Roy Halladay

As Dave talked about, the Phillies downgraded their farm system to swap out an ace who wanted to test the free-agent waters next year, Cliff Lee, for another who was willing to sign a bargain extension, Roy Halladay. Halladay is also a slight upgrade over Lee.

Over the past three years Halladay has been the second most valuable pitcher in the game and one of only seven twenty-win players. He excels at limiting walks (under two per nine in each of the last five seasons) and getting ground balls (never less than 50% GB per BIP), while striking out an average to above-average (in the past two years) number of batters. That combination is more than enough to make him an elite pitcher.

In the build-up to the last season’s trade deadline, when it looked like he might be dealt, I broke down his stuff. He throws a cutter, two-seam fastball, curveball and the occasional changeup. In that piece I noted that he throws his cutter and two-seam fastball frequently to both RHBs and LHBs, giving him two fastballs against all batters. Here I wanted to look at where, horizontally, these fastballs were thrown compared to the average RHP’s. Here is how it looks to RHBs.
RHPs throw their cutter away to RHBs. Halladay does this even more so: he rarely throws the pitch inside and very often throws it to the outer fourth of the plate. But his two-seam location is different than average. While the average RHP throws his two-seam fastball down the middle of the plate to RHBs, Halladay throws it extremely inside.
Against LHPs we see the mirrored pattern, with the pitches switching roles. Overall this means that Halladay has a fastball he can locate on the inner or outer quarter of the plate against both LHBs and RHBs. This allows him to throw strikes without having to throw over the heart of the plate while mixing up the horizontal location of his pitches. I am sure this is a huge part of his success.

Print This Post

Dave Allen's other baseball work can be found at Baseball Analysts.

27 Responses to “Roy Halladay”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Matt B. says:

    He was actually pretty unlucky to righties this year, maybe he was struggling to find the ‘ideal’ location of the cutter or 2-seamer…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. says:

    All while pitching in the AL East…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. I also throw a 2-seam fastball and a cutter as my primary pitches. Should I be taking notes?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. NEPP says:

    Getting Halladay is awesome for the Phillies.
    Losing Lee…not so much.

    Since its not really a 3 way deal, the Phillies are being a bit foolish to not try and get a bit more for Lee. Big win for the Mariners.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Jon says:

    Slightly better than Lee? Halladay’s xFIP the last 2 years was a half run better than Lee’s, and a full run better over their careers. Then you have to consider that Halladay throws more innings, and that an extreme groundball pitcher is a better fit for CBP than a flyball pitcher.

    I think the Phillies will get around about 40 more innings at about 0.7 lower ERA from Halladay compared to what they would have gotten from Lee. I’d call that a significant upgrade.

    That’s not even factoring in the difference in quality of hitters each faced the last 2 years. I’m pretty sure the ALE is tougher to pitch in than the ALC and NLE.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. hk says:

    The Halladay trade is a fantastic deal for the Phillies. My only problem with it is that had they done it in July in conjunction with the Lee trade, they might have won the World Series.

    I am not so sold on the Lee trade to Seattle. With Lackey signing with Boston, I would think that the Phillies could play the Angels and Mariners against one another to get more than what they are apparently going to get. Since the Phils aren’t using any of the prospects acquired from Seattle in the Toronto deal, I’m not sure why they have to do both deals simultaneously.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. PhillyFriar says:

    This really hammers home how great Halladay’s command is. I wonder what grade major league scouts would put on it. At least a 70, right?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • opisgod says:

      Minus the stupid gibberish, the MLB video with the at-bat of David Ortiz’s 3rd strikeout in a row after getting plunked in the 1st says it all. I mention it because we get nice trials of how the pitch moved.

      1st pitch: Cutter outside, caught just inside the strike zone, hacked at.
      2nd pitch: Sinker down and in, caught just below the inside-low corner to entice a chase, ball.
      3rd pitch: 2-seam on outside corner of the strike zone, caught well outside, trying to entice a chase on an unhittable pitch, ball.
      4th pitch: Curveball to the outside part of the plate, caught just below the down-away corner, hacked at.
      5th pitch: Cutter headed to the middle of the plate that ends up just barely staying inside, taken.

      Not since Greg Maddux, maybe never again.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. astrostl says:

    Whoa, I didn’t know about the “past N years” options from the month dropdown! Looks like you can start at a previous year and select it too (e.g. select 2007 as the year, past 3 years as the “month,” and get aggregated 2004-2007 stats).

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. chrisvec says:

    To me, this trade makes sense for the Phils, in such that they’re essentially a “win-now” team — the clock is ticking on Utley and Howard (both are in their 30s). Halladay is certainly upgrade over Lee, but at what cost? Why didn’t they just make this trade in July?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Llewdor says:

      Toronto got new management between now and then. Maybe it wasn’t Philadelphia’s fault this didn’t happen earlier.

      I envy Phillies fans. Watching Roy take the hill every 5 days (not every five games – every five days) in Toronto so he could induce 20 groundouts per start and average 11 pitches per inning (I didn’t look those up – that’s just how watching Halladay feels) was terrific.

      And now facing NL lineups. We might see the best ERA since Pedro’s 1999.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. NEPP says:

    Lee went 2-0 against the Yankees in the World Series…I doubt Halladay would have done any better than that even with his greater ability.

