Analysis

This Halladay Looks More Like Blanton

After three straight promising starts Roy Halladay turned in another clunker Tuesday night. In allowing eight runs on nine hits and two walks, Halladay finished April with a 6.75 ERA, 5.73 FIP and a ghastly 2.25 HR/9. He cost the Phillies 0.3 WAR last month.

MLB Network noted this morning that Halladay’s 5.59 ERA over the last calendar year (April 30, 2012 to April 30, 2013) is the second-worst among starters with 150 innings thrown. Only Ubaldo Jimenez has prevented runs at a worse rate.

In third place on that list is Joe Blanton, the former Phillie whose struggles to prevent runs in spite of impressive strikeout, walk and groundball rates is well known in these parts.

Unfortunately, Blanton is the most comparable pitcher to Halladay over the last calendar year.

Based on the splits and filters offered at Fangraphs, Halladay and Blanton are the only two pitchers to fall into the following criteria since April 30, 2012: K/9 between 7.5 and 8.3, BB/9 between 1.8 and 2.5, GB% between 40% and 45% and FIP between 4.30 and 4.50.

Their numbers are almost identical in this span:

Halladay: 8.3 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.6 HR/9, 43.8% GB, 17.8% HR/FB, 4.35 FIP, 1.1 WAR
Blanton:  7.7 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 1.6 HR/9, 44.0% GB, 17.4% HR/FB, 4.40 FIP, 1.1 WAR

While those K, BB and GB rates are solid, they don’t often translate into success when pitches are left over the middle of the plate and knocked out of the park. Whether it’s injuries or simply a decline in pure ability, Roy Halladay has been a different pitcher for over a year now. Unfortunately, that different pitcher resembles Joe Blanton more than anyone else.

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