Cole Hamels
Cole Hamels
35-Year-Old PitcherSP
Chicago Cubs
2019 Fantasy Outlook
The Cubs' trade to acquire Hamels from the Rangers at the deadline proved to be one of the more shrewd moves of the summer, as Hamels posted a brilliant 2.36 ERA in 12 starts for Chicago down the stretch (76.1 innings). Getting out of the hitters' haven in Arlington was big for Hamels -- he posted a 6.41 ERA and gave up 16 homers in 59 innings at Globe Life Park prior to the trade -- not to mention the move out of the American League. His HR/9 after the trade was 0.71 (1.81 HR/9 with Texas). The lefty bumped his strikeout rate back up to right around his career average after it dipped to a career-low 17.1% in 2017. After his late-season run, Chicago picked up Hamels' $20 million option for 2019. Givens the skills rebound and team context, Hamels is back in the mix as a third or fourth starter in mixed leagues. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a six-year, $144 million contract extension with the Phillies in July of 2012. Traded to the Rangers in July of 2015. Traded to the Cubs in July of 2018. Cubs exercised $20 million team option for 2019 in November of 2018.
Gets rocked Wednesday
PChicago Cubs
August 14, 2019
Hamels (6-4) allowed eight runs on nine hits and two walks across two innings to take the loss Wednesday against the Phillies. He struck out two.
It was a performance to forget for Hamels against his former team. The lefty allowed two runs in each of the first two innings, then got the hook after allowing four straight hits to begin the third. The eight earned runs are a new season worst for Hamels, and he saw his ERA climb from 3.09 to 3.69 in the process. He's still been generally solid for the Cubs this year, and he'll look to shake this one off when he takes the hill again Tuesday against the Giants.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .217 366 73 31 71 9 1 6
Since 2017vs Right .249 1521 327 126 336 72 6 52
2019vs Left .259 96 19 8 22 1 0 2
2019vs Right .256 371 88 31 84 23 0 9
2018vs Left .242 143 33 17 30 4 0 2
2018vs Right .247 663 155 48 146 25 5 27
2017vs Left .161 127 21 6 19 4 1 2
2017vs Right .247 487 84 47 106 24 1 16
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
Since 2017Home 3.88 1.24 227.1 11 11 0 8.5 3.0 1.3
Since 2017Away 3.91 1.28 221.0 15 11 0 7.6 3.3 1.1
2019Home 2.35 1.08 57.1 2 0 0 9.4 2.8 0.9
2019Away 5.16 1.59 52.1 4 4 0 8.1 3.6 0.9
2018Home 4.42 1.30 99.2 2 9 0 8.9 2.9 1.7
2018Away 3.07 1.22 91.0 7 3 0 8.8 3.3 1.0
2017Home 4.35 1.27 70.1 7 2 0 7.0 3.3 0.9
2017Away 4.06 1.15 77.2 4 4 0 5.8 3.1 1.3
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Stat Review
How does Cole Hamels compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 70 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
91.6 mph
Left On Base
Exit Velocity
90.0 mph
Spin Rate
1951 rpm
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
Swinging Strike
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Defensive Stats
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
The wear and tear of seven straight seasons of 200-plus innings caught up to Hamels in 2017. His K/9 dipped from 9.0 to 6.4 and he lost a tick of velocity on his fastball and sinker. Though an early oblique injury deserves some of the blame, the lefty has actually been trending in the wrong direction for a few seasons, nibbling more often around the plate as the years have gone by. The 34-year-old still can force plenty of groundballs, though, and that may keep him afloat in the American League and his dangerous home park. His career-low 70.2 left-on-base percentage should improve toward his career 76.6 rate, but he’ll probably need to find a way to work more aggressively around the plate – perhaps by using his solid, if unspectacular, cutter more often to balance his weakening four-seamer. Prospective owners are better off targeting him for volume over anything else.
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.
