Min. 1000 IP)
Starts Tenth
Innings Pitched Tenth
Wins Seventh
ERA Seventh
K/9 IP Fifth
BB/9 IP Sixth
FIP Ninth
xFIP Sixth
fWAR Tenth
K% Fourth
BB% Seventh
BAA Sixth
WHIP Second

The names he is surrounded by, front and back? Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke, and Felix Hernandez. He is in really good company. His career statistics match-up really well, also:

Active Rank Career Rank
WHIP Third 47th
K/9 IP Seventh 20th
K/BB Third Seventh
ERA+ Ninth 59th

Having just turned 29, Hamels should have much more MLB success in front of him. With the exception of an un-lucky 2009, Hamels has been one of the most dominant MLB pitchers of the last six years. If he is able to continue his success for another eight seasons at the paces he is on, Hamels would wind up with 2800+ Ks, 195 Wins, and 452 starts as a Phillie. Those stats would rank him second, third, and third all-time among Phillies starting pitchers, behind only Steve Carlton and Robin Roberts. You shouldn’t get too excited yet about where Hamels is projected as there obviously tons of variability in what can happen over the next eight years. But it certainly is OK to be excited about today’s exhibition game.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 769 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

  • Posts: 2968 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Aaaaaannnnd….. I’m excited! I’ll listen on the radio as I have to work this afternoon. Then I’ll watch on tape delay tonight. Can’t wait!

    Ian, thanks for the snapshot of Cole’s career. Very eye-opening indeed.

  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    today’s starting lineup

    1. Ben Revere (L) CF

    2. Michael Young (R) 3B

    3. Chase Utley (L) 2B

    4. Ryan Howard (L) 1B

    5. Darin Ruf (R) LF

    6. Domonic Brown (L) RF

    7. Laynce Nix (L) DH

    8. Yuniesky Betancourt (R) SS

    9. Erik Kratz (R) C

  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    Former Phil now of the Stros, Jonathan Singleton held court with the medioa yesterday. Talked about his drug suspension.


  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    MLB Network will air the Astros’ spring training opener Saturday against the Phillies at 6 a.m Eastern Sunday.

    • Posts: 2968 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      I’ve got it all lined up on DVR so I can watch it tonight instead of getting up at 6AM tomorrow. Of course, I may opt to watch it AGAIN if I don’t feel like sleeping late or there’s something SO compelling that I have to see it again! Like 3 HRs from Ruf or something of that nature…

      Go Phils!!!

      • Posts: 4954 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Which reminds me I’ve got to go set mine for 6am here in B’more. Ah, Coffee and baseball, what a way to start a Sunday morning.

  • Posts: 4954 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Hamels # ten ranking in pitcher WAR over that time period is truly exceptional. Puts him in some good company.

    2) Halladay
    3) Verlander
    4) Lee
    5) King Felix
    6) Greinke
    7) Haren
    10) Hamels.

    Haren, Beckett and Hamels are the only three on that list without a CY award. If healthy it’s Hamels turn!

  • Posts: 2968 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Two “hated” teams playing each other right now. Mets and Nats. But it’s LIVE baseball!!! And Strasburg is set to pitch.

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