- Full name Colbert Michael Hamels
- Born 12/27/1983 in San Diego, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Rancho Bernardo
- Debut 05/12/2006
Drafted in the 1st round (17th overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2002 (signed for $2,000,000).
View Draft ReportHamels qualifies as one of the feel-good stories of the spring. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound lefthander broke the humerus in his left arm as a sophomore and missed all of last season. It's not the same injury that ended the careers of major leaguer lefthanders Tom Browning, Dave Dravecky and Tony Saunders; Hamels first injured the arm in an off-field accident before aggravating it while he was pitching. He has come back stronger than ever this year, and his performance has rivaled any high school pitcher in the country. He went 6-0, 0.48 with 77 strikeouts in his first 43 innings. He has excellent command of three pitches: an 89-92 mph fastball that has topped out at 94, an outstanding overhand curve and a major league-caliber changeup. He also has a confident mound presence, an easy, mechanically sound delivery and a strong pickoff move. Scouts project even more improvement, and he has shown no fear of a recurrence of his injury. Still, several clubs are wary of investing in a first-round pick with Hamels' medical history. The hometown Padres have a strong interest, as do teams with extra picks. San Diego's team doctor helped treat Hamels and says his arm is stronger than before the accident. The circumstances of the injury remain a bit of a mystery, and Hamels will be one of the most scrutinized picks in the draft in recent years. His selection will be based as much on medical judgments as on ability.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Hamels broke the humerus in his left arm as a high school sophomore, but despite a full recovery and rehabilitation work with noted pitching guru Tom House, his medical history scared off some clubs in the 2002 draft. He dropped to the Phillies with the 17th overall pick and signed for $2 million, and he hasn't shown any effects from that injury since. However, an assortment of other maladies has limited him to just 28 appearances over three seasons. After holding out in 2002, he showed up out of shape to instructional league and thus wasn't ready for a full-season assignment in 2003, which he began in extended spring training. He pulled a muscle behind his right shoulder at the end of 2003, knocking him off the U.S. Olympic qualifying team. He missed most of 2004 after pulling a right triceps muscle while throwing too hard too early during a stint in major league spring training, during which he struck out Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. The injury worsened when he failed to tell the organization about it in an effort to pitch through the pain. Hamels broke his left hand in a bar fight in January 2005 in Clearwater, Fla. He returned in June and made just six appearances before a stress fracture in his back ended his season and a chance at making up lost time in the Arizona Fall League. When healthy, Hamels has dominated, going 11-3, 1.54 with 208 strikeouts in 152 innings. Hamels is a lefthander with three above-average pitches and the command, feel and mound presence of a veteran. His changeup, which sinks and fades away from righthanders, is a plus-plus pitch that may be the best in the minors. His fastball hovers around 90 mph and tops out at 93-94 with good life, and he has shown a knack for being able to reach back for extra velocity when needed. His curveball has shown more consistency with its break and location. Hamels maintains an even keel on the mound, never letting his emotions tell the tale of his outing. He's also a very good athlete with clean mechanics and the ability to field his position and hold runners well. Durability is a major concern with Hamels. The good news is that all his injuries have been unrelated and that only his high school break involved his arm. The bad news is that he has lost so much development time. Had he stayed healthy, he'd be a strong candidate for the major league rotation rather than having pitched just 19 innings above high Class A. Hamels was working at Double-A Reading when his back forced him out, and he should start 2006 there. His 2004 spring-training success remains in the minds of the Phillies' decision makers, however, keeping him on a very fast track. A quick jump to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and eventually Philadelphia are both possible. Despite the setbacks, the Phillies still envision Hamels as a top-of-the-rotation starter.
The organization's top prospect after posting a 1.34 ERA in his 2003 pro debut, Hamels looked just as good in big league camp last spring. But he tried to throw too hard too early, pulling his left triceps muscle. He never felt right and made just four appearances all year. Hamels will throw his plus-plus changeup in any count, sinking and fading it away from righthanders. He pitches at 88-91 mph and can reach 93-94. His poise and feel for pitching are advanced. Hamels' curveball shows the makings of a third plus pitch, but he needs to locate it more consistently. Though the Phillies have no long-term concerns about his health, he has a checkered medical history. He broke the humerus bone in his left arm in high school, scaring some teams off in the 2002 draft. He also pulled a muscle behind his right shoulder in 2003, costing him a spot on the U.S. Olympic qualifying team. He got back on the mound in instructional league, where his arm and stuff were fine, but then broke his left hand in Clearwater, Fla., in January, in what the Phillies described only as an altercation. He could miss as much as three months, and when he returns he'll go to Double-A.