The frailty of numbers: one start pushed Hamels' season ERA from 3.32 to 3.65. It may look like cherry-picking because every pitcher has bad starts in the course of a season, but pointing out his worst start ever isn't done to try and make Hamels look better. His skills alone make him look great. The perception of Hamels changes based on his ERA, especially when compared against the 2.46 mark from 2014, but is he really any different? He had matching strikeout (24-percent) and walk rates (7-percent), better swinging-strike (13-percent) and groundball (48-percent) rates, and just a 0.04-point difference in WHIP. A full year in the American League is a little bit of a hit, but his skills will still be elite in Texas. His transition was a little bumpy with a 5.23 ERA through three starts (five home runs), but he looked like himself in the final nine starts: 3.14 ERA, five homers, and he turned in two great starts in the playoffs. Put simply, he's still an ace.
Hamels missed the first few weeks of last season with a biceps injury, but still managed to top 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He also finished with a career-best 2.46 ERA. He features a low-90s fastball with an excellent changeup that generates a lot of swings and misses. Hamels will also mix in a cutter and curve to keep hitters off balance. The Phillies entered a rebuilding phase this offseason and Hamels name has been mentioned in trade rumors. He is the team's top trade chip and could be moved for a package of prospects. A change of scenery won't change the outlook on Hamels for 2015 -- he's one of the top starting pitching options no matter what team he is pitching for.
Hamels earned only eight wins last season, despite finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA over 33 starts. He had some blowups early in the season, but after making a mechanical adjustment at the end of May, he went on to post a 2.96 ERA over the rest of the year. His strikeout and walk rates were in line with his career norms, and for the third straight season, his K:BB ratio was over 4.0. All signs point to Hamels producing numbers that can anchor a fantasy staff again in 2014. With a little more luck, he may get his win total back into double digits as well.
Hamels earned a massive contract extension last season while he was putting together another dominant year on the mound. His fastball velocity has held steady the last three years and his strikeout rate rebounded from 8.08 K/9 in 2011 to 9.03 in 2012, while his command has held steady with about two walks per nine innings. There's really nothing not to like in Hamels' skill set. At 29, he's still in the prime years of his career and looks like one of the safer investments you can make when targeting an ace pitcher for your staff. The Phillies remain a contender, so Hamels should also earn his fair share of wins to go along with his excellent ratios and strikeout numbers.
Hamels firmly established himself as one of the best pitchers in the game last season, improving on his already excellent numbers from 2010. He has one of the best change-ups in the game and an improving cutter and curveball to keep hitters off balance. Hamels saw a bit of a dip in his K/9IP last year, but that may have been a trade off for improved control, as he posted the lowest walk rate of his career. Hamels did have some luck on his side last year, however, and his .265 BABIP is due for a correction this year. He also missed a little time with elbow inflammation last season but pitched well upon his return and never reported any recurrence of discomfort. He underwent surgery for a hernia after the regular season and is expected to be ready for spring training.
Before last season we told you that Hamels' 2009 numbers looked poor on the surface but that the underlying metrics indicated he was in line for a bounce-back season. Hamels lived up to our expectations and rewarded owners that took a chance on him with a career-high 211 strikeouts and a career-low 3.06 ERA. Hamels' success was due in part to the addition of a cut fastball to his arsenal and improvement with his curveball, which gave him two additional pitches to use besides relying his excellent changeup to keep hitters off balance. Hamels also rededicated himself in the offseason and was able to avoid the meltdown innings that plagued him in 2009. Draft him with confidence as Hamels is only 27 years old so the best may be yet to come.
On the surface, Hamels had a pretty poor 2009 season. He began the year with some arm soreness and then managed only 10 wins pitching for one of the best offensive clubs in the majors, while seeing his ERA go from 3.09 in 2008 to 4.32 last season. Those are not the numbers you would expect from a guy who was supposed to take it to the next level to become a fantasy ace. A closer look at Hamels' numbers reveals that 2009 really wasn't all that different from 2008. His strikeout rate, walk rate and home-run rate all remained about the same as what he posted in his 2008 season. The difference? Some bad luck. Hamels' BABIP was .325 last season, compared to just .270 in 2008. We expect that to normalize this season and settle in closer to .300 which will have a positive effect on his ERA. Consider Hamels' disappointing numbers as an opportunity to buy at a discount in 2010.
