What’s The Difference Between Chad Billingsley And Cole Hamels?

July 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

After Chad Billingsley’s mediocre outing a couple days ago, I suppose it was to be expected that the local media would continue to press for a trade, especially if it netted Roy Halladay.

The Blue Jays also said they would take fewer players if Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley were one of them. The Dodgers said no to that too.

No to Kershaw? Of course.

No to Billingsley? There has been discussion within the organization about whether to reconsider that stance, although the Dodgers are not expected to do so.

So the same people who wanted to trade Clayton Kershaw last year have now deemed him untouchable. They are a fickle bunch.

But putting the media’s revised opinion of Kershaw’s value aside, all the trade talk got me thinking about a certain lefty who seems to share a very similar resume with Billingsley: Cole Hamels.

Don’t think their value is equal? Why not?

Dodger fans and media alike have been willing to throw Billingsley’s name into trade discussions as if he were some expendable piece, but you never hear Hamels’ name being mentioned in trade talks, and both the Dodgers and the Phillies were pursuing the same players.

So despite the obvious disparity in their perceived value, the similarities between the two pitchers are plentiful. They both came up in 2006, they were both highly touted prospects, and both of them have experienced a great deal of success early in their major league careers. Both Hamels and Billingsley have also had a declining ERA and FIP from the time of their debut until this year, where they’ve both hit a bit of a rough patch.

Chad Billingsley



Cole Hamels



Billingsley’s career ERA is 3.48 and his career FIP is 3.81. He has thrown 576 1/3 innings in 90 starts and 28 relief appearances.

Hamels’ career ERA is 3.61 and his career FIP is 3.82. He has thrown 661 innings in 104 starts and zero relief appearances.

Again, the commonalities between the two pitchers is obvious, yet one of them is thought of as expendable, and the other isn’t even asked about in negotiations because everybody knows he’s untouchable.

I still don’t quite understand why though.

I suppose the main reason for the disparity in perception between the two pitchers lies in their respective postseason performance in 2008.

Hamels went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 5 starts for the Phillies, and his team ended up winning the World Series. Billingsley went 1-2 with a 8.49 ERA in three starts for the Dodgers, and his team lost in the NLCS.

It’s obvious that Hamels was better than Billingsley in the postseason last year, but are we really so foolish as to presume that one pitcher is better than the other based on a combined 11 career playoff appearances? I would hope not, but that’s the only reasonable explanation for the difference in value and status between the two players.

Unfortunately for Billingsley, he seems to be the only pitcher who gets so severely punished for a poor playoff showing. After all, if all it took was a few crappy postseason starts to unravel the value of a great starter, then why is somebody like C.C. Sabathia getting a gargantuan contract? Sabathia is the proud owner of a 7.92 ERA in five postseason starts, but where’s the criticism and devaluation of him? I guess people forgot, right?

Furthermore, if the logic is that postseason performances creates a player’s value, then why are pitchers like Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay so sought after in the first place? They have a grand total of 0 postseason starts between them, yet they have already been crowned by the media as pitchers who will lead their team to the promised land. If they get shelled in their first shot at the playoffs, will they be punished like Billingsley? Somehow I doubt it.

So what’s the difference between Billingsley and Hamels?

For all the reasons i’ve listed above, there really isn’t any difference at all. Yet, they are thought of very differently, and that continues to puzzle me.

If two players have similar regular season performances, scouts have similar projected ceilings for them, and the only factor that separates the two is some foolishness stemming from a small sample size and faulty logic, then what’s really at fault for the disparity in value?

In my opinion, the answer’s really simple: stupidity.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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