The Process Versus Jason Hammel | The Process Report

The Process Versus Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel, at one point a member of the Rays, will make his first career opening day start against Tampa Bay on Tuesday afternoon.

Baltimore acquired Hammel, along with Matt Lindstrom, prior to the start of the 2012 season for Jeremy Guthrie. The reason for the team seemingly centered around Hammel’s added team control. Yet the O’s seemed to recognize some hidden upside remaining in the large right-hander. Their pitching brain trust, consisting of Rick Adair and Rick Peterson, tinkered with Hammel’s arsenal by having him take back up a two-seam fastball. Hammel went on to post a career-best ERA, though it came in the fewest innings he had thrown since 2008—his final season with the Rays.

When Hammel takes the mound on Tuesday expect to see a lot of fastballs. He likes using his four-seamer to start at-bats before turning to his two-seamer. However, it’s not as simple as four-seamer early, two-seamer late. Hammel will use both pitches to end at-bats: Either by challenging batters up in the zone with his four-seamer, or by letting the two-seamer run over or off the plate. One of the interesting things about Hammel is that he likes pitching away from batters regardless of the hand. Typically a pitcher with a good two-seamer will run it on the batter’s hands, but Hammel doesn’t seem too interested in doing it. Likewise, Hammel may have above-average groundball rates but he isn’t married to the lower portion of the zone.

hammelstats

When Hammel expands his arsenal expect to see plenty of high-70s curves and mid-80s sliders. To state the obvious: Both pitches are more effective when Hammel is able to command his fastballs. Hammel is tough in two-strike counts. Not because he has a dominant pitch, but because he’s got a variety of offerings to throw at batters. It helps that Hammel’s two-seamer is good enough to elicit swings off the plate from left-handed hitters.

James Loney figures to match up well with Hammel. Loney’s ability to cover the plate and eagerness to go the other way should foil Hammel’s attempts to pitch away with his two-seamer. That is if Loney is able to resist from swinging at poor pitches out of the zone, which is easier said than done.

Stats courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info



One Comment

  1. […] big decision was using James Loney in place of Sean Rodriguez later in the game. I thought Loney matched up well with Jason Hammel because of his ability to cover the plate and go the other way with pitches outside. Tonight he […]

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