Tag: Roy Halladay

Roy Halladay Fan Has No Idea Roy Halladay Is Standing Right Behind Him

Anyone who is in love with sports can appreciate the experience of meeting a favorite athlete: the excitement, the joyand hopefully, the picture.

Sadly, this fan only got the last partand he didn’t even notice.

Roy Halladay saw a fan wearing his jersey, stood behind him and took a photo.

Surely the fan has seen this by now, but he probably would have wanted to meet the retired ace.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Roy Halladay’s Good Overwhelmed His Bad and Ugly as a Philadelphia Phillie

As ESPN reported on December 9, Roy Halladay retired as a Toronto Blue Jay, but for most Phillies fans and many baseball fans, the truly indelible masterpieces he created came in Phillies’ colors.

Of course, so did some of his most disappointing moments in professional baseball.

On balance, though, Halladay’s highest highs will be treasured long after the ugly images of his lowest Phillies lows are airbrushed out of memory.

Some Phillies fans will point to Halladay’s May 29, 2010, perfect game against the Florida Marlins as the apex of his Phillies career. After all, how can you do better than 27 up, 27 down?

That the perfect game came during Halladay’s Cy Young 2010 season only adds to its luster.

But perfect games, rare as they are, happen far more often than what Halladay did in the 2010 postseason.

On October 6, 2010, Halladay threw a no-hitter in Game One of the Phillies’ National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds, the second playoff no-hitter in baseball history.

As recounted by Todd Zolecki in his game story for MLB.com, the no-no dented the record books on numerous levels:

Halladay is just the fifth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same season, but the first to throw one in his first postseason start. Halladay is also the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter and a perfect game in the same season.

The moment Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz threw Brandon Phillips out to complete the feat, Phillies fans surely thought it could never get better.

They were right.

As set forth by Michael Baumann of Grantland, “That moment was the high point. Halladay split a pair of decisions with Tim Lincecum in the NLCS the next week, then a year later, allowed the first batter he faced to score in the deciding game of the NLDS against St. Louis.”

Baumann‘s coda on that paragraph—”We didn’t know it at the time, but Halladay would never be Halladay again”—stings the Phillies fan in both its accuracy and finality.

After all the good, Phillies fans probably had to expect and accept some bad and even some ugly, which is more or less all Halladay had to give in 2013.

It was bad when Halladay threw a pitch behind reserve Washington Nationals outfielder Tyler Moore in an early 2013 spring training game.

It was ugly when Halladay gave up nine earned runs after getting only seven outs against an offensively challenged Miami Marlins lineup.

And little could be uglier than the realization that the Phillies paid Halladay $20 million in 2013 to go 4-5 with an earned run average just under seven in 13 starts.

Then again, maybe Halladay’s inability to deliver value on the last year of his contract was a really well-disguised blessing because, ultimately, Roy Halladay did something harder than throwing a perfect game or a postseason no-hitter: He walked away before he was told to go home.

As a result, Phillies fans (and Blue Jays fans too) will be spared the sort of disappointment that denial-afflicted greats like Steve Carlton inflicted on their legacies by hanging on too long.

“To go out there and know it’s not going to feel good and I wasn’t going to do it the way I wanted was frustrating,” Halladay said at his retirement press conference. “I tried to give everything I can but something was holding me back. I felt I couldn’t give them what I wanted to.”

Even in admitting the end, then, Halladay approached the perfection for which he was known.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Ranking Roy Halladay Among Top 10 MLB Starting Pitchers of the Last 20 Years

The first day of the winter meetings brought very little in the way of transactions, but it did see one of the greatest pitchers in recent memory call it a career when Roy Halladay signed a one-day contract with the Blue Jays and announced his retirement.

A dominant force through the 2011 season, Halladay battled injuries the past two years and went just 15-13 with a 5.15 ERA in 38 combined starts, leading to his decision to hang it up at the age of 36.

There is no question Halladay was one of the top pitchers of his generation and is a decent bet to make the Hall of Fame five years from now. Here’s a look at where he ranks among the top starting pitchers of the last 20 years.


*All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.

Begin Slideshow

Atlanta Braves’ Starting Pitching Options After Tim Hudson’s Departure

Tim Hudson has signed with the San Francisco Giants, per John Shea and Henry Schulman of SFGate.com, and now the Atlanta Braves are in a position where they need to replace the veteran righty.

After having gone 113-72 in nine years with the Braves, Hudson is returning to the West Coast after he and the Giants agreed on a two-year, $23 million deal.

For Braves’ fans, it’s just another big name that has gone elsewhere, something that will happen again this offseason when Brian McCann signs with another team.

With Hudson gone, this is how the Braves rotation currently looks (2013 stats):

  1. LHP Mike Minor (13-9, 3.21 ERA)
  2. RHP Kris Medlen (15-12, 3.11 ERA)
  3. RHP Julio Teheran (14-8, 3.20 ERA)
  4. RHP Brandon Beachy (2-1, 4.50 ERA)
  5. LHP Alex Wood (3-3, 3.13 ERA)
  6. RHP David Hale (1-0, 0.82 ERA)

There’s a lot of confidence in the top three in the rotation, but after that, things aren’t as clear.

Here is a look at the options the Braves have with the departure of Hudson:


In-House Options

Wood seems like an easy pick to fill one of the rotation spots in 2014.

As a starter, he went 3-2 with a 3.54 ERA and 54 strikeouts. He seemed to have good control and was able to handle a good workload.

The one thing that people may point to is that he had a 2.08 ERA in 21.1 innings coming out of the bullpen. If Jonny Venters struggles coming back from Tommy John surgery, and other relievers struggle as well, Wood could be moved back to the bullpen to solidify that area.

