The Diamond Exchange: Royals Sign Hammel

Yesterday the Kansas City Royals brought in Jason Hammel in on a two-year deal.  A move, sadly, was necessary to do to the untimely death of Yordano Ventura.

Hammel, 34, at least can be relied upon to pick up some of the innings as he comes off a second consecutive thirty-start season, though he has never thrown more than 177.2 innings and a season and seems to end up in the 170-ranging every full season of his career. The righty was also left off the Cubs’ World Series roster due to elbow tightness and must prove he is once again healthy. His control numbers should, therefore, be a primary focus to monitor that issue.

Hammel has a solid history as a strike-thrower (Career 2.8 BB/9 and 2.9 in 2016), but has been noted to allow home runs at high rates on a regular basis and has consistently, thanks in part to suppressed batting averages on a ball in play, has kept his ERA under a 4.00 with some frequency despite allowing home runs on fly-ball rates ranging in the 11 to 13% area.

Going forward there really is not much reason to expect any substantial changes from his performance, health-permitting, given a stable skill set and no changes to the velocity of his offerings. While his suppressed BABIP might regress, he is moving to one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in the majors with respect to home runs and should benefit from that making him still a candidate to get into the double digits in Wins and possibly still maintain a below-4.00 ERA though his xFIP and FIP last suggested that it should be in the mid-4’s. If you spend more than $5 on auction day in AL-only leagues, however, you will certainly eat into or could completely erase your potential profit margin.

Personal Note: I have been nominated as one of three finalists for Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year, Print for 2016! You can listen in and see if I won this evening by tuning into tonight at 9 PM eastern!

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