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Cole Hamels 2009

I've always been a big fan of Cole Hamels, and at one point I believed that he had a good chance to be the best pitcher in baseball. Hamels has been excellent, but is reason for some concern as his K/9 rate has dropped from 10.1 to 9.3 to 8.3 over the past three years. That's still very good, and the magnitude of the decrease is small enough that it's possible this is simply year to year variance, but my instinct is that it's an actual change in 'skill' and that Hamels is unlikely to reach 10.1 again. Looking at his rate statistics, Hamels has gone from being Scott Kazmir with better control to being James Shields with worse control. That's not a very encouraging change in a young pitcher, and although I still definitely consider him a top ten starting pitcher, I would avoid him in drafts for 2009, given how early he's being picked. I like him a lot more in games like Rotohog, Snapdraft, and Draftbug, as you'll have the opportunity to track how his strikeout rate is, and avoid him if it doesn't bounce back above 9.0.