    Sorry, but I fail to see how getting Halladay last July instead of Lee would have helped them win the WS more. Lee wanted to pitch on short rest in the playoffs but was turned down…I’d bet they would have turned down Roy too.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. William says:

    Definitely a win for the M’s and Blue Jays, not so much the phillies. The mariners are now in contention in the al west, without giving up a whole lot. The Blue Jays got what they wanted, kyle drabek and michael taylor. The phillies, however, basically gave up drabek and taylor and a 1 year ace for a four year ace. Why didn’t they just make that trade in june and not have to get lee and then deal him?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Eem says:

      This is a very myopic point I see being made from a lot of observers all the way up to talking heads like Keith Law.

      I fail to see how the Phillies getting one of the best pitchers in baseball for below market value for a half decade does not constitute them as “winners,” given the situation as a whole.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • says:

        I don’t entirely disagree with you, but the situation as a whole is where it gets cloudy. They really mortgaged their future to bring on Halladay, which is fine, and he’s the type of guy to do that for, but the Lee to SEA part of this scenario is confusing. Why not just keep Lee, let him go to FA and gain the draft picks if you’re truly going for it. One would think a rotation fronted by both Halladay and Lee would be too tough for the NL and most AL teams to handle. I realize they received players back from SEA for Lee, but right now those players include a relief pitcher (a good one at that), a fringe starting OF’er, and a starter with huge questions.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • RedBirdToo says:

        I think Amaro is proving to be quite impulsive when it comes to his decisions. He very much seems to be trying to make a mark on this team, and for better or wose, he is willing to wheel and deal.

        If I could read his mind, I would guess that his logic in trading Lee wasn’t as much about the money, but getting some high ceiling prospects in the system now, as opposed to waiting for the arbitration draft picks. If the Phils were really worried about the cash they could have non tendered Durbin and Blanton and saved about $9mm. I think this boils down to Amaro wanted Halladay and was willing to pay a high price to get him. I think netting everything out the Phils did lose in this trade over the long run, but we’ll obv have to wait and see.

        I disagree that the Phils mortgaged their phuture with this trade, but I think they gave up the better, more MLB ready pieces, especially in Taylor. They swapped Lee + Prospects for Halladay +Cash + lesser Prospects.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Circlechange11 says:

    Halladay throws his cutter so that it moves ‘away’ from the sweet spot and throws his 2-seamer so that it ends up in an uncomfortable spot for the hitters . Smart pitching.

    I see Halladay in the NL as being a “consistently healthy Chris Carpenter”. Scary.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. CircleChange11 says:

    They also got $6M in cash, which combined with not resigning Feliz, pays for Polanco (for THIS year).

    So, if you view it like that, you could also say “they got Polanco”, even though he wasn’t included in the specific trade.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Conballz says:

    The Halladay deal didn’t make as much sense last July because Ricciardi wouldn’t allow teams to negotiated extension. Amaro figured Drabek and Taylor weren’t worth giving up for 1.5 years of Roy, but figured 5 years of Roy was worth it. And maybe J.P. wanted Brown instead of Taylor. The value gotten in this trade by the Phillies crushes the bounty received by the Jays. You’re talking 5-6 years of Roy for bargain basement prices – which will allow the Phils to keep a Werth or Hamels in the future. Lee wanted “CC money”. However, Anthopoulos probably go the best return he could, so I don’t fault him because they didn’t realize lose the value of 6 years of Roy because they couldn’t have signed him.

    Unfortunately, Amaro seems to fumble the dealings with Seattle. My question is: Why not trade Joe Blanton? He will only make 1 million less than Lee this year and then he’s a free agent. So get a high risk/reward prospect or two for Blanton and get him off the books. Then you have Hallday/Lee for 2010. Lee walks. You scoop up two premium draft picks. Done and done. Heck, just GIVE Blanton away. I mean, I love the guy, but come on?? Halladay-Lee-Hamels S-S-S-SEE YOU LATER.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. Nathaniel Dawson says:

    “This allows him to throw strikes without having to throw over the heart of the plate”

    Well, not exactly true. Since he throws both of them in somewhat equal amounts, altogether, he ends up throwing over the heart of the plate as often as he’s throwing on either edge.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. All I can say that Roy (Doc) will be missed. We got the bad end of the deal but one bright spot is that League will be transported out. I can now enjoy the game. Roy, you and your family are one classy family. Thank you for your letter in the Toronto Sun. Much appreciated. Will watch you from afar and when you come back home to Toronto.

    Poor Blue Jays and poor fans. We’ll be there for you!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. get it right please! says:

    Cliff Lee didn’t beat the Yankees 2 times.The 2 nd game he was knocked out
    giving up 5 runs. His replacement got the win. Charlie Manuel pulled him out of the game.


    on his trade for Halladay, it was a lateral move, explained this way.

    He dug a hole with one hand by trading Lee, he filled it in with the other, by getting Halladay,a lateral move.

    It won’t help the rest of the starting rotation be better. It won’t make Lidge and that shaky pen hold or save the games. It won’t help Howard hit in postseason. Halladay every 5 days will be great, the rest of the line up isn’t made better.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>