Despite His Struggles Roy Halladay is Still the Best Third Starter in Baseball
Roy Halladay is Still the Best Third Pitcher in Major League Baseball
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.
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
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
St. Louis Cardinals
Jake Westbrook/Laynce Lynn
Advantage : Halladay, I’ll take his big game experience over a sophomore and a career 4.30 ERA
Advantage : Halladay wins in another case of age over beauty
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
Los Angeles Dodgers
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
San Francisco Giants
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
Wade Miley/Brandon McCarthyAdvantage : 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.