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.
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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.
"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."