Jason Hammel
Jason Hammel
36-Year-Old PitcherSP
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Things went from bad to worse for Hammel after his rocky 2017 season. He lost his spot in the Royals' rotation prior to the All-Star break, having gone 2-11 with a 6.16 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in his first 102.1 innings. The results remained ugly in relief, but he added a couple ticks of velocity after shortening up and his K-rate improved significantly, jumping from 14% to 23% with the move to the bullpen. His homer problems continued after his removal from the starting rotation, but Hammel's walk rate held steady at 7.1% resulting in a 3.90 xFIP. It wasn't enough to convince the Royals to pick up his $12 million option for 2019, but Hammel may have shown enough to get a look as a reliever with another big-league team. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a one-year, minor-league contract with the Rangers in February of 2019. Released by the Rangers in March of 2019.
Calls end to career
PFree Agent  
March 23, 2019
Hammel announced Saturday that he will retire from professional baseball, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Hammel's decision is surprising after the Rangers informed a day earlier that he would break camp with the big club as a long reliever. Rather than as a result of any dissatisfaction with his projected role, Hammel opted for retirement after determining that spending more time with his family was a greater priority at this point, according to general manager Jon Daniels. The 13-year veteran wraps up his career with a 96-114 record and 4.62 ERA across 377 big-league appearances (298 starts).
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
No Stats
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .271 694 120 49 172 38 4 19
Since 2017vs Right .322 693 117 38 205 34 3 25
2019vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018vs Left .257 274 45 23 64 14 2 7
2018vs Right .366 309 47 16 104 23 3 11
2017vs Left .281 420 75 26 108 24 2 12
2017vs Right .287 384 70 22 101 11 0 14
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA at Home
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ERA at Home
ERA at Home
Since 2017Home 5.22 1.47 150.0 6 13 0 6.0 2.5 1.1
Since 2017Away 5.95 1.54 157.1 6 14 0 7.8 2.6 1.5
2019Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018Home 5.69 1.70 55.1 2 7 0 4.7 2.4 1.1
2018Away 6.28 1.58 71.2 2 7 0 7.9 3.0 1.4
2017Home 4.94 1.34 94.2 4 6 0 6.8 2.6 1.0
2017Away 5.67 1.52 85.2 4 7 0 7.8 2.2 1.6
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
On the surface, 2017 looks like a dramatic step back for Hammel from 2016, but the underlying numbers say the skills were mostly the same. His strikeout percentage dipped again to just 18 percent, but Hammel also shaved a bit off his walk rate (to 6.0 percent) as he pumped in first-pitch strikes at a career-high clip (62.6 percent). He was a bit unlucky with a .318 BABIP and 68.4 percent left-on-base rate -- nearly eight percentage points lower than his 2016 mark -- but Hammel also allowed more flyballs and induced less soft contact. Hammel was a lot worse the third-time through the order in 2017 (8.79 ERA, .391 wOBA), so while he should make 30 starts for a fourth straight season with good health, his innings and win totals will likely remain modest with a lot of five-and-dive performances. Even so, there is enough volume to make him somewhat appealing in league-only settings.
Hammel turned in another steady season for the Cubs in 2016, taking the ball 30 times before an elbow injury ended his season in late September and kept him off the roster throughout the team's World Series run. Just days after winning Game 7 of the World Series, the Cubs front office declined an option on Hammel's contract for 2017, making him a free agent. At age 34, Hammel has never reached 180 innings in a big league season. Also of concern is that he struggled in a big way outside of Wrigley, as opposing hitters put together a .278/.344/.530 line against him on the road last season including 18 of the 25 home runs he allowed. For 2017, Hammel's value will hinge on the health of his arm, although his new home park of Kauffman Stadium doesn't play too well to the longball, which could help the righty put a dent in his career 1.1 HR/9.
Hammel was part of the package that brought Addison Russell to Chicago in 2014, but Oakland only got 12 starts out of him before he decided to return to the Cubs as a free agent. Strangely enough, he's had very limited success in his career outside of his time in Chicago. The 33-year-old right-hander has made 48 starts for the Cubs in the last two years, amassing a 3.45 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 4.4 K/BB. Compare that to the rest of his career: 4.77 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and 2.1 K/BB. A big reason for his success in 2015 came from improving his walk rate to a career-best 2.1 BB/9. Hammel's struggles down the stretch likely pushed the Cubs to sign John Lackey via free agency, but Hammel should begin 2016 as the No. 5 starter as a back-end arm capable of piling up his share of whiffs (9.1 K/9, 24.2% strikeout rate in 2015).
Hammel went to the A's in early July along with Jeff Samardzija in a blockbuster trade. He was excellent with the Cubs prior to the trade with a 2.98 ERA over his first 17 starts, but Hammel was much less successful after his move to the American League, going 2-6 in 12 starts with a 4.26 ERA. However, most of those struggles came in his awful first four starts with the A's where he allowed 18 earned runs over 17 innings. In the final two months of the season, Hammel made eight starts (and one three-inning relief appearance) and compiled a 2.49 ERA over those 50.2 innings. After re-signing with the Cubs on a two-year deal as a free agent in December, Hammel will look to get back on track in Chicago and return to his level of production from the first half of 2014.
Hammel went from Opening Day starter to being run out of town, as the Orioles let him test free agency after a horrid season. His 2013 numbers (6.2 K/9, 1.4 HR/9, 40.1 GB%) were not even close to his 2012 numbers (8.6 K/9, 0.7 HR/9, 53.2 GB%). He also has injury concerns, with arm issues in 2013 and knee issues in 2012. Another team should give Hammel a chance to add organizational depth as a starter, but he will probably have to fight for a rotation spot this spring, after taking a short-term deal elsewhere to continue his career.
