Analysis

Who Will Halladay Become?

halladay-no-hitter6Reinvented is the chic term in Philadelphia. It’s being used to describe what people believe will be the saving grace in the career of Roy Halladay: reinvention. Can Doc learn to pitch with decreased velocity, honing his off-speed pitches when his fastball lacks the same pop it did during a decade-long run as the best pitcher in the world?

No one knows. And quitting and failure aren’t in Halladay’s vernacular, so we’ll be left to take a wait and see approach. Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro are doing the same, they said so themselves on Tuesday. Amaro told reporters that they would give Halladay as long as he would need to become the pitcher they all believe he can still be.

But what kind of pitcher is that, exactly?

Father Time’s win streak will stay intact, but in the case of Halladay, he hopes to push him off just a little longer. Some in the business were able to do it (with or without PED’s) better than others.

Using Fangraphs’ WAR, Halladay ranks 33rd all time at 68.2. In that range are, obviously, some of the best of all time. And at some point each of those pitchers had to face the fact that their ability was diminishing, velocity decreasing, repertoire lacking.

Take John Smoltz for instance. The Altanta Brave great ranks 23rd all time with 78.4 WAR. He spent 21 seasons in the majors, winning the Cy Young Award in 1996. In 2007, at age 40, he turned in a fantastic season, going 14-8 with a 3.11 ERA. A half-decade earlier, Smoltz had been one of the best closers in the game for a three-year stretch before returning to the rotation. He reinvented himself a few times during his career, and at 42, he had completed 20 seasons in the major leagues.

Kevin Appier doesn’t stand out as an all-time great, but he does rank 80th all time in WAR for pitchers. Appier churned out roughly a decades worth of solid seasons, toiling in Kansas City for the most part. In 2002 at 34-years old while with the Angels, he churned out a respectable season with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. The next, his career was pretty much over. No reinvention.

Basically, Halladay is heading into the unknown. He either goes the route of some of the greats that lasted, but eventually fell off the cliff. Or, he figures it out and finishes his illustrious career by aging gracefully.

 

 

 

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Lefty

    April 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Good piece, Pat. We wait with bated breath to find out the answer.

    IF Dutch is right and his arm slot change is due to pain that he won’t admit to, then it could be a long wait. The first thing alcoholics must do to heal themselves, is recognize that they are what they are. I think the same goes for athletes that try to fight the pain because they think they have to, in order to stay playing the game that has been their whole life.

    He can re-invent, he’s got the determination, I mean, he’s Doc. But first he has to be true to himself, whether it’s just lost velocity, or pain.

    • frank

      April 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      The problem is if it is pain and it’s his shoulder, then I don’t see him reinventing himself. That could be why there appears to be so much pain in his face. If it is not pain, I think he could become very good, mainly because he did it years ago in Toronto.

  2. SikWillie

    April 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    He will be just fine provided there is no physical reasons. Doc will Rok!

  3. Bart Shart

    April 10, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Halladay will become Robin Roberts….the flamethrower of the 1950’s Phillies and winner of 20 plus games for six straight years, reinvented himself when he signed with the Orioles after a terrible season where he went 1 and 11. He went on to win a bunch of games as an Oriole, ending up with over 280 victories and a Hall-of-Fame career.

  4. George

    April 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I find it possible that Halladay’s velocity is down and his command is suffering because he’s changed his arm slot so drastically when he didn’t need to. I wonder what might happen if he tried to get back to his old mechanics instead of thinking he has to change his approach and trying so hard to do so. What worked before may be the answer, at least for now.

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