Arizona pitcher Cody Hamlin is climbing up the ranks
Redshirt sophomore pitcher Cody Hamlin has established himself as Arizona’s No. 2 starter in his first season at the UA.
In a year of disappointment and inconsistency for Arizona baseball, sophomore pitcher Cody Hamlin has paced the program’s injury-ridden rotation and provided some stability to an otherwise shaky pitching staff.
In 2013 at Western Nevada College, Hamlin had a 1.45 ERA, went 10-2, struck out a team-high 76 batters and only walked 11 over 87 innings pitched. His performances that season earned him the Scenic West Conference’s Pitcher of the Year award, and before long, Hamlin captured the attention of Arizona head coach Andy Lopez.
At the time, the Wildcats were looking to rebuild and re-identify themselves after the program had failed to qualify for the postseason just a year after winning the College World Series. Then Arizona’s No. 1 and No. 2 starting pitchers were selected during the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Former Arizona pitcher Konner Wade decided to pursue his professional ambitions after being selected as the 199th overall pick in the seventh round by the Colorado Rockies. However, senior pitcher James Farris, the UA’s Saturday starter from 2013 who was drafted in the 15th round by the Houston Astros, opted to return to the Wildcats.
“I’ve been very pleased with both Hamlin and Farris this season,” Lopez said, “[but] after it’s all said and done, [Hamlin] may end up being the Friday night starter. He’s been doing a great job in terms of execution.”
Hamlin committed to Arizona last June. He was expected to provide depth in the Wildcats’ starting rotation.
Going into the season, Hamlin was pegged in the No. 4 spot. However, after junior pitcher Mathew Troupe — who was set to start Saturday nights — showed signs of discomfort in his elbow hours before opening night, Lopez chose junior pitcher Tyler Crawford to slide into the No. 2 spot to replace Troupe, calling on Hamlin to slide into the rotation’s No. 3 slot. This gave the 6-foot-3, 188-pound righty a chance to prove his worth and an opportunity to break into the weekend rotation.
Hamlin shone in his first start, while Crawford’s mechanics faltered. That pattern continued to emerge, and pretty soon Hamlin swiped the Saturday-night spot.
“I couldn’t be happier for him,” teammate and fellow junior college transfer Tyler Krause said. “He’s a great guy [and] is one of my best friends, personally. I’m just happy to see him contributing to the team. His presence on the mound is awesome.”
Together, Farris and Hamlin represent the core of Arizona pitching. They have a combined record of 8-4, while the Wildcats as a whole are 12-18, 2-7 in the Pac-12 Conference.
Over his eight starts this season, Hamlin has compiled a 4-2 record, leads all starters with a 2.52 ERA and has only allowed seven walks over 53.2 innings.
“Hamlin has been a pretty good contributor for us,” junior pitcher Tyler Parmenter said. “He’s been really successful this year and is a player who’s just gotten better since he’s been here. I think what he brings, his unique pitching style and the way he’s been effective in getting hitters out, has helped the rotation immensely.”
—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17