When I sat down at the computer with the intent to name a left-handed pitcher to the Fantasy All-Star team, I expected it to be a Phillie. I was just slightly surprised that the player I would decide on wouldn't be Cliff Lee.
Lee has been just as impressive as advertised this season, even posting a career high 8.9 K/9 rate and famously tossing 3 straight shutouts in June. He was 5-0 last month and posted a .21 ERA. Unbelievable.
However, the overall numbers point to Hamels as the best left-handed pitcher of the first half as the 27-year-old has really come into his own this season.
Hamels is 10-4, 2.40 ERA, 124 innings, 115:22 K:BB rate and just 96 hits allowed. His .952 WHIP is the best in the league. While Lee has allowed 6 ER in 3 starts this year, Hamels hasn't done that since his first start of the season. In his 17 starts since then he has an ERA of exactly 2.00.
It wasn't long ago that Hamels was expected to develop into the staff ace of the Phillies, but when they acquired Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and re-acquired Lee, Hamels was able to step into the background and there was no pressure on him to lead the Phillies anymore.
People love to say "He's a future #3 starter" when they talk about prospects, with the implication that he'll be good but not great. Cole Hamels might be the best "#3 starter" in the history of the league.