Then there’s Beachy. After having had Tommy John surgery in 2012, Beachy made five starts last year before being shut down due to more elbow trouble. Then there is this tweet by MLB.com’s Mark Bowman:

Although Beachy is expected to be ready for spring training, there are some question marks there as well. And there will continue to be question marks until he can pitch a full season.

Hale is another option and someone who had a lot of success in the minor leagues. In 22 games in Triple-A (20 of which were starts), Hale went 6-9 with a 3.22 ERA and 77 strikeouts.

Top-pitching prospect J.R. Graham could be another option, but as Bowman notes in a mailbag post, he’s more likely to start 2014 in the minors:

Graham has made significant strides since his right shoulder sidelined him for the final 3 1/2 months of this past season. Still, while there is a chance he could end up in Atlanta’s bullpen or rotation at some point next year, it seems safer to assume Graham would begin the 2014 season back at the Minor League level.

Obviously, Wood and Beachy will be on the roster to start the season, as should Hale in the bullpen. But what if something goes wrong. Shouldn’t the Braves have some insurance?


John Lackey

It seems crazy to think this, but David O’Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution believes the Braves should look at Boston starter John Lackey in a potential trade:

Lackey is owed $15.25 million in 2014, while he will be due the league minimum in 2015 because of a weird clause in his contract, according to Dave Cameron of Fan Graphs:

So, they (or maybe his agent) came up with a pretty creative solution, adding a league minimum club option to the end of the deal if Lackey missed significant time due to an elbow issue. Sure enough, Lackey’s elbow became problematic, and after the 2011 season, he underwent Tommy John surgery and spent the entire 2012 season on the DL, triggering the club option for 2015.

As a result, the Red Sox now own the rights to Lackey’s 2015 season at a salary of around $500,000. 

For the Braves, that would be an extremely good deal considering Tim Hudson’s $9 million and Brian McCann’s $12 million will be off the books. 

The Braves could reasonably pay Lackey the money he is owed this year and then have him for a league-minimum salary next year.

Lackey was 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA and 161 strikeouts this past season. He was a key cog in helping the Red Sox win the World Series.

If he continues to pitch the way he did this past season, two years and $15.75 million is a great deal.

The Red Sox have even gauged other teams’ interest in Lackey, according to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston:

Obviously, the trade chips would be another aspect of a potential deal. While not wanting to give up a lot, the Braves could conceivably give up Cody Martin and Matt Lipka (or Todd Cunningham) in exchange for Lackey and a lower-level prospect.

That would allow the Red Sox to clear out some room in their rotation and also give them pieces for the future.


Roy Halladay

Roy Halladay hasn’t been the same over the last two years, combining for a 5.15 ERA in 38 starts the last two seasons.

However, now a free agent, what if Halladay could be even a shade of his former self.

If that’s the case, O’Brien suggests the Braves should look at signing him:

The Braves would do something like sign Halladay only if they were reasonably certain, after looking at the medical reports, that such a pitcher might be ready to compete at a high level again.

The fact remains, before those past two painful seasons, Halladay was the game’s best starting pitcher, piling up 78 wins and 35 complete games during a remarkable four-year stretch (2008-2011) in which he posted four consecutive sub-2.80 ERAs and had seasons with 20, 17, 21 and 19 wins.

O’Brien makes a good point. Imagine if Halladay can compete at a high level again. How much of a steal would it be for the Braves (or any team) to sign him? Here’s how he looked in the previous four seasons before the shoulder issues:

Halladay would also bring a veteran presence in the rotation, something the Braves lost when Tim Hudson left for San Francisco.

Obviously, the Braves would need to get Halladay at a decent rate. Like many players have done in the past, Halladay could sign a one-year deal to rebuild his value for 2015, in which he could seek the final two- or three-year deal of his career.

It’s a gamble. But it’s no more of a gamble than what the Braves are dealing with when it comes to Beachy.


What Should the Braves Do?

As we saw late in 2013, having Hudson out of the rotation hurt the Braves. There was no veteran leader to set the tone for the rest of the staff.

Minor, Medlen, Teheran and others are more than capable of doing the job. But the Braves need a leader on the pitching side of things. Bringing in someone like Lackey, Halladay or even another veteran starting pitcher would be beneficial for the Braves.

It would help come September as the team looks to grab the top seed in the playoffs. Imagine if Hudson wasn’t injured last year. Would the Braves have lost the No. 1 seed to the Cardinals?

The Braves need veteran leadership with Hudson gone. Lackey or Halladay could provide that leadership. They have the experience and a proven track record. If either can be had for the right price, it’s something the Braves need to pull the trigger on.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

What Is Roy Halladay’s MLB Legacy If He Never Throws Another Pitch?

It didn’t get a lot of attention, but it’s entirely possible that we saw the last pitch Roy Halladay will ever throw as a Major League Baseball player on Monday night in Philadelphia’s loss against Miami. 

Halladay was removed after facing just three hitters with what the team has called arm fatigue. That would certainly make sense since not one of the 16 pitches (11 balls) he threw topped 83 miles per hour. 

In many ways, while sad to watch, it was an appropriate ending to what has been the most difficult season of Halladay’s career. It’s even worse than when he had to be sent down to rookie ball in order to rebuild his delivery with Toronto in 2001, because there is little hope for a revival this time. 

Halladay is 36 years old and will turn 37 next May. His contract did include a $20 million option for 2014 that would have vested if he finished with 225 innings this year or 415 combined between 2012-13. 

Since Halladay didn’t hit either threshold, as well as the dreadful performance he had when on the field, the Phillies aren’t likely to exercise that option. I say “likely” because I never put anything past general manager Ruben Amaro

While we would all like to think that athletes can go out at the top of their game, like Mariano Rivera is doing this season, the sad reality is most of them end up looking like Halladay. Very rarely will you find a player willing to walk away while still productive; it is going to happen because no one else wants to give them a shot. 

Given Halladay’s inability to stay healthy the last two years, age and steep decline, his career as we once knew it is over. But what does his legacy become without throwing another pitch in Major League Baseball?


The Resume

Halladay’s career is ending, in many ways, how it started. He made his debut with Toronto in 1998 as a 21-year-old with two starts before starting the next season in the big leagues full time. 

As a 22-year-old, Halladay made 36 appearances and 18 starts with the Blue Jays. His 3.92 ERA looked good, but 156 hits allowed, 82 strikeouts and 79 walks in 149.1 innings pointed to some issues that could be problematic moving forward. 

Everything bottomed out for Halladay in 2000, throwing 67.2 innings with a 10.64 ERA and 149 baserunners allowed. That is the worst ERA in MLB history for any pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched.

The Blue Jays sent him down to A ball in 2001, hoping that Halladay could rebuild his entire delivery to achieve some kind of success in the big leagues. As a first-round pick in the 1995 draft, the team had a lot invested in Halladay turning into an MLB pitcher, so he was going to get every opportunity to prove himself. 

In a 2003 Sports Illustrated article, Tom Verducci wrote about Halladay’s new delivery and a small bit of what the process was like. 

Halladay and pitching coach Gil Patterson fixed a minor flaw in the righthander’s delivery that caused his breaking pitches to hang against lefthanded hitters. “It wasn’t an ‘Oh, my God, here it is’ kind of thing,” Toronto G.M. J.P. Ricciardi says. “He figured out what he needed to do and corrected himself. He didn’t panic. Doc’s proof that good things happen to those who work hard.”

That move would turn Halladay’s career around for the better. He pitched a full season in 2002 with an ERA 2.93 in 239.1 innings, though it wasn’t quite the typical Halladay year we would come to expect because the strikeouts were low (168) and the walks were high (62).

But at least it was a significant step forward and set the stage for a 2003 season that would be much more in line with the next nine years of Halladay’s career. 

The 26-year-old Halladay threw 266 innings with nine complete games, 204 strikeouts and 32 walks. His 6.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio was the best in baseball.

Because of his performance in 2003, the Baseball Writers Association of America awarded Halladay the first Cy Young award of his career. 

From 2004-2011, Halladay was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. He led all pitchers in Fangraphs‘ wins above replacement with 46.2, more than two full wins better than CC Sabathia. His 2.93 ERA was second among pitchers with at least 1,000 innings, behind Johan Santana.

He also had a 4.77 strikeout-to-walk ratio, trailing only Curt Schilling among starting pitchers. It should be noted that Schilling’s career ended after the 2007 season, so Halladay had four more full seasons of work. 

Halladay led the league in complete games seven times from 2003-11, including five consecutive years from 2007-11. He never threw fewer than 225 innings in a season from 2006-11 and had the best strikeout-to-walk ratio every year from 2008-11. 

During that same six-year stretch from 2006-11, Halladay never finished lower than fifth in Cy Young voting, including another win in 2010 and two runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2011. 

The wheels did come off incredibly fast, as Halladay was only able to make 25 starts in 2012 with 156.1 innings, a 4.49 ERA. His ERA+ of 90 was the first time it had been below average (100) since 2000, and his 3.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.67 was the worst since 2007. 

Then of course we saw the mess that was Halladay’s 2013 season. But from the past decade, you would be hard-pressed to find a better pitcher in baseball. Some will knock him for lack of playoff success due to limited exposure, though you can’t blame him for playing in Toronto when Boston and New York were at the peak of their financial prowess. 

I would also point out that Halladay threw the second no-hitter in playoff history in his first postseason start against Cincinnati in 2010. 

No matter how you slice it, Halladay’s career turned into something not even the most optimistic person in Toronto’s front office or development staff would have imagined after that 2000 season. 


A Hall of Famer In Waiting?

Since the past criteria about Hall of Fame pitchers is outdated—You need 300 wins! You need to be feared! Blah, blah, blah!—Halladay presents a very interesting case for Cooperstown if the voters really give him a chance. 

The length of his career wasn’t very long compared to past Hall of Famers, but the peak might be as good as you will see. To me, Halladay is a lot like Pedro Martinez.

Let me start by saying that Martinez’s best seasons (1997-2003) were better than Halladay’s (2002-03, 2008-11), but both their careers came to abrupt ends clouding their Hall of Fame credentials. 

Fortunately, Jay Jaffe developed the JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score) system that measures a specific player’s Hall of Fame candidacy by comparing careers (both overall and peak years) to other players already enshrined. 

I should note that “peak” is defined as the seven best years of a player’s career. They don’t have to be consecutive seasons, though given the way players tend to age, most of the time that is how things fall into place. 

Using Fangraphs‘ wins above replacement, Halladay’s peak years accounted for 48.6 WAR and 67.6 career. 

Based on Jaffe‘s system, Halladay is slightly better in both categories than the average of the 58 starting pitchers already elected to the Hall of Fame (46.7 WAR peak, 66.7 WAR career). 

However, one thing that this system doesn’t take into account is hardware. There have been 16 players in history to win multiple Cy Young awards.

Of that group, seven are still active or not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame (Halladay, Santana, Martinez, Tim Lincecum, Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux). Maddux, Glavine, Johnson and Martinez should go in the second they are eligible. 

