Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The Return of Hollywood
Hamels was an absolute phenom when he made his major league debut for the Phillies in 2006. Some viewed him as the savior of the franchise and he did not disappoint. Hamels helped the Phillies get to the playoffs in his first full season, he then carried them to the Broad Street Parade of World F***in Champions the next year.
In Hamels's first full season he was named to the National League All-Star team and finished 6th in the Cy Young race. The following year, Hamels pitched 227 innings and led the Majors in WHIP, while posting a paltry 3.09 era. Once the postseason came, Hamels then all of a sudden turned into Walter Johnson as he went 4-0 in 35 innings and posted a 1.80 era earning him MVP honors of the NLCS and the World Series. This all occurred at the age of 24.
Who's Partyin?? Hollywood Hamels, that's who!!
Then 2009 came and he got a raw backhand to the face in spring training and never recovered. In 2009, Hamels posted career a worst in winning%, losses, era, hits, whip, basically every single pitching stat that exists. He had a few really good outings that restored hope in Philadelphia but that never materialized as he couldn't pull it together by playoff time. The 2009 playoffs didn't go as swimmingly as 2008 as Hamels went 1-2 in 19 innings while posting an era (7.56) that chased the height of Philadelphia basketball hero, Shawn "the stick" Bradley.
Hamels appeared as if he did nothing in the offseason after the World Series and it really affected his 2009 performance. Hamels has gotten alot of crap for partying too much during the 08 offseason. Ya, you try and become the most decorated postseason hero in Philadelphia history at 24 years old and focus on the task at hand. Good luck.
There is no question that Hamels is one of the most talented pitchers in baseball. You don't post great numbers like he did in the minors and his first 3 years in the majors without being talented. Every single great pitcher in this league has gone through struggles after their early success except Tim Lincecum, I guess that is why he's named "the freak." Hamels posted a 4.3 era at 25 years of age, Halladay posted a 4.2 era at 27, Beckett posted a 5.0 era at 26, Chris Carpenter had a 6.2 era when he was 25, and Cliff Lee even got demoted when he was 28.
Hamels seems to have learned his lesson as he has put in some serious work during the offseason. It appears that Hamels has been working on several different offspeed pitches along with developing arm strength early in the season. I believe that the struggles of 2009 will help out Hamels in the long run as it has forced him to refocus himself. I predict a Cy Young type season for Cole. Hollywood will be back with a vengeance.