Roy Halladay Returned To Phillies, Still Not Back

San Francisco Giants v Philadelphia Phillies

Roy Halladay is, by nearly any measure, one of the best and most durable pitchers of his generation. He had six straight seasons of 16-plus wins, 31-plus starts and 220-plus innings from 2006 through 2011 and posted the lowest ERA of his career, 2.35, in the final year of that stretch when he was 34 years old.

After his performance in 2011, Halladay appeared capable of dominating for another full decade, but Father Time is undefeated and he began catching up with the Phillies’ star in 2012. A shoulder injury limited the two-time Cy Young winner to “only” 25 starts last season before disaster struck this year.

A recurrence of the shoulder issue forced Halladay under the knife in May to remove a bone spur and repair his rotator cuff. The surgery placed him on the disabled list for nearly four months and gave rise to concern that his career was all but over.

However, the 36-year old returned to big league action on August 25 and has made three starts since then. So, now that he’s healthy, he’s going to be the Halladay of old, right? Sorry to burst the bubble of fantasy owners looking for a late-season miracle, but that probably won’t be the case.

One of the main factors in Halladay’s decline over the last two years has been the decline of his fastball velocity. The right-hander posted an average fastball velocity of 91.3 mph in 2011 before declining to 90.5 mph in 2012 and plummeting all the way down to 89.1 mph this season. Halladay was actually throwing harder before he went on the disabled list than he has since his return (88 mph average fastball).

For his part, the erstwhile star is confident the surgery fixed those problems: “Just from talking to the doctors, the velocity is the last thing to come,” he said. That’s all well and good for next season, but it doesn’t help fantasy owners right now if Halladay is 100 percent in December.

The loss of velocity wouldn’t as big of a problem if he still possessed vintage Halladay control, but that isn’t the case, either. After walking 1.35 hitters per nine innings in 2011, he had a BB/9 in 2012 above 2 (2.07) for the first time in nine years. That figure has skyrocketed to 4.56 this season, including 4.50 in two minor-league rehab starts post-surgery.

The bottom line here is that you’re going to be disappointed if you expect to pick up Halladay off the waiver wire and watch him save your season. I would recommend leaving him alone or picking him up and trading him to someone who overvalues him.

It’s uncertain what the future holds for the once-dominant hurler. Maybe 2014 will be a rebound campaign, but even if it isn’t we’ll remember him as a workhorse who could carry a team when he was on his game. Put him in the Hall of Fame, but not on your fantasy team.

Dylan Sinn is a freelance contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSinn or subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.

Photo Credit: Getty