Cole Hamels, the 1st round pick of the Phillies in 2002, has lived the beautiful life. He's been a premiere prospect, had one of the most highly anticipated debuts in recent memory, an All-Star in his first full season, a World Series MVP award, has a beautiful Playboy model wife, and is making a nice chunk of change at $6.65M (in 2nd year of 3 yr $20.5M arbitration buyout). The 26 year old lefty has talent, with a great fastball/change-up combo, but he's become too predictable recently and needs to mix his pitches up. Not only that, his mound presence is questionable, as he openly sulks about missed plays and calls. This is not an equation for adoration and success in Philly. He admittedly did not prepare himself properly the offseason following the World Series championship, but has said that was a different story this past winter. He's rededicated, focused, and ready to throw 4 different pitches at the competition. The Phillies need him to be Ace 1B behind Halladay, to mature on the mound and pitch up to his talent level, to get that cocky swagger back that makes him believe he'll win 20 games.
"Any time you're the underdog it's a little bit easier to focus and really take care of your own business instead of being worried about what other people expect out of you. You live and learn. You sometimes need to have games go the way you don't like because it lets you know that this game is hard. It's not going to be easy. Even though you might have games where everything goes well, you'll have games when times are tough. You really have to learn a little more about yourself." ~Cole Hamels
2007-2008: 29-15, 410.2 ip, 373 k, 3.22 ERA, 1.10 WHIP.
2009: 10-11, 193.2 ip, 168 k, 4.32 ERA, 1.29 WHIP.
"The biggest problem with Cole last year, in my opinion, is he pitched with a lot of anger, with himself mostly. He's such a perfectionist that you don't pitch with anger and he really wasn't nearly as focused as he was the two previous years. He expects a lot out of himself, not unlike most guys in that clubhouse, but your expectations of what you want and the way you approach it are very, very important and his approach wasn't very good last year." ~Rich Dubee
Make us believe Cole, make us believe.