Buy Low: Hanson, Hamels, Hammel

At this point in the season, starting pitchers are about one-third of the way through their season. This gives us a good indication and sample size of their production to this point, but it also gives us ample time to buy low and reap the rewards of the other two-thirds of their innings this season. Today we take a look at a trifecta of “H’s” that could help your team head up the standings.

Tommy Hanson – Hanson’s 3.71 ERA is not exactly bad, but it is a bit high considering preseason expectations. However, looking at his raw numbers, his performance to this point is very similar, if not better, than what he showed last season. Hanson is striking out hitters at an impressive rate (almost 9 K/9) and his walk rate is slightly better than league average. The biggest sign that points to an improvement going froward is a BABIP against of .319, which is quite high considering that hitters have only hit line drives off of Hanson at a 16.3 percent clip. When that BABIP lowers a bit, so too will his ERA and WHIP.

Cole Hamels – Hamels has been hurt by home runs and allowing a few more walks than is normal for his standards. The walks have been coming down over his last few starts and his track record shows us that this should continue. His HR/FB rate against is abnormally high, currently standing at 17.6 percent, which is the highest in the league for stating pitchers and just behind Dan Haren. On a positive note, the strikeouts are up from previous seasons and he is missing plenty of bats (about a 25 percent whiff rate). As long as Hamels continues to lower his walk rate and hold a good strikeout rate, his luck with the long ball should change soon and his ERA should fall to ace levels.
Jason Hammel – A pitcher I personally liked a lot this preseason, Hammel got off to a rough start due to an injury, but has come back and pitched extremely well in his last three starts. I looked at his numbers about a week ago. All signs indicate that he could be a solid fourth fantasy starter from here on out.