(I say should because we have seen in the case of someone like Jeff Bagwell, who is a slam-dunk Hall of Famer, where writers will create their own suspicions about a player and keep him out. There is also a stigma with a lot of voters about putting someone in on the first ballot.)

Roger Clemens isn’t going to get in because of the performance-enhancing drug baggage, though he absolutely warrants inclusion based on what he did. 

That leaves eight pitchers with multiple Cy Young awards eligible for the Hall of Fame. Only Bret Saberhagen and Denny McLain in that group are not in. They were different from Halladay because their peaks were so short that there was no way they would crack the ballot. 

Saberhagen had four seasons with an fWAR over 5.0 and just three years when he got Cy Young votes. McLain pitched 10 seasons, but he only spent six full seasons as a starter and retired after 1972 at the age of 28. 

Hallday’s track record is far more impressive than Saberhagen or McLain, not to mention the fact that he was widely regarded as the best pitcher in baseball for years before his performance dropped and Justin Verlander took the throne for a couple of years. 

Regardless of how he looks now, Halladay’s resume certainly looks like that of a Hall of Famer. He meets all the logical criteria, despite not having the almighty win total because the way pitchers are used today is very different from the way they were even 20 years ago. 


The Legacy

So with all that information out there, how do we quantify what Halladay was able to do on the field? 

I am ready to put him in the Hall of Fame if Monday night was the last time he ever throws a pitch, so it’s hard to do much better than that. There will probably be a certain subset of fans and analysts who ding him for not winning a World Series. 

After all, the entire case that people used to try and get Jack Morris in the Hall of Fame were his performances in the 1984 and 1991 World Series, even though those people fail to realize just how average he was in the regular season and playoffs overall. 

How does Halladay get in without a World Series ring? Well, fortunately, thanks to advanced thinking, a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy is not tied strictly to the performance of an entire team. 

You could also argue that Halladay was the best pitcher of the last generation in baseball, putting up incredible numbers across the board in an era where offensive stats were blowing up. He was in a very select group of pitchers able to tame the mass outpouring of home runs.

Nothing that Halladay does now is going to change that. Even if the Hall of Fame doesn’t come calling, he still has one of the best six-year runs most of us will ever see. That is a strong legacy in its own right. 


Note: All stats courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted. If you want to talk baseball, feel free to hit me up on Twitter with questions or comments.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Exposing What Has Changed for Phillies’ Roy Halladay During Recent Tailspin

There’s clearly something wrong with Roy Halladay. Your eyes say so, and so do the gory numbers.

The Philadelphia Phillies‘ veteran right-hander has made two starts so far in 2013, and neither of them have been good. His totals: 7.1 innings pitched, 12 hits, six walks, three home runs, one hit batsman and two wild pitches.

Doc Halladay’s ERA after two starts is 14.73. His WHIP is 2.46. His confidence, meanwhile, has seen better days.

“This is a game of failure and I’ve had my fair share,” said Halladay after Monday’s beating at the hands of the New York Mets, via CSNPhilly.com. “Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s [rear]. I’ve been a horse’s [rear] for a little while. It’s something I’ve dealt with in the past and I think I can overcome.”

Maybe Halladay’s right, but he shouldn’t hold out hope of recapturing his old dominant ways from 2010 and 2011. It looks like that ship has sailed.

One way you can tell is by looking at Halladay’s velocity. It’s been at the center of all the “What’s wrong with Doc?” talk both in the early goings this season and most of last season, and the numbers reveal a clear decline that’s continuing so far this year.

To the right is a look at Halladay’s average sinker (i.e. two-seamer) and cutter velocity from 2010 until now, courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net.

The precise velocity numbers are going to differ depending on which site you consult. FanGraphs, for example, offers its own PITCHf/x data and data from Baseball Info Solutions. That noted, the trend is the same there: Halladay’s velocity is clearly down.

One acceptable objection to this data is that Halladay’s in the same boat as every other pitcher this time of year—he’s still building arm strength. Once he has it, his velocity will be there.

Fair enough, so let’s narrow things down a little and compare Halladay’s average sinker and cutter velocity from his first two starts this year to his average sinker and cutter velocity from 2011 and 2012 (there doesn’t appear to be any record for his first start in 2010, so we’ll skip that year).

Here you can see that Halladay had about the same kind of zip on his sinker and cutter on Monday night against the Mets that he did in his first start last year. That’s a revelation that’s slightly more encouraging than the above revelation. 

The key word there, however, is “slightly.”

The velocity readings here are still down relative to where Halladay was in 2011, a year in which he finished second in the National League Cy Young balloting on the strength of a 19-6 record and a 2.35 ERA. However, you’ll notice by comparing the two graphs that his final velocity readings for 2011 really weren’t that far off from his early-April velocity readings

You can see by comparing the two graphs that Halladay’s velocity didn’t budge much throughout the 2012 season either. His player card on BrooksBaseball.net will show that he added some velocity in May, but then he came down with that shoulder injury that sidelined him through mid-July and effectively killed his quest to regain his velocity.

That’s both encouraging and discouraging at the same time.

It’s encouraging because Halladay may have finished last season with respectable velocity readings had he not hurt his shoulder, which means he might be able to ramp up his velocity this year if his shoulder behaves.

It’s discouraging, however, because it’s impossible to ignore the correlation between Halladay’s increasing velocity in May last year and his sudden shoulder injury. The fact that he didn’t ramp up his velocity the rest of the year could be taken as a sign that his shoulder can now only handle so much.

The radar gun readings aren’t the only thing that makes you wonder about Halladay’s shoulder. 

If you’ve been paying attention to the Halladay doom watch, you’ll know that low velocity readings aren’t the only cause for concern around the campfire. There’s also been talk about his arm slot, as Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted after Halladay’s first start against the Atlanta Braves.

Here’s where I can’t resort to fancy graphics to show you what’s going on, because, well, the fancy graphics I want to show you don’t belong to me. The best I can do is point you in the right direction.

What I want you to do is open up three tabs: One for Halladay’s start against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS, one for a start he made against the Atlanta Braves last September 22, and one for his start against the Mets on Monday night. All three starts were at Citizens Bank Park, so we’re talking about the same mound being in play.

Now I want you to scroll down on each one to the graphs titled “Release Point.” If you look at the vertical location, you’ll notice that the height of Halladay’s release point goes from above six feet, to right about at six feet to below six feet.

If you can see that, then you can see what all the fuss is about. Halladay is throwing from a different arm slot, and it is lower.

One explanation for this is the shoulder injury Halladay suffered last year. It could also be intentional, which is certainly possible seeing as how there was a report from Todd Zolecki of MLB.com in March that Halladay was working to “fix some things with his delivery.” 

Regardless of the explanation, we know we’re watching a different Doc. He’s throwing differently, and he’s not throwing hard.

As for deception, well, consider the following. It’s a look at how hitters have performed against Halladay’s four primary pitches (sinker, cutter, curveball, splitter/split-change) since 2010, including his first two starts this year. If you don’t know what ISO is, it stands for Isolated Power and it’s essentially a slugging percentage that doesn’t take singles into account.

You can see that the slow stuff is working just fine in the early goings. Halladay’s only given up a couple hits on his primary off-speed pitches, and it’s worth noting that they’re responsible for 11 of his 12 strikeouts on the young season.

But the hard stuff? Not so much. A look back at the three homers Halladay has given up can give us a clue as to why that is.

The following links will take you over to MLB.com for the video highlights, but I’m going to provide some screencaps and some commentary along the way.

For starters, take a look at the pitch that Justin Upton launched for a homer off Halladay.

You can see that Erik Kratz set up low and inside for what looked like a cutter meant to freeze Upton for strike three. Instead, watch how the pitch floated over the middle of the plate—”no bueno” territory for any pitcher.

Granted, at least the pitch was a low one. Halladay may have gotten away with it if he was facing a lesser hitter. But he was facing a very good, very hot hitter, and said hitter didn’t miss.

Now take a look back at the ball that Evan Gattis sent out of the yard. While watching the video, look where Kratz sets up and then watch where the pitch ends up.

You’ll see that Kratz set up low and away for a pitch on the black, but that the pitch Halladay threw was an 88-mile-per-hour heater with virtually no movement that ended up right at Gattis‘ belt on the inside part of the plate. 

That’s the kind of mistake you can make if you’re throwing 98 MPH, but not 88. Sure enough, Gattis murdered it.

And lastly, check out the pitch that John Buck hit out of the yard on Monday night. Once again, watch where the catcher set up and where the pitch went.

Humberto Quintero set up on the outside corner to receive the pitch, and Halladay at least got the ball to the right side of the plate. However, he left it a little higher than Buck’s knees, and Buck put a very good swing on it for a home run to the opposite field.

So, of the three homers Halladay has given up this year, it’s fair to say that all three came on mistake pitches.

That would be forgivable if this was 2010 or 2011, but it’s not so forgivable now, because A) we know that Halladay isn’t making few mistakes and B) he’s clearly not going to be able to get away with the ones he does make.

Halladay’s command has been all over the place thus far. He’s walked six men in 7.1 innings, and FanGraphs plate discipline data shows that, not surprisingly, he’s throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone (look at Zone%). What’s worse is that the three pitches we just looked at show that Halladay’s command within the strike zone is lacking, and that, again, he just doesn’t have the stuff to get away with mistakes.

And that, obviously, is not the Halladay we all used to know and love. The Halladay we all knew and loved had some of the best pinpoint control in the business, not to mention stuff that had a fair amount of zip and absolutely no regard for the laws of physics.

If you’re an optimist, you see that Halladay is working with a new release point and that he’s still working out the kinks. He didn’t get much of a spring training, after all, as he was bothered by an illness and had to labor through some short outings.

But it’s nigh impossible to be anything other than realistic about what’s going on. Halladay looked like a ruined pitcher last season when he posted a 4.93 ERA in 14 starts after coming back from the disabled list in July, and he looks like even more of a ruined pitcher now.

That’s my smarty-pants assessment of what’s become of Halladay. My not-so-smarty-pants assessment of him can be summed up with two words that I think everyone will agree with: This sucks.


Note: Special thanks to BrooksBaseball.net for the data.


If you want to talk baseball, hit me up on Twitter. 

Follow zachrymer on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Four Things We Have Already Learned About Roy Halladay in 2013

Roy Halladay came into the 2013 season with question marks surrounding his performance as a co-ace in the Philadelphia Phillies rotation.

Through two awful, uncharacteristic starts, Doc is leaving fans and analysts with more questions than answers. His 14.73 ERA isn’t just unsightly; it’s unfathomable.

That is, of course, until you watch and dissect what he’s doing or, more aptly, not doing on the mound.

It’s early, but Doc’s season and career have reached a crossroads. For the Phillies to rebound from the disappointment of an 81-81 campaign in 2012, Halladay’s performance is crucial.

As he searches for answers, trends in his performance and approach can be spotted.

Here are four things we have already learned about Roy Halladay in 2013.

1. He doesn’t trust his fastball

Percentage of time Roy Halladay has thrown his fastball since arriving in Philly, 2010-present, year-by-year: 37.4, 22.6, 19.4, 17.9. Yikes.

The main concern around Doc has been velocity, but surviving in the 87-89 mph range can happen for a smart, efficient pitcher if he trusts himself to locate that pitch on the corners and down in the zone.

Those numbers, via the indispensable Baseball Info Solutions, show a pitcher who is more comfortable throwing breaking and off-speed stuff, regardless of the count or batter.

Much of Doc’s greatness stems from getting ahead in the count. That’s something he’s failing to do at an alarming rate early in the season.

Last week, Halladay only threw 57.9 percent of his pitches for strikes in Atlanta. In 378 career starts, he’s only posted a lower percentage in 15 of those starts. On Monday, he got ahead with first pitch strikes to only 10 of the 22 hitters faced. No matter how good his secondary stuff is, Halladay must get ahead with his fastball to survive.

When he throws the fastball, he lacks command and falls behind. Thus, he’s abandoning the pitch almost entirely, narrowing the options for hitters to focus on.

2. Mental, not physical, issues are the problem

That’s the explanation Halladay gave to reporters in Philadelphia on Monday night. If that is the case, the bigger issue might be Doc reverting into the pre-star form he showed in Toronto.

When Halladay lost the strike zone, was unable to retire hitters with any regularity and became mentally lost as a young pitcher, Toronto sent him down to Low-A ball. That’s the story fans have heard over and over.

What’s less publicized is the guidance provided by the late sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman.

Halladay mentioned a quote that Dorfman relayed to him when assessing his mental issues on the mound.

“Harvey used to tell me when you try to catch a bird, if you’re flailing at it, trying to grab for it, you’re never going to catch it,” Halladay said to CSN Philly. “You have to hold your hands out and let it land in your hands. It’s the same way with pitching. You have to stick to your routine, stick to your program and let it come to you.”

It’s clear that one of the smartest and most cerebral pitchers in baseball is over-thinking his approach on the mound.

3. Opposing batters are no longer uncomfortable in the box

Usually terms like “uncomfortable” are reserved for power pitchers and hard-throwers. For example, Matt Harvey, the young, ascending Mets right-hander, made the Phillies batters look uncomfortable all night long.

In his prime, despite never possessing an overpowering fastball like Randy Johnson or Justin Verlander, Halladay had the ability to make the box batters enter his domain—intimidating for hitters to step in and never a place to feel comfortable.

Due to his inconsistency, lack of confidence and an even further drop in velocity, that feeling is gone.

In the fourth inning of Monday night’s game with New York, Matt Harvey, the opposing pitcher, worked a nine-pitch at-bat. To put that in perspective, Halladay has twice thrown complete games with less than 90 total pitches. If Matt Harvey can battle and foul pitches off, real hitters can tee-off.

It took 95 pitches for Doc to get through 3.1 IP in Atlanta. Last night, 99 were needed to retire 12 batters. At this rate, we’ll never see another complete game from Halladay again.

4. An encouraging sign: Halladay is still missing bats at a high rate

As with everything else, this should be prefaced with the following words: Small. Sample. Size.

That being said, Halladay does have one thing going for him early on this season: strikeouts.

In fact, his 12 strikeouts in 7.1 IP is good enough for a rate of 14.73 per nine innings. Never known as a strikeout pitcher—career average of 6.94 per nine—Halladay is generating swings and missing with two strikes using his off-speed stuff.

Can this rate continue? It would be highly, highly unlikely. Even if it came down to around eight or nine Ks per nine, Doc will be in a better position to succeed. For all that will be made about his unsightly ERA, his current xFIP (4.04), which factors in K-rate and league average FB/HR percentage, isn’t horrible.

To reclaim success or “re-invent” himself, Halladay might need to strike hitters out at a higher rate. During his first start in Atlanta, 90 percent of his outs were via strikeout. The 10 batters who didn’t post a K went six-for-seven with two home runs.

While the notion of a declining pitcher striking more batters out as age creeps up and velocity ticks down may seem strange, take a look at what Andy Pettitte did last year for the New York Yankees.

Despite the lowest average fastball velocity (87.8) of his long career, Pettitte struck out more batters per inning (8.24) than in any season since 2004. In fact, that number represented the highest strikeout rate of his entire career.

Halladay is in decline, but it doesn’t mean he can’t generate strikeouts.

What is your level of concern with Roy Halladay?

Comment below, follow me on Twitter @JoeGiglioSports or “Like” my Facebook page to talk all things baseball.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fate Pulls Roy Halladay, Phillies and Blue Jays into Spotlight Together Again

Roy Halladay’s 2013 spring training performance has been just shy of disastrous.

Halladay was cuffed around again in his most recent trip to the mound, a four-inning, 81-pitch seven-hit slog against a lineup comprised of Triple-A hitters, per Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.

How bad was it? He only retired seven out of 18 batters. One of the innings was halted by Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee with the bases loaded and two out—presumably because the Phillies did not want Halladay rearing back to get out of the exhibition jam only to hurt himself for real.

Take a minute and think about how desolate things have become for Halladay when his corner man has to temporarily stop the fight against a Triple-A lineup.

This was hardly the step forward Halladay or the Phillies were hoping for, following consecutive appearances that saw Halladay touched up by the Detroit Tigers and then removed after one inning against the Baltimore Orioles complaining of a stomach virus.

Spring training statistics are meaningless, but spring training radar-gun readings? They do not lie.

Halladay himself conceded Saturday, for the first time meaningfully and honestly, that he will have to pitch for the foreseeable future (perhaps until he is done) with a diminished arsenal.

Halladay’s candor is admirable, though there probably was no point in denying the obvious.

