by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
When the Chicago Cubs acquired Cole Hamels the assumption was that it would be nothing more than a rental. Instead they opted to pick up his option, as he pitched his way into the team’s 2019 plans with an exceptional two months of work:
76.1 IP, 2.36 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 8.72 K/9, 2.71 BB/9
It’s easy to forget that many thought he was finished as a viable fantasy option prior to the trade, having pitched to a 4.72 ERA with the Rangers. What happened to spike the turn around? Can we realistically expect it to continue?
The biggest change was in his luck, as his strand rate went from 72.4% to 82.3%. That alone would should tell us all we need to know about his outlook moving forward.
That’s not to say that Hamels was not more effective after the trade. He saw his groundball rate rise, going from 43.4% to 47.7%. That would help, but it’s still not an impressive number and doesn’t justify his HR/9 plummeting from 1.81 to 0.71. Obviously the home run rate in Texas was inflated but it’s not like Wrigley Fie!d is a hitters ballpark and we can expect him to maintain his minuscule mark.
Hamels also improved his Hard%, going from 44.9% to 36.9%. Again the improved mark isn’t particularly impressive and easily should translate to a BABIP well above his .284.
He did take a more fastball forward approach in Chicago, going from 40.0% usage to 53.7%. That’s not to say that either of his fastballs were particularly productive, however (AVG/SLG):
- Fourseam – .307/.575
- Sinker – .320/.456
Want to credit the improvement to easier NL lineups? It’s fair, but not to this extent. Hamels enjoyed a tremendous finish to 2018 but assuming he can maintain it into 2019 would be misguided. The numbers will likely plummet, making him a hands off proposition on draft day.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections: