Despite His Struggles Roy Halladay is Still the Best Third Starter in Baseball

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Roy Halladay is Still the Best Third Pitcher in Major League Baseball

Roy Halladay is Still the Best Third Pitcher in Major League Baseball
Steve Mitchel - USATODAY Sports

Roy Halladay hasn’t looked like his standard, dominant, self lately for the Philadelphia Phillies, but he is still the best third starter in all of Major League Baseball. Sure the Philadelphia Phillies are paying $20 million for an ace whose fastball speed dropped and his ERA nearly doubled between 2011 and 2012. Still, experts by and large believe that Halladay’s inevitable age regression will be comparable to rolling a ball down the stairs instead of off the roof. His statistics won’t plummet to the floor; his decline will be a bit more gradual.

Keep in mind that the Quality Start statistic refers to a pitcher who goes six innings and only allows three or fewer runs. If a pitcher did that every start his ERA would be 4.50. Roy Halladay is still capable of quality.

Roy is no longer a front line, top tier starting pitcher. This new reality doesn’t devastate the Phillies, because they already have two of them in Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. A viable, above average third starter is still very valuable. During the regular season it doesn’t matter what “number” starter you are, after a few weeks the various, everyday variables of the Major League grind take effect and before you know it aces are pitching against number four starters and all order is lost.

Where Roy Halladay will show his value is in the playoffs. In the playoffs the numbers align (usually), aces go against aces, threes against threes, and so on. Here is a look at the number three starters on teams the Phillies could potentially play in the playoffs, and how Halladay matches up on paper.

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Atlanta Braves

Braves
Dan Shirey - USATODAY Sports

No Clear Number three : Tim Hudson/Mike Minor/Paul Maholm

Advantage: Give me Roy Halladay over any of those three pitchers, and think of Tim Hudson as a model for elegant pitcher regression

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Washington Nationals

Nationals
Evan Habeeb - USATODAY Sports

Jordan Zimmerman

Advantage : Halladay by a nose. Zimmerman has a lot of potential, so this match up is one that needs to be readdressed after a few regular season starts, but as of now I like Roy's experience over Jordan's potential

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St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinal
Peter G. Aiken - USATODAY Sports

Jake Westbrook/Laynce Lynn

Advantage : Halladay, I’ll take his big game experience over a sophomore and a career 4.30 ERA

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Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers
Steve Mitchell - USATODAY Sports

Marco Estrada

Advantage : Halladay wins in another case of age over beauty

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Cincinatti Reds

Reds
Rick Scuteri - USATODAY Sports

Bronson Arroyo

Advantage : Halladay Arroyo is a solid third starter, and the Phillies advantage over him says more about how deep the Phillies are than anything else

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Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers
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Josh Beckett

Advantage : Halladay’s regression started last year, and he still had a lower ERA than Beckett last year… and every year of their careers except 2007

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San Francisco Giants

Giants
Frank Victores - USATODAY Sports

Ryan Vogelsong/Tim Lincecum

Advantage : Push. This one depends on which Tim Lincecum shows up this season, because I’d take Halladay over Vogelsong any day and last year’s Halladay over last year’s Lincecum. Since Big Time Timmy Jim is still young he could bounce back. I leave this one a toss up, and will readdress it later

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Arizona Diamondbacks

D-Backs
Rick Scuteri - USATODAY Sports

Wade Miley/Brandon McCarthy

Advantage : Halladay, Though I like both of these guys, I like Halladay’s chances in a big game more. Halladay never gets overwhelmed by the moment, we know that because we’ve seen him perform. We haven’t seen the same from either of these pitchers, as McCarthy has been injury prone (which is what happens when you treat a line drive like a header in soccer... through no fault of his own) and Miley is still young.

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