Hamels was everything and more for the owners who drafted him last season, as he turned into one of the game's premier arms. He finished 14-10 with a 3.09 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 196 strikeouts over the 227.1 innings he logged in his 33 starts, improving upon his 2007 numbers in every category other than wins and losses. Hamels had already cemented himself as a top-tier fantasy starter for 2009 following his 2008 regular season and did nothing but improve his value with a phenomenal postseason, ending up with a 4-0 record, a 1.80 ERA and a sub-1.00 WHIP to go along with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings and the title of World Series MVP. The breakout campaign will undoubtedly make him one of the most coveted starting pitchers on the board in drafts this spring.
Hamels has one of the game's best changeups and will be the Phillies' ace for a long time if he can remain healthy. That's the only real concern with Hamels, as he has had back and shoulder problems during his brief career. Last season, he missed more than a month with a sore elbow, but he still managed to have a breakout season en route to 15-win campaign. The numbers are a hint of the upside, just be aware of the injury potential and draft a safer option or two for your rotation if the price isn't right for Hamels on draft day.
Hamels remarkably ascended from low-A at the start of the year to throwing 132 quality innings for the Phillies by the end. A hot prospect who had been dogged by injuries, he came to Philly in May and threw a few good games before missing time with shoulder soreness. He returned in June but was inconsistent until the second half, when he went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 14 starts. He fanned 10 Marlins on September 22nd, all on his outstanding changeup. As the saying goes, all he needs to do is stay healthy.
Hamels has been injury prone since being drafted in 2002, missing time with shoulder (2003), triceps (2004), hand and back (2005) problems. His back was still bothering him over the winter and the word is it might be a concern for the rest of his career. He remains a top prospect in the Phillies chain, however, because of his talent and their lack of quality arms. When healthy he deals a low-90s fastball, an outstanding changeup and a decent curve. The Phillies are still very high on Hamels, but his inexperience and lack of durability make him a risky bet.
Aside from four good starts in Single-A, this excellent lefty prospect missed most of 2004 with a sore elbow and triceps. Hamels didn't need surgery and the Phillies attributed that to a cautious approach with what they described as a minor injury. But we won't know for sure until he pitches again. When healthy, Hamels mixes an explosive fastball with a good curveball and an outstanding changeup. He will start 2005 back in high Single-A and hopes to hit the majors some time in 2006.
Hamels was named the best pitching prospect in the Phillies' organization and is one of the best in the minors. He moved up from low Single-A Lakewood to high Single-A Clearwater. For 2003 he finished with a sparkling 0.84 ERA along with a 115:25 K:BB ratio at Lakewood in 74.2 innings, and followed up at Clearwater with a 2.73 ERA and a 32:14 K:BB ratio. He might start at Double-A Reading in 2004, along with Gavin Floyd.
Hamels might have been the best pitcher in the 2002 draft but he fell to 17th overall because of concerns over a broken pitching arm in his high school sophomore year. The break, although not pitching related, was enough of a concern that many clubs passed. The 19-year-old San Diego native can get his fastball into the mid-90’s, but tends to work in the lower figures. This could change as he gets stronger, and adds weight to his 185 pound frame. He's shown excellent control of a curveball, and his change up is highly developed considering his age and lack of experience. 2003 should find him in Low-A Lakewood at some point, and it’s possible he’ll move quickly in 2004.
More Fantasy News
Tosses five scoreless vs. Brewers
PChicago Cubs
August 3, 2019
Hamels threw five scoreless innings Saturday, allowing just four hits and no walks while striking out six in a no-decision against the Brewers.
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Activated ahead of Saturday's start
PChicago Cubs
August 3, 2019
Hamels (oblique) was activated from the injured list ahead of Saturday's start against the Brewers, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports.
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Will start Saturday
PChicago Cubs
August 1, 2019
Hamels (oblique) will be activated off the 10-day injured list and start Saturday against the Brewers, Jordan Bastian of reports.
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Could rejoin rotation Saturday
PChicago Cubs
August 1, 2019
Hamels (oblique) could return from the injured list to start Saturday against the Brewers, Jordan Bastian of reports.
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Next rehab start coming Sunday
PChicago Cubs
July 26, 2019
Hamels (oblique) will make his next rehab start at Triple-A Iowa on Sunday, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.
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