Wolf Knows Help Can Come From Anywhere

In a baseball age where image and pride are everything, Randy Wolf is somewhat of a throwback. The unassuming lefty has established himself as a one of the better young pitchers in the National League, but for Wolf that's not enough. When he watched young Cole Hamels pitch this spring, Wolf was among those impressed with Hamels' changeup and he wasn't too proud to ask the kid for some pointers.

You may be able to say that Cole Hamels is already having an impact on the Phillies major league club.

At just 20 years of age and still at least a little way from being major league ready, the young phenom was sought out to help Randy Wolf. The person looking for the help was none other than Wolf himself.

Wolf - as were a lot of people - has been impressed with watching Cole Hamels this spring. Hamels won't make the club, but it's obvious that he's not far away. Among the honors that Hamels has received has been having many scouts and baseball publications pronounce his changeup as the best in the minors. Some even say it could be among the best in the majors if Hamels had actually ever thrown the pitch in a major league game. Wolf didn't just sit back and watch. The all-star pitcher sought out Hamels and asked for help on the pitch.

Hamels readily agreed and showed Wolf the grip that he uses and worked with him on the mechanics of making the pitch truly great. Both pitchers also talked about a sometimes forgotten part of learning the pitch, which is the mental part. Wolf made it a point to talk to Hamels about what goes on in his mind as he's cranking up the pitch.

It's no coincidence that Wolf not only went out and pitched a gem in his next spring outing after working with Hamels, but was successful because of his changeup. While Wolf hasn't become completely comfortable with the grip and mechanics that Hamels proposed, he latched on completely to the mental aspect that Hamels preached. Wolf abandoned the physical parts of the pitch in his outing and will continue to work on implementing those things as he goes along. Mentally though, Hamels and Wolf are now throwing the same changeup and it will be interesting to watch how Wolf develops the pitch.

You have to admire a guy like Randy Wolf, who went to a young, unproven pitcher and admitted that the kid had something to teach him. You also have to admire Cole Hamels because in an age where players worry only about themselves, Hamels gave up secrets for the good of the team. Believe it or not, there are some who wouldn't take quite as kindly or openly to unlocking the secrets of their success for another pitcher. Even when that other guy is a future teammate.

While we await the official start of the Cole Hamels era in Philadelphia, it's clear that at least unofficially, Hamels is already a part of the Phillies.

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