Prospect Lookback: Roy Halladay

Roy Halladay

Roy Halladay (Photo by Andrew Woolley)

Roy Halladay announced today that he is retiring after 16 seasons and 203 wins. He signed a one-day contract with the Blue Jays and then retired with the organization that drafted him seventh overall in 1995 from Arvada (Colo.) West High.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner pitched for the Blue Jays for 12 seasons and the Phillies for the past four, leading Philadelphia to the playoffs in 2010-11, his only postseason appearances.

Halladay enjoyed a high peak, going 175-78 (.692) with a 2.98 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 4.5 SO/BB ratio in the 11 seasons from 2001 through 2011. He became hittable in his final two seasons, however, logging a 5.15 ERA and hit rate of 8.7 per nine innings over 38 starts.

Here is what Baseball America wrote about Halladay after he ranked as the Blue Jays’ No. 1 prospect prior to the 1998 season.

Background: Blue Jays scout Bus Campbell worked extensively with Halladay during his amateur days in Colorado, creating a relationship that resulted in Halladay using part of his signing bonus to buy Campbell a satellite television system. That was in 1995; now fast forward to 1998. Sidelined for a month with a right shoulder strain, Halladay returned to one-hit Charlotte on July 20. He spent the full season at Triple-A Syracuse, then opened a few eyes by becoming the third-youngest starter in Blue Jays history. His second start turned into a no-hit bid against the Tigers on the season’s final day. The bid ended with a two-out, pinch-hit homer by Bobby Higginson. Halladay continued to prove his value with a strong effort in the Arizona Fall League.

Strengths: Halladay has a prototype pitcher’s body. He’s tall, lanky and flexible—and has plenty of stamina. He once finished third in the Colorado state cross country finals as a senior at Arvada West High. Halladay puts minimal strain on his arm. His fastball is solidly in the mid-90s, and he has the endurance to maintain his velocity into the late innings. He has developed more downward movement on his fastball, which allows him to get more groundballs. The Blue Jays initially took away the knuckle-curve that Campbell taught him in high school, but in the middle of the 1997 season allowed him to start throwing it again. It was the pitch he used for five of his eight strikeouts in the one-hitter against Detroit. He has developed a hard-biting slider that may be his best pitch.

Weaknesses: Halladay just needs a little refinement to be a legitimate big league, front-of-the-rotation pitcher. He has a tendency to open up and show the hitter his arm a little too quick. And he needs to throw his changeup more often.

The Future: After nearly two full seasons at Triple-A, Halladay’s future is now. He will be a member of the major league rotation on Opening Day.