Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay is, by all accounts, one of the two or three best pitchers of his generation. He had his first bout with pitching mortality in 2012, going 11-8 with a 4.49 ERA in 25 starts while battling a shoulder strain at midseason. As the data at FanGraphs shows, the velocity on his trademark cutter was down a bit all year.
2 1/3 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 1 WP, 1 HB, 69 pitches
One of those homers was a grand slam by slap-hitting infielder Ramon Santiago, who has hit 27 homers in over 2,300 career plate appearances. The walks are the bigger concern given Halladay's reputation as a control artist -- something obviously wasn't right. Even worse is this bit of news from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
According to one scout behind backstop, Halladay topped out at 87 mph today. Was at 88 in his last outing.#PhilliesTalk— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) March 12, 2013
Halladay, who throws mostly cutters instead of traditional four- and two-seam fastballs, averaged 88.8 mph with the pitch last year according to the PitchFX system, down from 90.6 in 2011 and 91.1 in 2010.
Much is made of spring training velocity these days, mostly because the information is more accessible than ever before. It's not uncommon for a veteran pitcher to be down a few miles an hour in March, plus it's perfectly normal for a 35-year-old with nearly 2,700 innings on his arm to lose some oomph over time. That said, Halladay had some shoulder trouble last year and dipping into the mid-80s should raise some red flags in Phillies camp.
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