October 17, 2010

Roy Halladay...(Im)mortal?!?

Alright…so Roy Halladay is human I guess.

We assumed that to some extent though, right?

Yes, we all saw flashes of super human activity back in May when the Philadelphia Phillies ace threw that perfect game against the Marlins. And yes, earlier this month, the righty threw, arguably, a much better game when he became just the second pitcher ever to throw a no-no in the postseason.

But let’s be fair, the dude has just those two wickedly insane outings in 322 career starts…not 322 of them.

And when he gave up those two solo shots to San Francisco outfielder Cody Ross Saturday night, it wasn’t like it was the first time someone victimized the All-World pitcher twice in one game.

Matter of fact…it was the seventh time that it has happened.

Again, the guy is human.


Now, I painted Halladay’s career with an absurdly broad brush, so I can get to the point much quicker and here it comes…if Roy Halladay woke up tomorrow and retired, he’s in Cooperstown in five years.

Yup…I said it.

And no, naysayers, I don’t mean he’s “in” in the sense that, yes, the cap from his May 29 perfect game is already on display and the jersey from his 2010 NLCS Game One performance will be joining it.

I mean it in the sense that, after twelve full seasons in the bigs…this cat should already be writing his induction speech.

Let’s break it down.

Sure, the perfect game and no-hitter combo is cute and we all know that only seven pitchers in the game have pulled off the feat, but it’s that and the rest of Halladay’s resume that make him a no-brainer for me.

Simply put, “Doc” is the most dominating pitcher this past decade.

Some skeptics might point out 2000, when Halladay, in just his second full year in the Majors, put up the worst ERA (10.49) in history for any pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched.

But if anyone does that, they’re an idiot.

Since 2001, Halladay has a 156-72 record…good for a .684 winning percentage. Overall, his 169 career victories, while not earth shattering, put him fourth on the active list behind Jamie Moyer (267), Andy Pettitte (240) and Tim Wakefield (193). But considering those three range in age from 38 to 47 (“Doc” is just 33)…I’d say Halladay isn’t doing all that bad.

But is that winning percentage alone Hall-worthy? Probably not.

Over at Baseball-Reference.com, the ten “similar players” are an interesting lot. Four of them (CC Sabathia, Roy Oswalt, Tim Hudson and Johan Santana) are currently active, one (Dizzy Dean) is a Hall of Famer and another (Ron Guidry) had, in my mind, a very Hall of Fame-type career.

The other four (Bret Saberhagen, Don Newcombe, Larry Corcoran and Eddie Lopat) were, by all accounts, no slouches either. Not Hall of Famers…but not terrible.

It’s tricky to compare Halladay with those who have already come and gone though considering that, with a hair fewer than 2300 innings pitched, “Doc” would have thrown the ninth fewest innings of any of the nearly 70 pitchers already in Cooperstown.

And of those with fewer innings pitched, one is Dean, two are pitchers (Satchel Paige and Candy Cummings) who played a combined 12 years in the bigs, four are relievers (Hoyt Wilhelm, Goose Gossage, Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter) and Babe Ruth.

Basically, you’ve gotta compare Halladay with his contemporaries. So what about the guys he’s out there battling against now?

Well, in the last five years, he is the only pitcher in the Majors with 16 or more wins in five straight seasons. And as a kicker…Halladay can boast a sub-2.80 ERA in the last three years. Twice in those three years (and three times in his career), Halladay put up 20-plus wins.

He also has a run of three straight seasons with more than 200 strikeouts and less than 40 walks. Only three other pitchers have done that twice.

This off season, Halladay is, by all accounts and predictions, set to bring home his second Cy Young Award and with it, will join Gaylord Perry, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez to have won the honor in both leagues. And with 58 complete games and 19 shutouts, he is tops among active pitchers.

Roy Halladay is just getting started, friends. Don’t let the pair of home runs by Cody Ross confuse you as to whether or not he has super powers, because after breaking it all down…he might.

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