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Despite rough outing against Yankees, Cole Hamels poised for a stellar 2010

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If you had cabin fever this winter and decided to take the tour at Citizens Bank Park , you would know just how hard Cole Hamels  has worked this Cole Hamels must rebound in 2010 if the Phillies are to reclaim their World Championship. Photo: http://payoffpitch.mlblogs.com/cole-hamels.jpgoff-season.“Cole Hamels hasn’t left the city all off season," the tour guide would have told you. And you would have seen for yourself, as his was the only locker not completely empty.

In an off season where the Phillies traded an ace and acquired another (Roy Halladay) a lot of debate has taken place. How could the Phils part with Cliff Lee? Whose going to be the fifth starter? How’s the bullpen look?

Lost and seemingly forgotten in all of this was Cole Hamels. Remember him?

2008 World Series MVP?

Sure he had a rough 2009, though he hasn’t experienced an off season quite like the one he had after the 2008 season. It’s hard to imagine that all the interviews, conventions, and award ceremonies didn't take a toll on him.

Over the last fifteen years 5 starting pitchers have won the MVP of the World Series. And two of them have very similar numbers to Hamels the year after winning it.

Livan Hernandez (FLA) – 1997 WS MVP

1998 Season

10-12 4.72 ERA

Josh Beckett (FLA) – 2003 WS MVP

2004 Season

9-9 3.79 ERA

Cole Hamels (PHI)- WS MVP 2008

2009 Season

10-11 4.32 ERA

Josh Beckett has gone on to become one of the best pitchers in the league winning two more World Series titles with the Red Sox. Livan Hernadez has been a bit of a journeyman but hasn’t been blessed with good teams behind him.

The other 3 pitchers who’ve won World Series MVP’s in the last fifteen years are all (most likely) headed to the Hall. Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Tom Glavine.

So far Hamels has proven the stats above to be true. With the exception of today (giving up 6 earned runs in 4 innings of work against the Yankees) Hamels has been outstanding this spring. Even working with new teammate Roy Halladay, whose instilling in him a different kind of work ethic, and maybe even a new pitch or two to add to his arsenal.

Sometimes a player with the mentality that Hamels has needs this kind of "shot in the arm." He’s been highly touted and thought of since he was drafted. He knows what it’s like to be praised, he’s been there and done that. However, showing up time and time again in the playoffs helping to lead your team to a World Series title and being voted MVP is an entirely different animal. That taste of victory is different and sweeter than any tasted before.

Having only tasted success on the games grandest stage, the bitter taste of losing can spark a change in any ball player. It seems as if Cole Hamels has felt that spark. One can only imagine what kind of success he may have in 2010.

Mike Santa Barbara is a freelance sports writer, and life long Philadelphia sports fan whose covered sports for nearly 10 years. His work has been featured on RealGM.com, GCobb.com, and Comcast Sportsnet (CSNPhilly.com) Mike currently covers the Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia 76ers for ProSportsBlogging.com and is the Philadelphia 76ers Beat Writer for PhinallyPhilly.com

Mike can be contacted at mike_santa_barbara@yahoo.com