Sure, for every Felix Hernandez there's a Dan Meyer, for every Cole Hamels a Chad Billingsley and for every Tim Lincecum a Homer Bailey, but Scherzer's unflinching composure and otherworldly stuff will take fantasy owners "Beyond Thunderdome" sometime this year.
--Brad Evans, 4/28/08
Cole Hamels - 7.72 K/9, 3.13 K/BB, 1.10 HR/9, 136 ERA+, 3.64 FIP
Chad Billingsley - 9.75 K/9, 2.22 K/BB, .75 HR/9, 123 ERA+, 3.47 FIP
This would have more impact if Bills were dominating Hamels statistically, but that's almost impossible, Hamels is an elite pitcher, there's no arguing that. However, there's certainly a case for Billingsley, who is performing better than Hamels in all the peripheral stats except control, and that shows in his superior FIP. Granted, the case isn't that clear cut since Hamels plays in one of the most hitter friendly parks in baseball. At the very least Billingsley is in the same class as Hamels, a class that includes all of the elite pitchers under 25 including Felix Hernandez, Scott Kazmir, and Tim Lincecum.
Billingsley is off to one of the best starts to a career ever for a Dodger pitcher, and seemingly no one has noticed. Bills career 128 ERA+ beats out what Fernando did in his first two full seasons (127), and he's striking out batters at a higher rate. Even so, Los Angeles hasn't exactly caught Billingsley fever, reacting with at best indifference and at worst wanting to send him to the pen. I don't get it. Considering the history we have with overhyped prospects coming up here and doing nothing, we'd should making Billingsley one of the faces of this franchise, but he gets less hype than Andre Ethier does. Chad Billingsley is, at worst, the second best player we have right now but he gets zero recognition for this, even from the Dodgers own PR machine.
No matter what you think of Bills, we can agree he deserved a bobble head before Joe Beimel.