I’m not simply overreacting to Roy Halladay being shelled by the Tigers yesterday, giving up seven runs and three homeruns in less than three innings. I’m reacting to what I saw watching the game myself, listening to analysts, and hearing to advanced scouts voice serious concerns about Roy Halladay.
I said coming off of 2012, a year in which Roy Halladay 4.49 ERA, that Roy Halladay could still be great, but that he would have to get creative. One of the reasons Halladay struggled so much was because of of a loss of to to three MPH on his fastball. I kne that Roy was well aware of this, and I hoped that being the smart pitcher that Halladay is, that he would realize that at age 35 the velocity wasn’t going to comeback, and that if he was going to even remotely return to form that he would have to reinvent himself with extra emphasis on ability to locate his offspeed pitches. I know that doing that isn’t easy, but Roy Halladay works his ass off day in and day out, so I believed he would do this over the offseason.
Instead Roy Halladay was too stubborn to realize that the velocity wasn’t coming back. It isn’t that Doc didn’t work hard in the offseason, becasue we have heard the annual stories of rookies, and even Cole Hamels, trying to keep up with Doc in his workouts and struggling. Unfortunately Halladay is stubborn, which comes with greatness, and he believed that he could defy age with hard work, and get his velocity back. And after a fast start to the spring, Halladay’s velocity on fastballs is fading as far down as the mid-80’s. And according to numerous experts, this isn’t something Halladay will just bounce back from next start.
“It’s an omen,” ESPN’s Senior Baseball writer Jayson Stark told 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli this afternoon. Stark also discussed how scouts fear that Halladay has hit a wall, and will never return to his previous form. And it is sad because I was able to sit in my basement and point out what Halladay needed to do to return to a level of dominance last fall. And he didn’t.
So what does this mean for Doc in 2013? It means that he will have some starts where his velocity is in the high 80’s and maybe even low 90’s, and he will look like the old Doc. But big picture wise it means that last season as not a fluke, and that in seemingly lacking having addressed his finesse pitches in hopes that hard work would bring his velocity back, Halladay may not even pitch at the level of an ace this season.
Will Halladay ever come to the conclusion that his velocity is gone and that he needs to re-invent himself? Of course. As I mentioned Halladay is one of the smartest players in the MLB, and if he struggles again this year he will take the necessary steps to try to get back to a high level. Unfortunately for Phils fans, Halladay is an impending free-agent, and if he struggles the way that many scouts and myself believe he will, then he may be reinventing himself in another uniform.