After finishing in the top-five of NL Cy Young voting last season, Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels is ready to once again challenge for the award given to the league’s best pitcher. In fact, Bovada has him ranked with 10/1 odds, which is tied with Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez and bested only by Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasburg (11/2) and Clayton Kershaw (6/1) of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It is no surprise that Hamels is getting this level of recognition. Since he has been in the league, the now 29-year old lefty has gradually been moving up the ranks of baseball’s best pitchers.
While he has pitched well throughout his career, Hamels’ breakout moment came in the 2008 postseason. After struggling in his first playoff appearance in 2007, Hamels came back with a vengeance, mowing down opponent after opponent on the way to the NLCS and World Series MVP.
Following the World Series high, Hamels regressed a bit in 2009 and 2010, winning 22 games while also losing 22 in those two years. His ERA reached a career-high of 4.32 in 2009 as well.
Hamels improved in 2011,winning 14 games, but his best career season to date came last year.
In a rotation where both Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee faltered, Hamels was the lone bright spot and a consistent top performer. He won a career-high 17 games and lost just six. His 3.05 ERA was the second-best mark of his career as his 216 strikeouts, good enough for third-highest in the NL, were also a career-high.
In 2012, everything came together for Hamels. He pitched incredibly well, but was able to get the wins because he finally received significant run support. In 2013, Hamels could have continued success as the Phillies have picked up a few key pieces and after strong springs, will be expecting big seasons out of Domonic Brown, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
If all falls Hamels’ way, he could and should win 20 games as this team’s ace. Some even think Hamels will throw his first ever no-hitter in 2013 as well.
He will have tough competition for the Cy Young, but could actually benefit from the fact that both Strasburg and Gonzalez are on the same team.
If not in 2013, Hamels will win a Cy Young one day. He is too good of a pitcher to be kept out of this exclusive club for long.