Jason Hammel’s Sudden Relevance
At this time three years ago, pitcher Jason Hammel was sitting at a less-than-stellar 5.40 ERA. He was with his second of three organizations, the Colorado Rockies, and stardom seemed to be the last thing on his mind. Sure, he did have decent years with the Rockies, and even with the team that drafted him, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. But the 6’6”, 225 lb. right-hander hadn’t lived up to the expectations that the Devil Rays had for him when they took him in the 10th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft out of Treasure Valley Community College, in Ontario, Oregon.
After his first three seasons in the majors, 2006-2008, the big righty had a career ERA of 6.1, and a 7-15 record as a starter. These numbers are not necessarily going to get you into Cooperstown, let alone next year’s rotation. And on April 15, 2009, The Rays shipped him to the Colorado Rockies for then-prospect Aneury Rodriquez. His first organization had given up on him.
In the years 2009-2011 (his tenure with the Rockies), his ERA slimmed down to a more respectable 4.63. His record with the Rockies was a much better 27-30. His 140 strikeouts in Tampa weren’t an attractive stat, but his power arm showed promise with the Rockies, posting 133, 141, and 94 k’s in his three years in Denver. He was about to break out, it seemed, in a big way.
On February 6, 2012, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, along with pitcher Matt Lindstrom, for pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and put in the three-hole to start the year. This was his big opportunity and he took it by the horns on April 8th, as the Twins came to Camden Yards. Hammel took a no hitter into the 8th inning, ending with five punchouts, and only two hits given up. Since then, he’s been the man on a surprising and competitive Baltimore squad ready to get back to relevance itself. Hammel sports a 4-1 record, with a 2.09 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 38.2 innings pitched at this point. Is it luck? Or is it finally his time to break out at 29 years of age? Make the case for yourself. I’m drinking the Hammel juice. Are you?
May 6, 2012