Hamels had nothing but question marks entering his pro career and has provided only exclamation points since signing. He ranked as one of the top pitchers in the 2002 draft, but a broken humerus in his left arm caused him to miss his junior season at Rancho Bernardo High and slip to the 17th overall pick. He originally injured his arm in an off-field accident and aggravated it by pitching. He had surgery performed by the Padres team doctor in his native San Diego and rehabbed with pitching guru Tom House before returning and impressing as a high school senior. Protracted contract negotiations kept Hamels away from baseball before he agreed to a $2 million bonus, and then he showed up out of shape from the long layoff. Because he got little done in instructional league, the Phillies sent him to extended spring training in 2003. Once they turned him loose, he dominated the low Class A South Atlantic and high Class A Florida State leagues. His combined 1.34 ERA would have led the minors had Hamels accumulated 11 more innings to qualify. He allowed just 15 earned runs and not a single home run all season. His command, stuff and feel for pitching allowed him to edge Gavin Floyd for the top spot, and being lefthanded also aided Hamels' cause. Hamels should have three above-average pitches when he reaches the majors. He already shows plus command of a fastball that sits between 89-92 mph with plenty of movement. He can reach back for more when he needs it, topping out at 94. His best pitch might be his plus-plus changeup, which was neck-and-neck with Ryan Madson's as the best in the organization and possibly the minors. Hamels displays exceptional control of his changeup at such a young age, and it drops and fades away from hitters. Hamels shows a businesslike demeanor, with no great highs or lows. He's a great athlete, allowing him to repeat his delivery, hold runners and field his position well. Hamels' curveball should become a third plus pitch, and its movement is already there. He just needs to develop more consistency with the curve. His overall command and control are advanced for his age--and ahead of where Floyd and Brett Myers were at similar stages in their development--but he can continue to improve it as he progresses. Hamels hasn't experienced any repercussions from his high school arm injury. A pulled muscle in his right shoulder blade caused the Phillies to remove him from the trials for Team USA's Olympic qualifying squad. The minor injury isn't a long-term concern, and he should begin 2004 on schedule by returning to high Class A Clearwater. He'll be challenged in Double-A Reading as soon as he proves he's ready.
Some clubs considered Hamels the best pitcher in the 2002 draft, but his medical history allowed the Phillies to get him with the 17th overall pick. He broke the humerus in his left arm as a high school sophomore, but it's not the same injury that ended the careers of major league lefthanders Tom Browning, Dave Dravecky and Tony Saunders. Hamels first injured the arm in an off-field accident before aggravating it while he was pitching. He had surgery performed by the Padres' team doctor and rehabbed with pitching guru Tom House, sitting out his junior year but pitching well as a senior. Hamels' fastball reaches 93-94 mph with good lefthanded life, though he often pitches closer to 90. He shows exceptional control of his curveball and already has a solid changeup. Hamels has an easy delivery and an advanced feel for pitching. The Phillies aren't worried about his arm, yet Hamels will have to establish his durability. In any case, he must get stronger. Hamels might have a better feel for pitching than Gavin Floyd and Brett Myers did at the same stage of their careers. He could make his pro debut in low Class A and move quickly from there.
Minor League Top Prospects
Another 2002 first-rounder who signed late, Hamels started the season in extended spring training. After putting several dominant starts together there, Hamels went to Lakewood in May. He didn't allow a run until his fourth start and never experienced a hitch in the SAL. Hamels pitches with average velocity but can dial it up to 92-94 mph when he has two strikes. He relies on a plus-plus changeup to keep hitters off balance. His curveball needs refinement, as he doesn't always get consistent hard snap on it. "The best arm I've seen in the league by far," a National League scout said. "The secondary stuff is what set him apart from the other guys. He has great life on his stuff. He was a man among boys. Nobody had this type of command and quality of three secondary pitches."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Changeup in the National League in 2014
- Rated Best Changeup in the National League in 2013
- Rated Best Changeup in the National League in 2012
- Rated Best Changeup in the National League in 2011
- Rated Best Control in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006
- Rated Best Changeup in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006
- Rated Best Control in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005
- Rated Best Changeup in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005