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Cole Hamels set to make his debut on Friday

On Friday, Cole Hamels will start for the minors. If you don't know who Hamels is, well, welcome to baseball. It's a fun sport. Hamels is perhaps the best pitching prospect still in the minors. From

Hamels, 22, is 3-1 with a 1.04 ERA this season in seven combined starts between Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA) and Clearwater (A). He has 65 strikeouts in 43.1 innings and has held opposing hitters to a .168 average (26-for-155).

He began the season with Clearwater and went 1-1 with a 1.77 ERA in four starts before being promoted to Scranton. Hamels pitched 7.0 scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts in his Triple-A debut and followed that up with his first professional 9.0-inning shutout, May 2 at Richmond. In his 23.0 Triple-A innings, he struck out 36 batters, posting double-digit strikeouts in each of his three starts.

If you're in an NL-only league, realize that Hamels has the potential to average over a strikeout per inning the rest of the season. The Phillies probably won't pile too many innings onto his young arm, but he should easily have enough time to emerge as a front-runner for the NL Rookie of the Year award. There likely won't be another chance to pick up a pitcher of his caliber for free off the free-agent list, so there's no use hoarding your waiver spot or FAAB money.

If you're in a mixed league, he's definitely a pickup in most deeper leagues, and at this point probably any league that has a bench. The only concern with Hamels is that he's been a bit injury prone in the past, but for the most part they seem to be random, impact related injuries -- such as last year when his fist impacted (presumably) someone's face in a bar fight. His season did end early last year with a back problem, but he's shown no signs of it this year and is definitely worth the risk.

Phillies to call up Hamels []