In the past off-season, I thought about who were the top five pitchers in baseball. A while later, I realized there was a major omission in my list. Roy Halladay is not only undoubtedly in the top five, but he might be the best.
At one point, Halladay was extremely underrated. With all the talk of Cliff Lee making an unlikely run at the Cy Young award, Halladay was performing up to his usual standards, finishing a close second.
Everyone knows that Halladay is good, but just how good is he?
Halladay's career ERA is 3.47, 10th among active players. At first glance, that doesn't look too good.
Taking a closer look, it's great. Above Halladay in order are Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Roy Oswalt, Brandon Webb, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, and Jake Peavy.
In two years, we may very well see Hoffman, Johnson, Martinez, Rivera, and Smoltz retire, putting Halladay fifth.
Halladay is also eight in ERA+ with 132, 30th all time. If you don't know, this is a park adjusted ERA. 100 is average and the higher the better. Anything above 120 is great.
Whitey Ford's ERA+ is 133. Christy Mathewson's is 135. Cy Young's is 138. 16 of 22 Hall of Fame eligible pitchers above Halladay are in the Hall of Fame.
Halladay reached his prime in 2001, but only started 17 games that year. Since 2002, Halladay has pitched five complete seasons.
In 2003 and 2008, Halladay lead all pitchers in innings pitched with 266 and 246, respectively. He finished third in 2002 with 239.2 innings pitched. In 2007, he was fifth with 225.3.
Halladay, who's never been on a playoff team in his career, has been heavily relied on by the Blue Jays to the point where most pitchers would be overworked. Out of the active players who have pitched more innings, only Mark Buehrle and Javier Vazquez are younger than Halladay.
Halladay used to be a ground ball pitcher, but he's become more of a power pitcher. Even when he got more ground ball outs, Halladay still showed amazing control.
He's fourth in walks/nine among active players. Third is Dan Haren. Second is Ben Sheets. First is, go figure, Carlos Silva.
Last year, Halladay struck out 206 and walked 39. This season, he's struck out 98 and walked 17.
Because of all the ground balls induced, Halladay has only one season where he gave up more than 20 home runs. Johan Santana, considered by many to be the best pitcher of the decade, gave up at least 20 each year from 2004-2008.
Halladay may not yet have the respect of the fans, but the players certainly respect him.
Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez said Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball. Kevin Youkilis said Halladay will be a Hall of Famer.
Even the previous U.S. president loves the Canadian team's pitcher. George Bush said he'd choose Halladay over any other pitcher.
Santana's first full year was 2002. Here's how his stats compare to Halladay's since then:
Halladay innings: 1587.3
Santanta innings: 1489.7
Halladay win/loss: 123-44
Santana win/loss: 115-54
Halladay K/9: 6.52
Santana K/9: 9.68
Halladay BB/9: 1.64
Santana BB/9: 2.97
Halladay ERA: 3.16
Santana ERA: 2.74
Halladay H/9: 8.52
Santana H/9: 7.37
As you can see, Santana's numbers are a bit better than Halladay's, but not by much. Santana is most likely a Hall of Famer, but is Halladay? Keep in mind that Santana is 30 and Halladay is 32.
Halladay has been pretty dominant since 2002, but his numbers don't stand out in any particular statistical category. He likely won't reach 300 wins or 3000 strikeouts.
Do you think Halladay is a future Hall of Famer?