Sunday, March 6, 2011

Just How Good is Roy Halladay?

Roy Halladay is one of the best pitchers in the major leagues, if not the best, and it's not just because of his career 3.32 ERA, it's because of his intangibles and what he can bring to the team that he is pitching for. When opposing batters step into the box to face Halladay, they know that they're facing a man who can put the fastball wherever he wants to with pinpoint accuracy and can throw a 12-6 curve that would buckle anyone's knees. Halladay is the perfect pitcher.

2010 was Halladay's year, he recorded a MLB-leading 21 wins while throwing 250 2/3 innings, another MLB high. In addition to his phenomenal endurance last year, Halladay threw nine complete games and four shutouts, two more MLB highs for the year. Not to mention the no-hitter that he posted during the playoffs.

Last year, Halladay put up a near sub-one WHIP, a 1.04 for the season. His career WHIP sits at 1.18, a stunningly low number for a pitcher who has thrown the most innings over the last five years. By averaging just over a hit or walk per inning pitched, Halladay is able to maintain is dominance. By not allowing men on base, he is able to keep his pitch count low and close out games, which helps his bullpen out by giving them a rest every fifth day.

In Halladay's first season with the Phillies he was able to drop his ERA by 35 points, going from 2.79 in Toronto in 2009 to 2.44 with Philadelphia in 2010. This is partly to be expected by the pitcher moving into the less powerful National League, but in playing an entire season pitching to players that he had never seen, decreasing his ERA that significantly is impressive.

Halladay has the pitching style of a traditional power pitcher, he crowds the batter down and inside, making sure that if they make contact with the ball they will drive it into the ground for a harmless ground-out. Most successful pitchers are those who can pitch to contact instead of trying to burn the ball past the batter three straight times.

While Halladay pitches right-handers and left-handers similarly, left-handers hold an almost 30 point edge over their right-handed counterparts. Against lefties, Hallday has an ERA of .259 whereas righties have only been able to bat .231 against the pitcher.

Having a pitcher the caliber of Halladay on the staff is enough to make any major league manager giddy, but the Phillies have rounded up one of the most impressive pitching rotations to date. With Halladay being named their opening day starter, their rotation fills out like this; Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton.

Halladay appears to be healthy this spring and shows no signs of not being on top of his game again this year; batters beware, if the guy on the mounds name is Halladay, you best be ready to head back to the bench because you're not getting anything off this guy.

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