Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Roy Halladay: What's up? What's down?

Roy Halladay.

?One of? the best pitchers in baseball over the last decade.

Struggled with injuries last season.

Struggled through spring training.

Had one of the crazier stat lines you'll see in his first start of 2013.
3.3 innings, 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 home runs, 3 walks, 9 strike outs, 1 loss.

Doesn't look like he pitched well.  All those hits, all those runs, all those home runs, all those walks, all those...strike outs?

Halladay faced 19 hitters.  He struck out almost half of them.  That's typically a recipe for success.

What gives?

I don't pretend to know.

Batted Ball FIP says that Halladay should have given up 3.64 runs per 9 innings giving up those rates of walks, line drives, ground balls and fly balls while getting those strikeouts.

In the 2011 game, Halladay threw strikes on 63% of his pitches.
In today's game, Halladay threw strikes on 57% of his pitches.

Halladay's fastest pitch today was measured at 91.7 MPH and his average fastball was at 89.6 MPH.
On May 5th 2011, also at Turner Field (I used this game to avoid issues with camera angle, radar readings, etc), Halladay's fastest pitch was 94.3 MPH and his average fastball was 93.2 MPH.  Halladay had 46 pitches faster that day than his fastest pitch today.

Braves hitters swung and missed at 13 of 118 pitches in the 2011 game - 11%
Braves hitters swung and missed at 14 of 94 pitches in today's game - 15%

It's odd that a guy could lose that much velocity + get that many more whiffs + get hit around like that.  BABIP and HR/FB are flukey and this is just 1 game and all that jazz...

Another thing, not noticed by me but noticed by lots of people who know more about baseball than me is Hallday's arm slot.

*click to make bigger

The image on the left is from today's game.  The image on the right from the 2011 game.

Notice that the clump of pitches from 2011 is basically bisected by the 6' line.  Meaning that most of Halladay's pitches in 2011 left Halladay's hand about 6' above the ground.  Now, look at the pitches from today's game.  Notice that none of the pitches from today were released from 6' above the ground.

Look at those two clumps again.  The clump from 2011 mostly occur to the right of the -2 foot marker - they were released less than 2' to the right of the center line.  Now the pitches from 2011.  The -2 foot marker bisects the clump a lot more - more pitches were thrown from more than 2 feet from the center line.

Halladay's arm slot appears to be different.  It's lower.

Does this mean anything?

I still don't pretend to know.

Data from May 5 2011
Data from April 3 2013

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