Cole Hamels has been one of the most consistent pitchers of this generation, posting top-tier performances in virtually every season of his 11-year career. He has pitched 183-plus innings in every season since his rookie campaign of 2006, and he has maintained an ERA of 3.65 or less in nine of the past 10 seasons (the outlier was in 2009). Hamels has registered between 7.8 and 9.1 K/9 in each of the last 10 seasons and hasn't given up more than a hit per inning since 2010. The one oddity is a walk rate that jumped from a steady string of 2.0-2.7 BB/9 seasons to a career-high of 3.5 BB/9, inflating his WHIP to a career-high mark as well. Given his track record, the extra free passes of 2016 stand as an outlier in a career of above average walk rates, and he is likely to drop back into his familiar zone of vintage Mike Mussina performance this season.
Hamels (1-0) allowed one run on three hits and two walks while striking out three over eight innings in Friday's 6-2 win over the Royals. Backed by a four-homer barrage, the left-hander cruised to his first win of the season, throwing 71 of 107 pitches for strikes. Hamels will look to build on this momentum in his next start Wednesday at home against the Twins.
Hamels allowed four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and two walks while striking out two batters during Sunday's no-decision against Seattle. The Texas bullpen couldn't hold off the Mariners, and Hamels still hasn't factored into the decision in any of his three starts to begin the campaign. The veteran lefty wasn't at his best Sunday, and he's now allowed a home run in each of his three starts. He also has just 11 strikeouts through 18 innings. After turning in reliable fantasy numbers year in, year out for over a decade, Hamels is probably set to decline for a third straight season. He's still a serviceable asset, but expecting his 2011 results is ill-advised.
Hamels tossed seven innings in Anaheim on Tuesday, giving up a single run on four hits and four walks with five strikeouts. Hamels was in line for the win, but closer Sam Dyson blew it for him in the ninth, leading to an eventual 10-inning loss. He's failed to come away with a win in his first two starts, and there are some warning signs underlying the 2.77 ERA that Hamels owns in the early going. The lefty hit a batter and gave up a homer in both starts, which isn't pleasant to see after he faded down the stretch last year (particularly in terms of control). That said, we're still talking about a guy who's struck out 200 hitters in four of the last five seasons, including last year. At 33, the tank clearly isn't empty for Hamels yet. He'll draw the Mariners on the road Sunday.
Hamels gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk over six innings against the Indians on Wednesday. He struck out four. Neither he nor opposing starter Danny Salazar -- who gave up five runs of his own -- factored into the decision. As Hamels embarks on his age-33 season, he presents an interesting test case. He's seen his WHIP climb in consecutive seasons, including a career-worst 1.31 mark last year, and Texas isn't the best pitching environment; on the other hand, Hamels also struck out 200 hitters (yet again) and posted a 3.32 ERA alongside 15 wins. The veteran lefty's September fade last year was troubling, and it may cause the Rangers to try to find him a bit more rest throughout this season, but Hamels should still post credible fantasy stats.
Hamels needed just 69 pitches to get through six scoreless innings in his final exhibition matchup Friday against the Royals. Hamels surrendered two hits on the evening but also struck out four batters in the contest. The left-hander had a bit of a rocky start to his spring, but what matters is that he finished strong, surrendering just one earned run over his final 11 frames. Hamels will begin his age-33 season with an April 5 start against Cleveland.
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