The Risk of Roy Halladay


WEEI’s Alex Speier breaks down Roy Halladay’s recent workload in light of his age and asks whether teams considering trading for the guy are taking on more risk than they think:

While Halladay’s performance over the last 10 seasons has been little
short of remarkable, that is no guarantee of what he might contribute
over the next four or five years. Though Halladay has been a pitcher of
incredible durability, he is also reaching a point in his career that
suggests a decreased ability to handle such a workload.
And that, in turn, suggests that a team’s decision about whether to
drain both its prospect pool and its financial resources to acquire
Halladay from Toronto is an immensely complex one.

The, risk, Speier says, stems from the fact that the vast majority of pitchers who have thrown over 800 innings in a four-year span have been younger guys, and that only 25 guys between the ages of 33 and 36 — the range Halladay is entering — have done so over the past 30 years.  Halladay threw 930 innings over the past four years. Does he have that kind of juice left in his arm going forward? Because really, he’ll have to in order for any team acquiring him to come out ahead on the deal.

Obviously the teams pursuing Halladay are aware of all of this. To the extent they’ve discounted the risk, they’ve likely done it based on some combination of (a) the fact that Halladay has been outstandingly durable until now, so there’s no reason to think he won’t be going forward; and (b) if the stats are right and there’s roughly one guy in baseball at any given time who can throw 880+ innings through his mid 30s, it’s Halladay, right?

Sure, Halladay presents a risk, but so does everyone else. In the grand scheme of things, I’d rather risk my future on his arm than I would on, say, Joba Chamberlain’s or Clay Buchholz’s.

Wouldn’t you?

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

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Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.