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jason hammel featureYesterday was a particularly busy day ’round these parts, so if you checked out early, you might have missed a new rumor involving Jake Arrieta, the Cubs signing two of their top over slot draftees, and Travis Wood driving in the winning run in the Cubs’ 13-inning win over the Marlins.

  • I know it’s sacrilege to give this top billing, but did you actually see Giancarlo Stanton’s homer yesterday in the first inning off of Jason Hammel? You cannot totally blame Hammel for this (he did hang the slider), because the homer is the work of an absolute freak, and is one of the most incredible homers I’ve ever seen:

  • Off the bat, you’re like, “Uh oh, double to right. Or will it go foul? But, boy, he hit that thing HARD.” And then you see the ball on an absolute laser line to right field … and then it clears the wall, hitting the concrete so hard that it rockets upward like its been hit again by some miniature version of Stanton.
  • Speaking of Hammel, folks are talking about his start like it was a bad one because he gave up four earned on eight hits over six innings. What some seem to be ignoring are the eight strikeouts and one walk. Believe it or not, Hammel’s peripherals and advanced metrics actually improved on his already-fantastic season numbers. His K rate increased from 23.2% to 24%. His BB rate fell from 5.5% to 5.4%. His K/BB climbed from 4.22 to 4.47. And his FIP fell from 3.02 to 3.01. If you take his K rate minus his BB rate – one of the best overall advanced measures of pitcher performance – Hammel rose to 13th best in all of baseball, ahead of guys like Adam Wainwright, Cliff Lee … and Jeff Samardzija. Bad start? No way.
  • I said this weekend that I wouldn’t feel good about Hector Rondon’s elbow until I saw him out there pumping out beautiful 97mph bullets. Well, not only did he do that last night, he did it while striking out the side in his inning of work. Yeah, he gave up a hit and a walk in the process, but, still, I feel good.
  • Speaking of great relievers, “Good Pedro Strop” made an appearance last night, blazing fastballs at 96mph at the knees, and embarrassing Jeff Baker and Giancarlo Stanton with wicked sliders. When he’s on, Strop is the best reliever in the Cubs’ pen, and that’s saying something. It’s just that, like Good Carlos Marmol and Bad Carlos Marmol before him, Strop seems to either have it in an outing, or totally not have it. And, until those first few pitches, you don’t know which one you’re going to get when you call out to the pen.
  • The Cubs don’t have to sell Jeff Samardzija to the market – Reed Johnson can do it for them. (CSN)

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