Thursday, March 11, 2010

Will Cole Hamels Bounce Back This Year?

Baseball season is right around the corner and TheWizWit [dot] com is here to get you prepared with more Phillies knowledge than your tiny little brain can handle. Over the next few weeks we're going to answer a multitude of questions facing our 2010 Fightin' Phils, all leading up to the ultimate question: Will the Phillies win the World Series? [The answer, yes.]

This may be one of the most important questions facing the Phillies in Twenty-Ten.

Will we get the World Series MVP Cole Hamels? Or will we be stuck with 2009 version featuring a prim donna, Hollywood head-case who'd rather complain about what time of the day he pitches than dominate the diamond?

My money is on Hamels bouncing back to form and reaffirming himself as one of the premier starting pitchers in the league. No doubt about it.

He has a world of talent, and has clearly demonstrated that in the past. Last year was a completely lost season for him where nothing seemed to go his way. The bad year seemed destined from Jump Street. First he came off the World Series high and admitted he didn't train the way he needed during the offseason. Then before spring training even broke, he had suffered an elbow injury causing him to miss his chance at being the Opening Day starter. Things just got worse from there. He completely lost all of the poise and concentration we'd become accustomed to.

What makes this year different? His mindset. And the addition of a third pitch. Roy Halladay can’t hurt either.

Coming into Spring Training this year, Hamels has been noticeably more focused and determined to turn back to prominence. He’s returned better conditioned and has been dedicated on improving his cutter and curveball. The speed on his fastball is already being thrown at the same mph he does during the regular season.

Hamels knows he let small errors consume him mentally in games. It showed in the way he carried himself on the mound and even the way he pushed blame off to his teammates at times. The good news is that he’s recognized those faults. Coming into the league as a rookie, everyone marveled at Hamels' poise on the mound (much like people are doing now with Happ). Look for Hamels to return to his old mindset this year – he knows what he has to do.

What many people don’t realize is he actually figured some things out last year and pitched MUCH better after the All Star break. Obviously, his World Series start was forgettable and frustrating, but let’s look at the sample size of the 2009 regular season as a whole:

His ERA dropped a whole run per game, his WHIP improved, opponents’ batting average dipped 50 points lower, and he cut down on his penchant for allowing dingers. All of those things are great signs.

While you can’t put too much stock into Spring Training stats (guys aren’t pitching to win games, but hone and work on their skills instead), Cole has gotten off to an impressive start and has instilled confidence in his team with his offseason work. Having Roy Halladay ahead of him doesn’t hurt either as his worth ethic has been rubbing off on many of the pitchers on the staff. Not to mention his presence alone takes a lot of pressure off Hamels being “the guy”.

So to put it simply, there’s no way Hamels doesn’t bounce back this year. When you take everything into consideration, he’s in line for a very solid – if not All Star worthy year. Yeah, I went there. ALL STAR.

Take it from us here at TheWizWit – we know what we’re talking about.


  1. Where's the Shark for the NCAA tourney? no brackets, predictions or commentary? you aint that busy with work Lodi.

  2. The Shark's bracket is busted. That thing looks like a crime scene. It's bad. I'm glad I didnt post anything related to that. All that credibility I gained during the football season wouldve been un-done by that bracket, haha