Remember this? About a year ago I wrote a post that said that despite the fact that in 2010 Hamels had a walk rate that was worse than Halladay, Moyer, Blanton, Oswalt, Kendrick or Lee, his walk rate still wasn’t awful if you compared him to other NL pitchers who made 30 starts in 2010.

In 2011, one of the things Hamels did well was reduce his walk rate. He walked 44 in 216 innings, or 1.83 per nine innings. It was the first time in his career he had walked fewer than two hitters per nine innings. That includes his time in the minors. Hamels’s overall walk rate in the minor leagues was about 3.31 batters per nine innings and he wasn’t under two for any full year in the minors.

Hamels lowered his walk rate against both left and right-handed batters in 2011, but the results were more impressive against lefties. Coming into 2011, Hamels had walked about 6.0% of the right-handed batters he had faced for his career and about 7.9% of the left-handed batters. In 2011, he walked about 5.2% of the righties and 5.1% of the lefties.

Here’s what the chart for 2011 looks like — again, it’s the walk rate per nine innings of NL pitchers who started at least 30 games:

Pitcher

Walks per nine

Rank BB/9

Roy Halladay
Cliff Lee
Cole Hamels
Ricky Nolasco
Kyle Lohse
Madison Bumgarner
Daniel Hudson
Bronson Arroyo
Clayton Kershaw
Chris Carpenter
Hiroki Kuroda
Ian Kennedy
Jaime Garcia
R.A. Dickey
Javier Vazquez
Tim Hudson
Brett Myers
Ted Lilly
Shaun Marcum
Matt Cain
Yovani Gallardo
Chris Capuano
Tim Stauffer
Randy Wolf
Joe Saunders
Matt Garza
Mat Latos
Anibal Sanchez
Mike Pelfrey
Wandy Rodriguez
Derek Lowe
Bud Norris
Tim Lincecum
Jake Westbrook
Ryan Dempster
John Lannan
Chad Billingsley
Jhoulys Chacin
James McDonald
Group total

1.35
1.62
1.83
1.92
2.01
2.02
2.03
2.04
2.08
2.09
2.18
2.23
2.31
2.33
2.34
2.34
2.38
2.38
2.56
2.56
2.56
2.56
2.57
2.80
2.84
2.86
2.87
2.93
3.02
3.25
3.37
3.39
3.57
3.58
3.65
3.70
4.02
4.04
4.11
2.64

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Halladay one, Lee two and Hamels three.

That’s a change from 2010, when it went Halladay one, Hamels 14 and Lee in the American League. Had Lee not been in the American League in 2010, he wouldn’t have been on the chart anyway cause he didn’t make 30 starts. Had the 2010 chart shown NL pitchers who made 30 starts and guys name Cliff Lee, regardless of their league or number of starts, Lee would been at the top of the list in terms of fewest walks per nine, right above Halladay. In 2010, Lee made 28 starts in which he threw 212 1/3 innings while walking 18. That’s a silly 0.76 walks per nine.

If you’re having trouble following any of this, is pretty much goes like this: Halladay and Lee really don’t walk much of anyone and probably won’t in 2012, either. And Hamels got a whole lot better at not walking anyone in 2011.

This article about how the Phillies evaluate players and don’t evaluate players is, um, memorable. Seriously, if they’re not relying on advanced metrics that suggest Polanco belongs on the field because of his defense, it’s hard to understand how they would let him play. On the other hand, if math is the enemy it does go a long way towards explaining letting Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez combine to get 534 plate appearances in 2011. On the other, other hand, if they’re going to keep leading all of baseball in wins every year, they might just wanna keep up the good work.

This suggests that Contreras is not expected to appear in the first week of games, but could get into a game shortly after that.

The article linked above suggests there is increasing pessimism about Justin De Fratus’s right elbow.

Phils play the Yankees three times in the next three days, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

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