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First in a series: Cole Hamels exit interview conducted by the Phillies following the 2012 season is revealed to the public in an explosive exclusive, with added analysis from The Good Phight staff.
Editor's Note: The Good Phight has obtained leaked copies of the purported "Exit Interviews" conducted with all Phillies players in the season's waning days. We have transcribed the Q&As and will be posting them, along with our own analysis, in the coming weeks. First up, one of the few unquestioned bright spots of 2012: Cole Hamels. - PL
Cole Hamels links: Fangraphs.com and Baseball-Reference.com. Here are the team pages for the 2012 Phillies at Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.com. My 2012 preview for Hamels and his contract is here.
What follows is information culled from Hamels' exit interview from this season which was conducted by the management of the Phillies prior to dismissing the team for the season. All instances of "y'know" have been culled from this for clarity and brevity.
1. How did you let your teammates down this season?
I didn't. They let me down, even after I accepted a substantially below-market contract to end all the uncertainty about my continued tenure with the team. I was a team leader. I plunk that punk Harper, and nobody touched me. I am nationwide, baby. But still, what did it get me? I feel used. I can't believe I was so stupid. I'm going to go fist-pump Amaro in the nuts now.
2. How did you let your manager and GM down this season?
Are you kidding me? I hit better than Michael Martinez. I had more wins than the Astros. My numbers are nearly freaking identical to R.A. "I throw a stupid pitch but I'm quirky so people are going to give me a Cy Young" Dickey. Jerk deserves a Chris Young, not a Cy Young. Can you tell I am angry about even being asked this crap? CLOWN QUESTION, BRO, CLOWN QUESTION!
3. What do you have to say to all the fans you let down this season?
Not it, OK? NOT IT! I mean, if you wanted me to tank it so you could draft the next Bryce Harper, sure, but what was I supposed to do? Win 25 games and be the set-up man, too? I kicked ASS, man, even with this warmed over turd of a lineup backing me. Do you know how many times Ty Wigginton was in the field behind me? And Mike Fontenot? How am I supposed to win with that crap?
4. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst, how do you rate on the "it's my fault we're in this freaking mess and missed the playoffs scale"
I give it a "1." Without me, this trainwreck is picking first in the draft. I'm a team leader.
5. Other than yourself, which player caused this fiasco of a season the most?
Ty Qualltinez. Can I answer it that way? No? What are you going to do? Fire me? I'll be here long after you're gone. I *am* the Phillies, now.
[Less rage-filled segue that I can't figure out.]
Cole Hamels had a great year. He was among the best pitchers in the National League in 2012, no matter what statistical measure you use. Maybe not saves or holds, but in pretty much every other category he was exactly the player he was expected to be this year for the Phillies: a top-of-the-rotation starter who gave his team a great chance to win every time they ran him out there.
Hamels was the 7th best pitcher in the National League in 2012. While he was not as good as Cliff Lee, there were only 5 teams in the NL that had a pitcher better than Hamels. In xFIP, Hamels was 5th in the NL among pitchers with at least 100 innings, behind Lee, Zack Greinke, Kris Medlen, and Stephen Strasburg. If players who pitched full seasons in the NL were the only options, Lee and Hamels were 1 and 2 in the league in 2012. Except that god loves Cole Hamels and hates Cliff Lee.
If only games were won and lost on xFIP.
Here is the money shot from my preview for Hamels:
I'm guessing we see something like another 4.5ish WAR season with an xFIP of 3.30, 200 IP, 50 walks, 200 K's, and a 15 - 11 record.
The actual numbers were: 4.5 fWAR (4.2 rWAR), xFIP of 3.30, 215.1 IP, 52 walks, 216 K's, and a 17 - 6 record. I had been concerned that Hamels' BABIP would rebound from what I viewed as an unreasonably low .255 in 2011. In 2012, his BABIP was .290. His strand rate fell slightly, but was not remarkably different.
I could beat my chest about projecting Hamels' season with a high degree of accuracy, but that's being disingenuous. He was really easy to project, given his consistent play. Only an injury seemed like something that could have derailed this season for him. That is the essence of Cole Hamels - a really, really good and consistent pitcher.
It's probably not unreasonable to peg him for 2013 right now using the same numbers used for the 2012 prediction. The only caveat is the injury issue, which is not unique to Hamels.
As a final thought, while we aren't doing "Blog Lord Exit Interviews for 2012," maybe we should. I think the issue is being avoided by some who don't want their culpability to be exposed to public scrutiny.
I'd like to point out that the players *I* previewed (Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, and Brian Schneider) were not responsible for the train wreck that was 2012. I was not the Angel of Death for 2012. I didn't want to call anybody out during the season, but now that it's over, I wanted to make that point. If you are looking for scapegoats, turn your gaze elsewhere, pal.