If I had to pick one word to describe Roy Halladay‘s 2013 campaign with the Phillies, I’d choose heartbreaking.
Every night, I held my breath, hoping that a proud man such as Halladay would find a small portion of the success that led him to over 200 wins, six top-five Cy Young finishes, and two Cy Young wins in his career. And for each of his 13 starts in 2013, my face nearly turned blue.
First, the numbers: highest ERA, WHIP, and BB/9 IP since the year 2000 and his lowest win total since 2000, lowest K/9 IP since 2007, and his lowest innings pitched total since his 1998 cameo with the Blue Jays. Second, the hopes unfulfilled: expected to be healthy and be among the three aces leading the Phillies rotation, Halladay’s velocity continued to diminish, dropping to 88.7 MPH, a near four MPH drop since joining the Phillies in 2010.
Despite Halladay’s struggles in 2012 (11-8, 4.49 ERA), he still was worth about 2.5 wins according to FanGraphs; Halladay’s struggles in 2013 were worth negative 0.8 wins. If 2012 was a bad dream, 2013 was a nightmare for Halladay: seven out of his 13 starts lasted five innings or less, including his final outing on September 23 against the Marlins that lasted only one third of an inning.
Grade: F. I wish I didn’t have to do this, but it’s the only grade that fits. The F is descriptive of the performance, of a superstar falling out of the stratosphere, coming back to earth, and hitting rock bottom. Halladay is a free agent heading into 2014 and this will not be the last written about the righty. And knowing Halladay, this isn’t going to be the last written about his performance. Halladay will be a Major League pitcher again in 2014, looking to make this performance a distant memory. Whether or not it is with the Phillies remains to be seen.