It was no surprise that Hammel improved after trading Coors Field for Camden Yards as his home ballpark. The surprise was just how much better Hammel pitched as an Oriole. Hammel traded his 5.0 K/9 in 2011 for a rate of 8.6 K/9 in 2012, partially due to relying on his slider more often than his changeup. That helped him drop his batting average against, ERA and WHIP. Each of those statistics registered as a career best. Hammel struggled with knee injuries in the second half of the season and may have been rushed back too soon, but he did not need offseason surgery. Look for Hammel to be the Opening Day starter, though it will be tough for him to top his 2012 season.
After two seasons in Colorado where the skills didn't line up with the results, Hammel regressed considerably last year thanks to a depleted strikeout rate (from 7.14 K/9IP to 4.97) and spike in walks (2.38 BB/9IP to 3.59). The lost whiffs might be attributed to a swinging-strike percentage that has steadily declined during his three-year stint in Colorado (9.5 in 2009, 7.2 in 2010 and 6.5 in 2011). Now the longest tenured member of the Rockies rotation, he will need to rediscover his arsenal quickly to avoid shifting to relief work when the likes of Drew Pomeranz, Alex White and Tyler Chatwood are ready to cement their starting roles. Once a sleeper thanks to good control and the ability to induce groundballs, Hammel is now one to avoid because he's simply too hittable to succeed. His chances of finding success in a hitter-friendly home park against tough competition in the American League East hardly improve after he was acquired by the Orioles in early February.
Hammel's 2010 season was pretty similar to his 2009. He again started 30 games and finished with 10 wins, yet this time he had a 4.81 ERA and 1.396 WHIP. He increased his strikeout rate for the second season in a row (7.1 K/9IP), despite his K/BB ratio (3.0) remaining stable. He helped fantasy owners in the first half of the season with a 7-3 record and 4.08 record, but faded down the stretch with a 3-6 record and 5.56 ERA. And for whatever reason, he performed better at home (4.07 ERA) than on the road (5.71 ERA). As long as he is able to maintain his command and groundball rate (46.7 percent), Hammel should be able to build upon his first two seasons as a member of the Rockies while working out of the back of their rotation.
Jeff Niemann narrowly beat out Hammel for Tampa Bay's final rotation spot, which ultimately led to a trade which sent Hammel to Colorado. Hammel played out nicely as a back of the rotation starter, but his performance and statistics suffered greatly with his move to Coors Field. In 16 games at home, opposing batters knocked Hammel around to the tune of .330 with 12 home runs, earning Hammel a 5.73 ERA. He was an entirely different pitcher on the road, with a 3.13 ERA and just five homers allowed in 95 innings, so there's reason to believe that he'll be able to produce better overall numbers if he can start keeping the ball in the yard in the thin Denver air.
Hammel started the year in the rotation thanks to injuries to Scott Kazmir and Matt Garza. Once those pitchers returned, the Rays had to create a bullpen role for Hammel, who was out of options and could not go to Triple-A without probably being claimed by another club. Hammel wound up as the best 11th pitcher on any AL roster in 2008, playing a key role in four extra-innings wins for the Rays (two wins, two saves). It's not clear what role the Rays have in mind for Hammel in 2009, since it's unlikely that he'll crack their rotation with David Price now up; Hammel could wind up back in long relief, or as trade bait.
Hammel moved into the rotation in mid-July and actually finished strong in September (2-1, 4.09 in six starts, with one of those wins coming at Yankee Stadium). However, he'll face competition from Andy Sonnanstine, Jeff Niemann and perhaps others for a back-of-the-rotation role in the spring, and with other prospects on the horizon, the Rays might move Hammel to the bullpen for good in a middle-relief role.
Hammel was rushed to Triple-A in 2005, but in 2006 showed he's a legitimate prospect with a great strikeout-to-walk ratio. As a reward, Hammel was rushed to the majors in late 2006, with predictable results. Still, he'll get a chance to crack the 2007 rotation, and he could develop into a serviceable fourth starter.
He looked very good at Double-A last year, and wasn't overmatched at Triple-A. Hammel really needs one more year in the minors before he challenges for a spot in the big league rotation. The new Devil Rays brain trust is smart enough to know that, so he likely won't have more than a cup of coffee in the bigs this year.
Hammel was having a great 2004 before he hurt his wrist in a fall during warm-ups in July and missed the rest of the year. He should be fine come spring and will start 2005 at Double-A, but could get a look-see in the bigs by September. Scouts rate his curveball as the best in the Rays organization.
More Fantasy News
Will make roster
PTexas Rangers  
March 22, 2019
Hammel was told Friday he'd made the Rangers' Opening Day roster, Levi Weaver of The Athletic reports.
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Will not go to minors
PTexas Rangers  
March 16, 2019
Hammel said he will not go to the minors if he doesn't make the Rangers' roster, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. "I certainly won't go to Triple-A," Hammel said after firing four scoreless innings Friday. "This is a grind. If it requires me to go home, I know my family is waiting for me and has been for a while. I'm more than willing to go home and spend time with them."
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Throws two innings Tuesday
PTexas Rangers  
March 5, 2019
Hammel made his debut for the Rangers, throwing two scoreless innings in Tuesday's game against Oakland.
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Heads to Texas
PTexas Rangers  
February 1, 2019
Hammel signed a minor-league deal that includes an invitation to spring training with the Rangers on Friday.
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Becomes free agent
PFree Agent  
October 30, 2018
The Royals declined Hammel's option for 2019.
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