Whatever you think of Cole Hamels, his 100th career win as a Philadelphia Phillies’ pitcher cements his legacy as one of the most valuable first-round draft choices in club history.
In the 2012 June MLB draft, Hamels was the ninth pitcher taken. The others were Bryan Bullington, Chris Gruler, Adam Loewer, Clint Everts, Zack Greinke, Jeff Francis, Joe Saunders and Scott Kazmir. Except for maybe Greinke, Hamels has had a better MLB career.
Hamels was only 24 years old when he was the MVP of the World Series in 2008 and, if you can criticize him for anything, it’s just that he’s averaged in the low double-digits in wins when he has high double-digit talent. That criticism can be mollified by the notion that last year was his worst. He finished 8-14 but his 3.60 ERA was good enough to be better than four winning NL pitchers last year, so he could claim non-support by his hitters for that season.
He’s 30 now and should be a lot wiser, but for all of the 2-1 games he loses, he throws in an occasional 7-5 loss clunker which is not the kind of thing fans look for in a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. So he has a lot of work to do before he can be considered one of the team’s all-time greats.
By reaching 100 wins, though, Hamels became the seventh Phillies pitcher in history to get to triple digit wins. The next step for the lefty is to raise that win average per season from 12 to closer to 20 and, if he does that, he has a chance to approach Phillies’ all-time great Hall of Fame pitchers like Steve Carlton and Robin Roberts.
Until that happens, though, Hamels will be known as a great value pick and not much more.