Jason Hammel Is a Legitimate Ace for the Baltimore Orioles

By Bryan Lutz

A year ago, Jason Hammel was having his worst year to date with the Colorado Rockies. His K:BB ratio was at a career low 1.38, and he was eventually taken out of the starting rotation, which goes to show how bad Hammel was considering the Colorado Rockies aren’t exactly deep in the pitching department. Given his tough 2011, the Rockies gave up on Jason Hammel, trading him to the Baltimore Orioles for Jeremy Guthrie. At the time, the trade was overlooked because Guthrie and Hammel were pretty much the same pitcher. They were psuedo front-end starters for bad teams that never really panned out. But two months into the season, this trade has been a clear win for the Baltimore Orioles, with Jason Hammel becoming a true ace – not only for the Orioles – but the entire league.

Jason Hammel has totally redefined himself, becoming a legitmate force every fifth day he steps on that bump. Jason Hammel is doing everything a good pitcher should do in 2012: he is striking people out, getting ground balls, and not allowing home runs. Those are the three things that he wasn’t able to do with the Rockies in 2011, giving the Rockies plenty of reasons to trade him.

Thus far, Jason Hammel’s 3.12 K:BB is his best since 2009, which was probably his best season in his career. It’s funny how allowing less walks and striking out more batters helps a pitcher become consistent. But the big key to Jason Hammel’s resurgence in 2012 is the amount of groundballs he is getting. Jason Hammel’s career groundball percentage is 45.8. This year, however, Jason Hammel has a staggering 57% groundball percentage, good for 8th in the entire league.

Lastly, Jason Hammel has cut his home run percentage in half with a .49 percentage this season. Unlike some pitchers who have a career year out of no where, Jason Hammel’s peipherals backup his surprising 2012 season. If he can maintain these rates, there will be little doubt that he can maintain his successful 2012 season. And if the Baltimore Orioles have any shot on making the playoffs this season, Jason Hammel is the type of horse that can lead the way.

Bryan is a featured writer for Rant Sports. Although he concentrates mostly on the game of baseball, you can find him covering things all over the Rant Sports Network.

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