Cole Hamels has been considered one of the best players on the Philadelphia Phillies since he helped lead them to a world series championship in 2008, where he won MVP of the NLCS and world series that year. Hamels had been the clear ace of the team until they acquired Cliff Lee in 2009 and Roy Halladay in 2010. Since then, any of the trio could have been considered and “ace.” Halladay has technically been the number one pitcher as he has started on opening day for the past three seasons, but this year the honor is falling to Hamels.
Cole is coming off one of his best seasons in the majors and received a big contract extension from the Phillies during the season. This will be the first time in Hamels’ career that he will start on opening day. Halladay had this to say about Hamels starting the season for the Phillies “He deserves that and I think that’s the way it should be. It’s his time. It should have been his spot a long time ago. It’s time for him to establish himself as the head of the staff.” Halladay shows that Hamels is respected by his team and one of the best pitchers in the game today.
At 29, Hamels may now just be entering the prime of his career. Last season, Hamels finished with a 17-6 record, and 3.05 ERA. For the Phillies, the pitcher who is listed first on the depth chart does not make a big difference, as either of the three of Hamels, Halladay and Lee could be considered aces, but for Hamels this is a big honor. Being listed number one over both Lee and Halladay should give Hamels even more confidence and excitement than he had during his great year last season.
The starting pitching needs to return to dominant form for the Phillies this season if they hope to return to the playoffs, and that now begins with Hamels. Continuing his excellent play, with Lee and Halladay healthy and playing like themselves again, their rotation can again return to one of the best in baseball.