Dominic Hamel Poised For Breakout Season

Dominic Hamel was the New York Mets third round pick in the 2021 draft that will is known for the Mets failing to sign first round pick Kumar Rocker. With each passing season, we may soon call it the year the Mets drafted Hamel.

Hamel, 23, split the 2022 season between St. Lucie and Brooklyn, and he was 10-3 with a 3.48 ERA, 1.151 WHIP, 4.1 BB/9, and an 11.0 K/9. As you can see, what really stood out with him was the strikeout numbers.

In 13 starts and one relief appearance with St. Lucie, he struck out 26.6% of the batters he faced. Then, against a higher level of competition in Brooklyn, Hamel would strike out 33.2% of the batters he faced over his 11 starts there.

Seeing the results, it should come as no surprise he was named the Mets 2022 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Moreover, Hamel was selected for Team Puerto Rico for the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

The World Baseball Classic is an opportunity for Hamel to accelerate his development as a pitcher. He will be playing for the recently retired Yadier Molina, who was adept from handling young pitchers during his career. The staff will also have former Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones.

He is going to be on a team with some of the best in the game including Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. More than the mentorship, he is going to be able to see how his stuff plays against the best in the game.

Hamel has excellent spin on his fastball and slider. With the spin and vertical breaks, both pitches are strikeout pitches. In the bullpen, he can be a potentially lethal weapon for Puerto Rico in the WBC. Of course, that is if he is not overwhelmed by the moment and loses some control over his pitches.

The control has been an issue for him as he has walked a higher rate of batters. He has gotten away with it with his strikeout rates and his keeping the ball in the ballpark. What is holding him back more is the lack of a true third pitch which would allow him to stay in the rotation.

Both his curve and change have real promise. They have good spin, but he does not quite have the control he needs of them. This is the year he need to harness them as he’s heading to Double-A at some point during the season, and again, he’s facing the best of the best in the WBC.

There is no better lesson on what he needs to do than to pitch against the best. He is also going to get mentored by some of the best in the WBC. All of this has Hamel poised to learn a number of lessons which can help him towards a big breakout season. We can and should expect that, and if all breaks right for him, he may even see time in the majors at the end of the season.