Fantasy Baseball: Are You Hot on Hammel?

Ryan LesterSenior Writer IApril 28, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 25:  Jason Hammel #39 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches during a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 25, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

No, I didn’t misspell Cole Hamels' name. Although, if you only looked at their numbers, it would be hard to tell them apart.

Hamels is 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings. Baltimore’s Jason Hammel is 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and 25 Ks in 26 innings.

Not bad for a 29-year-old journeyman with a career ERA of 4.88 and a WHIP of 1.45.

He got off on the right foot holding the Minnesota Twins to one run on two hits over eight innings in his season debut. The Twins struggled out of the gate, but he has since quieted the Toronto Blue Jays bats twice. He also held the Chicago White Sox to two runs over six innings.

Hammel has yet to allow more than two runs or six hits in a game this year. He has walked eight batters, but his .194 BAA and 85.4 percent strand rate has kept the big innings away.

Hammel is owned in less than a third of fantasy leagues. He has extra value in Yahoo! leagues because you can plug him in the RP slot. If you punted saves or injuries depleted your bullpen, you can stock up on wins and strikeouts by using starters with RP eligibility in those slots.

He is slated to make two starts next week, but I would hold out on adding him. He will first take on the New York Yankees in the Bronx and follow that up with a trip to Fenway. If he can escape from those two starts unscathed, the bandwagon will fill up quick.

If you go by the numbers, he is in for a regression. His K/9 of 8.65 is significantly up from his 6.33 career mark. Same with the strand rate (career 68.7 percent) and ground ball rate (61.8 vs. 45.5 percent).

His HR/FB rate is significantly down (6.3 vs. 10.5 percent), and some of that could be escaping Coors Field, but his BABIP is also down big (.254 vs. .313).

I would not add Hammel right now, but I would definitely monitor him.

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