Atlanta Braves: Pitchers most likely to win ’20 Cy Young (Part 2)
Ever since Cole Hamels’ signed with the Braves, Max Fried has been drawing a lot of comparison to Hamels.
Commentators and analysts love to discuss how Cole Hamels and Max Fried are similar pitchers and how Hamels could impart a library of wisdom upon his newly acquired padawan-learner.
While Fried is left-handed and had a similar first season as Hamels, he’s a different style of a pitcher. Despite getting outs while utilizing different styles, the results were very similar. Here’s a look at their first seasons.
Hamels 2006 vs Fried 2019 – The 1st Full Years
Hamels: 132.1 IP // 9.86 K9 // 3.26 BB9 // 38.9% GB // 4.08 ERA // 8.6% BB-rate // 26.0% K-rate
Fried: 165.2 IP // 9.3 K9 // 3.24 BB9 // 53.6% GB // 4.02 ERA // 6.7% BB-rate // 24.6% K-rate
The big difference is the ground ball rate. Outside of that, these numbers are eerily similar. Fried even walked a lower percentage of the batters he faced.
Hamels has a career groundball rate of 44.9%, while Fried’s first Major League season found him ranked among the game’s best at inducing groundballs.
In fact, among pitchers with at least 160 IP, Fried finished fifth in the league in groundball rate with 53.2%. He was one spot ahead of teammate, Mike Soroka. Fellow Braves’ starter Dallas Keuchel finished first with 60.4%.
Fried presents a sick combination of elite groundball inducing skills with serious strikeout rates. It puts him in the same category as Stephen Strasburg…I’m not joking, stop laughing at me…No, you’re stupid!
Strasburg and Fried 2019
Strasburg – 10.81 K9 // 2.41 BB9 // 1.03 HR9 // 51.1% GB // 11.1% HR/FB
Fried – 9.43 K9 // 2.47 BB9 // 1.18 HR9 // 53.2% GB // 20.2% HR/FB
Hey, that’s a great rookie year for the highly touted prospect. It’s not inconceivable to think a rookie with this much talent progresses in his second year to elite status.
Now we just need a cool nickname for when the breakout happens… Max Mayhem?
Hopefully, he doesn’t suffer a season-ending injury while sliding into second base while pinch-running.
If you recall, Hamels and Fried had similar final numbers during their rookie campaigns. Hamels made a serious leap in year two, Hamels finished his sophomore year with a 3.39 ERA, brought his WHIP down from a 1.25 to a 1.12, and reduced his BB% by nearly three whole percentage points.
His evolution helped him finish his sophomore year sixth in the Cy Young voting.