Per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Halladay rarely touched 90 mph with any of his pitches. Perhaps the most disconcerting part of that reality is that Halladay said after the game that he feels great.

“My goal today going in was to feel good, be strong all the way through, to feel like my arm slot was repeating, and I felt like that was there,” said Halladay.

The Phillies would probably rather have heard that Halladay was “still building arm strength” or even that he “is still not 100 percent back.” At least that would have given some hope that the Cy Young version of Halladay is in there somewhere.

But if Halladay feels great and cannot hit 90 on the gun with his fastball, what next?

Stark’s blog piece (even more cautionary than the overview story he filed) included some four-alarm-bell quotes from Halladay.

“I don’t know of any guys throwing harder as they got older,” Halladay said. “A lot of the guys I’ve played with, I’ve watched…I’ve watched (other older pitchers) evolve and do different things. I’ve never seen a guy that threw harder as he got older.”

So Halladay is going to become Greg Maddux now?

The curious part of Saturday’s debacle and Thursday’s upcoming “final tuneup” for Halladay before he faces the Atlanta Braves in a game that counts is the opponent.

The Triple-A outfit that handed Halladay his head Saturday belonged to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Halladay will face the Blue Jays’ major leaguers (some of them, anyway) on Thursday.

Baseball is a funny game. Half a generation ago, Halladay was throwing seeds and BBs for the Blue Jays, winning two Cy Young awards for them in 12 years but never sniffing postseason play.

Halladay accepted a trade to the Phillies for the 2010 season and signed a contract extension with them because he figured it was an E-ZPass lane to the playoffs.

“It was an easy decision for me. Once the opportunity came up for me to be part of this, it was something I couldn’t pass up,” Halladay said at the time (per ESPN.com).

Look at the picture three scant years later.

The Phillies are coming off an 81-81 season and are solid favorites in the National League East…for third place.

Halladay is struggling mightily.

Conversely, the Blue Jays are favored to win the American League East and maybe even the World Series (per Bovada).

And in a few days, in an otherwise mundane preseason game, the Blue Jays have a chance to put another blemish on Halladay’s hope of finding what he has lost.

When Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos traded Halladay, he tacitly admitted that by the time his team would be ready to contend, Halladay would probably not be “that pitcher” anymore.

Quickly, the Phillies and the Blue Jays are finding out how prescient he was.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Why the Toronto Blue Jays Do Not Need to Sign Josh Johnson Long Term

The Toronto Blue Jays have done a tremendous job remodeling their team into a playoff contender during the offseason.

No. Make that a World Series contender.

I may be getting a little ahead of myself, but the odds makers in Las Vegas have them pegged as the clear favorites.

What’s even more impressive: Almost every major player they have acquired this season is set to wear a Blue Jays uniform for at least a few years, except starting pitcher Josh Johnson. Johnson will make $13.75 million this season as his four-year contract comes to an end (originally signed by the Miami Marlins).

While Johnson will not be the “Ace” or opening day starter for the Blue Jays, he will play a vital role in the Jays success or failures this season.

But you have to wonder if Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos wants to dish out the money to have him as a staple in the rotation for another couple of years, or if will he let him walk at the end of 2013.

Beyond this year, the Jays will have R.A. Dickey, Mark Bheurle, Brandon Morrow and Rickey Romero still in their rotation. Adding Johnson makes that one of the best—if not the best—in baseball. But  how much do the Blue Jays lose by taking him away?

I think that depends on who you  replace him with. There are plenty of options available to the Blue Jays in 2014.

Personally, while I think having him in the rotation will be amazing and fun to watch every fifth day, I don’t think future success beyond this year warrants giving him a Felix Hernandez-type contract. And while I don’t think Johnson will be able to get that kind of money ($175 million over 7 years) from anyone, there’s reason to believe he can get a hefty payday by testing the free-agent waters.

If the Blue Jays are willing to spend money and looking at locking up a guy long term they can always resign Johnson. The players expected to hit the free agent market provide some intrigue.

  • Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum: This is the same Lincecum the Jays could have had if they parted with Alex Rios in the infamous trade that wasn’t. How does that look now, J.P. Ricciardi?  While Lincecum was banished to the bullpen last year, I think that he has too much raw talent to not bounce back and be a very good starter once again. If he has another bad year, do the Jays look at getting him—hopefully, cheaper—than any other two-time Cy Young winner?

  • Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez: I link the two together because they are both pieces that wouldn’t bring to the table what Johnson brings, but would get the job done on the back end. If Rickey Romero bounces back to his 2011 form, do the Jays need a Josh Johnson, or would they prefer a Garza or Jimenez? I don’t think they would command anywhere near the same kind of money that Johnson would, even if both Garza and Jimenez have good years. They are steady veterans that give you a chance to win.
  • Roy Halladay: Potentially, the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher could hit the market. While Doc has stated he wants to finish his career in Philadelphia with the Phillies, I think it would be a pretty classy move to bring him back to Toronto for a couple of years to be another veteran arm in a formidable rotation.

We also can’t forget about in-house options the Blue Jays have—all those guys on the farm that were looking at being possible hopefuls for this year’s rotation before AA’s wheeling and dealing. There are guys that will start at Triple AAA, Double AA or the disabled list that would have been given an extra look, and opportunity to make the big league club in April of 2013.

But because there are a number of veterans poised to slot into the rotation, this list of candidates gets some extra time to develop their game on the farm and, barring any injury, will stay there for the whole year and compete for that supposedly vacant spot in 2014.

