A look at the 2015 Chicago Cubs starting rotation options

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Jul 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel (39) throws during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit:

Brad Mills


3) Jason Hammel

  • 2014 statistics: 10-11, 3.47 ERA, 1.123 WHIP, 30 GS, 176.1 IP
  • 2015 projected: 10-9, 3.86 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 26 GS, 153 IP

It was a tale of two halves for right-hander Jason Hammel in 2014. He began the year with the Chicago Cubs after inking a one-year pact in the offseason and quickly emerged as a solid option for first-year skipper Rick Renteria. In 17 starts with the Cubs, Hammel, who had spent time with the Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies and Baltimore Orioles prior to 2014, posted a 2.98 earned run average and 8.6 strikeouts per nine, before being flipped near the season’s midpoint.

After being paired with teammate Jeff Samardzija in the deal that netted Oakland’s top prospect, Addison Russell, Hammel fell off. Down the stretch for the Athletics, the right-hander  went 2-6 – largely due to his control struggles. He averaged nearly one more walk per nine with Oakland as opposed to the first half of the year in Chicago, pitching to a 5.10 FIP in 12 starts and one relief appearance.

After rejoining the team this offseason on a two-year deal, Hammel is reunited with pitching coach Chris Bosio, with whom Hammel thrived last year. As was noted last season between the Cubs and A’s, control will be key for the 32-year-old Hammel, who is projected to have near-identical numbers to Jake Arrieta, who was the Cubs starting rotation ace in 2014.

A combination of Hammel and Arrieta behind Jon Lester that produces at a respectable clip (an ERA somewhere in the mid-3.00’s) will give the Cubs a rotation that ranks in the upper half of the National League, despite lacking the dominance of some of the best rotations in the league.