When the Texas Rangers traded for Cole Hamels in late July, their record was 50-51. The team was hanging tough in a weak A.L. West and the division was there for the taking.
Hamels gave the team a big shot in the arm thanks to his big arm, which resulted in A.L. West pennant and a playoff birth. The Rangers went 38-23 after the Hamels trade in 2015.
How valuable is this guy? The Rangers overall are 84-49 since Hamels joined the team, a winning percentage of 63.2%. Few teams are anywhere close to that, other than the Chicago Cubs.
Hamels is a pro's pro. You know exactly what you're going to get with him every start. He eats up a lot of innings and keeps the Rangers in every game he starts. The bullpen almost gets the night off when it's Hamels turn to pitch.
He went 7-1 with the Rangers in 2015.
He's 7-1 with the Rangers in 2016, and his earned run average is nearly down an entire run.
Hamels is dialed in right now, and manager Jeff Banister has a good reason why.
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"It's obviously the fastball command and the cutter command, those two things. When he's throwing the fastball in the strike zone, everything else plays off of that. The change-up is dynamic, the breaking ball is swing and miss but it's fastball command. It starts with that because he can't throw the change-up with the effectiveness that he does without getting the fastball in the strike zone."