  • Chad Jenkins made his debut last year with the Jays. He posted a 1-3 record with a 4.50 ERA in 13 games, including three starts. Jenkins showed some promise last year, and would be most likely to be called up first in the event of an injury. Either he or J.A. Happ would get the chance to start, and I thought deserved a chance to start before the moves were made. I don’t think he figures into the team’s long term success, though, so he may not be an option to replace Johnson.

  • Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchinson are coming off Tommy John surgery and will get an entire year and off-season to regain their arm strength. Both will be looking to find a spot on the big league roster when they return, and both have a legitimate case to make. Drabek was starting to mold into the pitcher the Blue Jays hoped he would be when they traded Halladay to get him. He was 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA and a WHIP of 1.60, and improving with every start. The 23-year-old Hutchinson was called up to the big league roster almost out of necessity after the first week or so into the season. In 11 starts, he went 5-3 with an ERA of 4.60 and 1.35 WHIP. He will be 23 this year and will hope to bounce back from a tough injury at a young age. TThese guys are probably the cheapest low risk/high reward options for the Jays in 2014.

Other names you can throw out there include Dustin McGowan, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Daniel Norris, Marcus Stroman, Deck McGuire and Adonys Cardona. With the exception of McGowan, it may be too soon to bring them up, but you never know how they may develop over the course of 2013.

But should injuries occur to the starting 5, some of these names may get a big league debut this season, and an extended look heading into 2014. As for McGowan, if he ever gets a lucky break and finds that his arm allows him to compete, I think the Jays will give him every chance to make the rotation.

It has happened a few times in the past where athletes perform at their best level when on their final contract year (A.J. Burnett for example threw 200 innings  went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA and opted out, as his contract allowed after year three, his best season).

If Johnson looks like he is leaning towards cashing in on a big pay day on the market, then let him go out there and show the whole league why he deserves that money.

It’s debatable whether Johnson wants to pursue free agency. Shi Davedi  writes  in a recent article that free agency doesn’t really appeal to Johnson. While it could be something his agent told him to say, It could be true and he may want to be with the Jays for a lengthy period of time.

The Jays have a handful of options. I don’t think signing Johnson long term is an immediate need for this team.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Philadelphia Phillies: Thanks to Ruben Amaro Jr., the End Is Near

The Philadelphia Phillies have not had a losing season since 2002, when they finished 80-81. The last ten seasons have provided the faithful fan base in Philadelphia with more things to cheer about than to jeer about. Unfortunately though, the end is near. 

It wasn’t the farcical Mayan Apocalypse that dashed the hopes of Phillies fans everywhere. No. It was the mismanagement of a roster and farm system that will cause the destruction of arguably the best decade of baseball in this franchise’s history. 

Who is to blame?

People will easily point fingers at the players. Most notably, Ryan Howard’s disappointing lack of production along with an additional projected decrease as his salary increases through the next several years is causing flack among Phillies fans.

Despite all this, Howard is not to blame.

Charlie Manuel developed a reputation for being a manager who knows how to instruct and correct batting issues from the get-go. It is sad to say, but one of the problems with the Phillies has been the ability to hit effectively and drive in runs on a consistent basis in recent years.

Still, managers in baseball are the most innocuous figureheads in professional sports. They matter much less than head coaches in the NFL and NBA.

The problem resides with the front office.

On November 3, 2008, Ruben Amaro Jr. succeeded Pat Gillick as the general manager of the Phillies, directly after the Phillies won the 2008 World Series. Since then, a series of gaffes and questionable transactions have compounded the problems for the Phillies, diminishing their relevance in not only their specific division, the National League East, but the entire National League as well.


On April 26, 2010, less than two years after his promotion to GM, Amaro Jr. signed the soon-to-be 31-year-old first baseman Ryan Howard to a 5-year, $125 million contract extension. The deal called for a club option on the sixth year. 

Despite holding the single-season HR record for a Phillie as well as many other records, Howard’s production is on the decline. Coming off an Achilles tear, Howard struggled mightily last season. Some believe that Howard should regain his ability to produce at an elite level in 2013, while others dismiss him as an oft-injured slugger prone to striking out who can’t play defense and is on the decline.

Whichever way you see him, Howard is definitely a controversial piece to the puzzle of where things went wrong with Amaro Jr.

Amaro Jr. does deserve some credit. Despite selling the best prospects in the farm system and spending cash hand over fist, Amaro Jr. has amassed talent in the form of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence, Roy Oswalt and Jonathan Papelbon.

While these names are enticing, their deals probably are not. Take Papelbon, for example. He was given the richest contract in history for a reliever. The problem is that a deal worth $60 million for a pitcher who is tasked with attaining three outs per game is asinine.

Especially when the money could have been used to give the rest of the bullpen or 25-man roster more depth.

2013 will be a telling year for Amaro Jr. He will either look like a genius or possibly lose his job. He deserves to be knocked hard for acquiring, then trading away Gio Gonzalez. He also shipped Chris Singleton out of the organization.

Meanwhile, many fans are disheartened at the lack of talented acquisitions during the 2012-13 off-season.

Ben Revere? John Lannan? Both guys are nice players, but Revere has one of the highest ground ball rates in baseball while Lannan is extremely ordinary on the hill. Meanwhile, fan favorite Vance Worley—a man who, when healthy, is an extremely effective young pitcher—was shipped out of town.

The Phillies have thus far failed to secure a deal for the likes of Justin Upton, Jason Kubel or Dexter Fowler.

2013 will speak volumes for what Amaro Jr. has done for the Phillies franchise. The roster is the least talented of any roster the Phillies have had since 2005, which is why this is the year where Amaro Jr.’s legacy will be shaped.

As to whether or not he has a job as GM in Philadelphia come October, that remains anyone’s guess.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress