Results tagged ‘ Jason Hammel ’

The Sustainability of the Orioles Big Three: Arrieta, Hunter, and Hammel

 

BY ROB SHAW

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

The biggest surprise in baseball could very well be the Baltimore Orioles and what is most shocking is that the success is not a result of the offense as much as it is the pitching.  Let’s take a look at the three over-performing hurlers to determine whether or not the team’s success is sustainable.

Jake Arrieta is seemingly an innings eater who is in the prime of his career.  He does not have much control, he is not a strikeout artist, and he surrenders too many home runs.  His season got off to a great start with a 7-inning two-hit gem against a weak Minnesota offense.  Since then, he has been quite ordinary.  That’s what fantasy managers should expect going forward, as Arrieta epitomizes the average pitcher. 

Tommy Hunter is a far more interesting pitcher.  The Orioles hurler had some success in 2010 with the Rangers, picking up a 13-4 record with a 3.73 ERA.  Hunter is not a strikeout artist, nor does he try to be one.  The big right-hander makes a living keeping his defense busy.  So far, Hunter has been a bit uneven with two gems that resulted in a combined one earned run.  In the other two starts he surrendered a combined six home runs.  Fantasy managers will and should pass on his services since he does not rack up the K’s, but he’s been a winner so far in his career and should be a solid middle of the rotation hurler for the O’s. 

Jason Hammel is looking like a star in Baltimore.  Now that he escaped Colorado, the air is a little bit thicker and the ball is finding gloves in the field.  Additionally, the K’s are coming twice as frequently as last season.  Part of the reason for the sudden success is the addition of a new pitch to the arsenal.  Hammel now throws a sinker and he is getting a lot of ground balls with the new pitch.  The question is whether this type of success is sustainable or if a new scouting report will allow the hitters to make adjustments.  Considering he is already 29 years old and has been in the leagues for several years, it is unlikely a radical change will unfold this late in his career.

The Orioles do have some stars in the lineup as Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters should all be in their prime.  The starting rotation is another matter and the problem here is that the team is loaded with overachieving middle of the rotation hurlers.  It is very unlikely that they will be able to sustain this success. 

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MLB Season in Review: Colorado Rockies Pitchers

By Eriq Gardner //

Biggest Surprise: Jhoulys Chacin
Coming up through the Rockies’ farm system, Chacin always surpassed expectations. Although he consistently posted an elite ERA in the minors, and was named as one of the organization’s top prospects by Baseball America and other scouting services, many figured he’d be a #3 SP at best. After all, even in single-A, Chacin never struck out a batter per inning, usually a mark that often foreshadows success. In 2010, called up to the majors by the team as an injury replacement, Chacin blew away expectations once again. Not only did he post a remarkable 3.28 ERA in his rookie season, he also fanned 138 batters in 137 innings. A pitcher with that kind of K rate who also induces as many groundballs as Chacin does has a very bright future.
Biggest Bust: Huston Street
Street has had a rocky time of late. From 2005-2007, he looked to be one of the game’s elite closers. Then, in 2008, he struggled, lost his closer’s job, and was shipped from Oakland to Colorado in the off-season. In 2009, Street bounced back with 35 saves, a WHIP under 1, and a healthy strikeout rate. Going into this season, there wasn’t much reason to believe he wouldn’t be great again. Then, injuries took their toll, and Street struggled to find his rhythm. He ended the season on a high note with a strong September, but will hardly be forgiven for a lackluster 2010 campaign overall.
2011 Keeper Alert: Ubaldo Jimenez
Jimenez was a very good pitcher before the 2010 season. This year, he became elite. Overall, he posted 19 wins, a 2.88 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, and 214 strikeouts. Jimenez gave up only 10 HR all season, a remarkable feat for a pitcher who plays half his games at Coors Field.   Some might point to a slightly low BABIP and HR/FB rates as evidence he might regress. However, what’s particularly encouraging about Jimenez is his durability. He’s a freak of nature with an easy delivery that yields high-90s heat even into the late innings of a game. Invest.
2011 Regression Alert: Jason Hammel
Hammel was the sleeper’s sleeper heading into the 2010 season. Throughout his career, his peripheral numbers keep getting stronger and stronger, and Hammel seemed on the verge of taking a next step. Instead, he battled injuries and ended the season with a disappointing 4.81 ERA. But look closer: His xFIP (a stat that runs along a similar scale to ERA but strips out defense, park effects and other factors a pitcher can’t control) is exactly the same as it was in 2009, at 3.81. Hammel is getting better at striking out batters and keeps the ball on the ground, similar to the way Chacin and Jimenez do. He’s still a breakout waiting to happen. 
For more on Rockies pitchers, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools.
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