Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies: Ace Putting Together Better 2011 Than 2010

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Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies: Ace Putting Together Better 2011 Than 2010
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Don’t look now, but Roy Halladay is doing it again. Not only has his 2011 once again been fantastic—and, some would argue, machinelike—it is even better than his 2010.

Some would find it hard to believe that the Philadelphia ace could do any better than a perfect game and no-hitter in the same season. Alright, he hasn’t done that yet in 2011, but overall, he has been more dominating thus far in 2011 than he was in 2010.

On Saturday Halladay finished off his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays, in quick and efficient fashion for his sixth complete game of the season. Exactly one-third of Halladay’s starts in 2011 have ended with him putting together a complete game.

He is now 11-3 with a 2.44 ERA after finishing 2010 with a 21-10 record and a 2.44 ERA. Looking deeper into the numbers, though, one can get a true appreciation of what Halladay has done in 2011.

His K/BB ratio of 7.71 is best in the Major Leagues, and would shatter his career-best 7.3 number which he posted in 2010. Just to show how dominant Halladay is, take a look at the numbers in this category closely. The second closest in this category is his teammate, Cole Hamels, at 5.24. No, that’s not a mistake. He has been that good.

His control has been impeccable, and he is striking out batters at a higher rate than ever. All the while, Halladay is doing so while even being slightly less lucky than last season’s .290 BABIP. He has a BABIP of .302 in 2011.

Halladay’s sabermetric numbers are all trending in his favor, including his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) number, which is at 2.20 in 2011 after being at 3.01 in 2010. One could truly make the case that the only difference in Halladay’s game this year is that his strikeout numbers have gone up.

Take a glance at the statistics, and the WHIP, walk, and hits numbers are just about the same. He could thank the change-up that he has developed under pitching coach Rich Dubee for his increase in strikeouts. While Halladay’s fastball is still decent, it’s the cutter and change-up that have helped him immensely in 2011.

Meanwhile, SIERA, a statistic developed by Baseball Prospectus’ Matt Swartz, also shows how much better Halladay has been in 2011 than 2010. SIERA “estimates ERA through walk rate, strikeout rate and ground ball rate, eliminating the effects of park, defense and luck.” Last year, Halladay’s SIERA of 2.93 was very strong, but his 2.68 number this year is, simply put, sparkling.

It’s almost hard to describe what Halladay is doing anymore because his numbers are just so absolutely impressive. He is on his way to another All-Star Game, the eighth of his illustrious career. There are few things left for Halladay to prove, few questions left to be answered.

He would obviously love to win a World Series ring, something he has a very good chance of doing in Philadelphia. He could try to make up a new pitch on his own and probably be pretty good at it. He could try to be a better hitter, although teammate Cliff Lee seems to have him beat there.

Kidding aside, Halladay is a pleasure to watch every fifth day. Once in a while, you can put the stats aside and simply enjoy watching the man work in a nearly robotic manner. But when you do have to pull out the stats, they do back him up pretty nicely.

Amazingly, he’s been better this year than last, save for the perfect game and no-hitter, which he is lacking in 2011.

But hey, you never know when Halladay will pull one of those tricks out of his hat.

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