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If there was a bounce back “team” this season it would be the Fightin’ Phils.  They have more guys who underperformed or battled injuries in 2012 than you can shake a stick at.  Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and new addition Michael Young come to mind.  But the one guy whose bounce back season could be the key to winning for both the Phillies and your fantasy roster is Roy Halladay.

Last spring, Halladay suffered a back injury that caused him to tweak his mechanics.  This tweak may have led to the shoulder injury that eventually sidelined him in late May.  He has been a perennial workhorse and 2012 was the first time he did not pitch 200 innings since 2005.  Always the competitor, Halladay may not have been totally upfront about the original back injury and while we all knew something was wrong, it was hard to point to any one explanation until the shoulder injury surfaced.  Fantasy owners who paid top dollar for Doc’s durability and consistency were plenty disappointed, and whispers could be heard that 2012 was the beginning of the end.

This is where savvy fantasy owners take advantage of a potential bargain.  Going into 2012, Halladay was still considered one of the best starting pitching options and was drafted accordingly.  Now, after the shoulder injury and an ERA that ballooned to 4.49 in 2012, he has fallen out of that discussion and can be had for a discounted price.  I’m choosing to look at Doc this year not as a huge risk, but as a proven veteran.  From 2010-2012, Doc was a top 10 starting pitcher in quality starts, K/BB ratio, and WHIP.  There is an opportunity here for ace production without having to pay a premium ace price.

Halladay, now 35, has reportedly changed some of his conditioning and warm-up routines in an effort to maintain his health.  Doc knows how to get batters out without overpowering stuff, but getting some mustard back on his fastball would help this year.  He has already hit 91 MPH in spring training, which is a sign that his velocity drop last season may have been mostly injury related.  It’s reasonable to expect the same low BB and HR rates that we have seen from Halladay in the past, and the 4.49 ERA in 2012 is not quite as scary when you look at the more reasonable FIP of 3.69 that accompanied it.

Doc may not be the pitcher that he once was, but he is not the pitcher we saw last year either.  Without structural damage to his shoulder and a new focus on staying healthy, I don’t see him as an injury risk for 2013.  In fact, I see him returning to some great ratios and a healthy number of wins on a Phillies team that still has some gas left in the tank.  The window may be closing on the Phils’ aging superstars, but it hasn’t shut yet.  When drafting this year, don’t be left out of the bounce back festivities in the City of Brotherly Love, and don’t snooze on Halladay.  He may just be the life of the party.

  1. vinnie says:
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    I’d rather Scherzer who goes a round later than Halladay.

    • Jay29 says:
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      @vinnie: In every single draft? In future drafts?

      • vinnie says:
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        @Jay29: For this year. Definitely in Keeper leagues.

  2. Ben says:
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    So where do you draft Halladay in a H2H League? and what type of guys would you draft him over?

    • @Ben: 12 Team? Rd 7ish. For 2013 I like Doc over similarly priced arms like Shields and Gallardo. I also like him over some guys who are going higher like Sabathia and Sale.

      • RiffRaff says:
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        @mikeb643: I’m not finding that kind of value for Halladay – at least not on Yoo-Hoo. He’ going in the fifth round (avg draft pick: 58), whereas Gallardo and Shields are going around picks 91 and 95. He’s also going ahead of Sale. It seems like the bounce back is priced into his ranking there.

        • Lastros says:
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          @RiffRaff: Same for ESPN, where Halladay’s ADP is 63, while Scherzer, Gallardo, and Shields are all between 85 and 90. It’s tough for Halladay to be a value pick unless he breaks back into the top 10 SP.

          • Ben says:
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            @Lastros:

            In CBS leagues he’s going In the 5th. There’s pretty much no chance I would get him in the 7th in my league. And I don’t really want to spend a 5th on him. I’d say 6 is the highest I would go for him.

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              @Ben: Yes, I agree you don’t want to go reaching for him. This is more a case where he could slip a round or two in your draft due to last year’s troubles with injury and velocity and then outperform those pitchers being drafted around him for some good value.

  3. uncdrew says:
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    Isn’t he topping out at 88 mph in Spring training? Or did I just dream that?

    • uncdrew says:
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      @uncdrew:

      I think he found 3 more mph

    • Eddy says:
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      @uncdrew: David Murphy of the Daily News wrote that Halladay was topping out 86-88 in his latest outing.

      He’s one of the more interesting options this year. I love the thought of getting a bounceback Halladay this year (after all, he was one of the top SP drafted in 2012), but his age and injury woes are concerning.

      Not sure I see myself grabbing him in a H2H league, but for the right price in an auction league I’d bite.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @uncdrew: read the same report about the 86-88 from Wednesday’s start. the 91 was referring to the start prior to that (his 2nd spring start)

  4. Lastros says:
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    Great post! I play in a 6×6 league, with K/BB as the sixth category. Given that he walks approximately zero batters per season, where would you draft Halladay in such a format? I saw that you have Doc over CC and Sale. But in ESPN leagues, Doc is the 17th SP off the board. How do you like him in comparison to the 6th through the 16th starters (Cain, Weaver, Hamels, Lee, Greinke, Gio, Darvish, CC, Dickey, Bumgarner, and Wainwright)?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Lastros: I think he’s in that CC, Dickey, Bumgarner, Wainwright group. Maybe not Top 10, but if he’s healthy I could see him finishing as a Top 15, maybe even Top 12 starting pitcher.

  5. TheOne says:
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    An article on Roy Halladay bouncing back……. smh geez please tell me tge world is round

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