How likely was 2012 the beginning of the end of Roy Halladay?
The six straight seasons of 220-plus innings finally took their toll in 2012. The velocities of Doc's cut and sinking fastballs were down notably both before and after his first DL stint in seven years. The lat strain in Halladay's right shoulder carved out a month and a half from his game log. The discovery of an injury almost provided a sigh of relief: At least there was some other explanation besides the pure deterioration of his ability.
Halladay, 35 in May, should still be in possession of some stored energy. His decline didn't begin last spring training, however, when reports of his pitches' lack of bite and spunk first surfaced. The media and fans second-guessed the Phillies' staff and their decision to let the right-hander push through those warning signs then, but Doc is a stubborn man. He may have needed to hit a wall like this.
Besides, the 2010 campaign in which he pitched a career-high 250 2/3 regular season frames, plus another 22 in the postseason, is almost certainly when his downfall began. Halladay's velocities decreased a little in 2011, according to Brooks Baseball, and his rate of pitches per inning increased by more than half a pitch, even though his rate of batters faced per frame remained virtually unchanged. The perennial Cy Young Award candidate was putting up his usually excellent numbers but laboring a bit more to do so.
Halladay has been a master of efficiency for years, thanks to his level of prep. But when the work became much harder, he unraveled in a hurry. It may have been shocking, to him. Some of that ability is now gone.
But he's had some time to come to terms with it, and he's still perhaps the hardest-working hurler in baseball. He'll have a difficult time putting up top-five figures, but now that he's familiar with the warning signs and his body has had some time to recover, he can still be very good. And roto players will notice that the blow to his air of invincibility is rather big.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570. Follow @NicholasMinnix
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