Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Roy Halladay's velocity dips even lower

Roy Halladay threw his sinker at an average of 86.4 m.p.h., according to Pitch Info. His fastest pitch was 87.68 m.p.h. It was the lowest velocity with which he has ever competed.

Roy Halladay's velocity dips even lower

Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay. (Chris Szagola/AP)
Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay. (Chris Szagola/AP)

Both Ryne Sandberg and Roy Halladay were careful with their words following a 6-4 victory over Miami. There were results — one run in six innings — but Sandberg said Halladay "battled" and "gutted" through the night.

Halladay threw his sinker at an average of 86.4 m.p.h., according to Pitch Info. His fastest pitch was 87.68 m.p.h. It was the lowest velocity with which he has ever competed.

Diminished velocity is something expected from a pitcher four months removed from shoulder surgery. He is building arm strength. When asked if this is the pitcher Sandberg expected Halladay to become for the remainder of his career, he said, "For the rest of September, I do."

"His stuff has pretty much stayed the same," Sandberg said. "He makes pitches when he has to. He uses his defense."

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Halladay threw 30 change-ups and just 17 sinkers Tuesday. He relied most on his cutter (40 pitches) and threw that pitch at an average velocity of 85.0 m.p.h. 

Before Halladay underwent surgery, he relayed conversations with a surgeon, who said this could "turn back the clock two or three years." For now, instead, his pitches are slower than before the procedure.

A graph of Halladay's fastball (sinker and cutter) velocity month by month since 2007 appears above. The decline is staggering.

Can more recovery time add zip to Halladay's pitches?

"I don't know," Sandberg said. "That's the unknown. You would think getting these innings under his belt, that's the first good sign. Have a normal offseason and starting up his throwing program like normal, it's hard to tell. I'd be optimistic that he could gain some velocity."

Halladay, again, refused to examine the details. He took pride in feeling healthy and more consistency in his command.

"As a pitcher," Halladay said, "I’ve always tried to evaluate myself as honestly as possible and that has never been based on numbers or stats."

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

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