Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?

Posted on: January 11, 2012 8:10 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 7:45 am

By Matt Snyder

So, the Winter Meetings are far in the rearview, the Hall of Fame voting results have been revealed and we're just over five weeks away from the day when pitchers and catchers report to camp. With a very few free agents still lingering on the market -- I'm looking right at you, big boy -- we can't exactly start ramping up predictions, either. So let's do this instead: Argue. We'll start a series of posts where we set the table for you fans to vote in a poll and then argue below in the comments section. Who would you rather have? We'll pit two players of close value against each other and let you make the call.

Today, since it's the start of the series and we need something explosive, how about deciding if you'd rather have Roy Halladay or Justin Verlander.

The case for Halladay

Doc has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball for the better part of a decade. If you didn't know much about him until he was traded to the Phillies, you either live in a very limited baseball world, don't play fantasy baseball or both. All the way back in 2002, a young Halladay was going 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA (a freaking 159 ERA-plus, people). The following year he won the Cy Young award. After injuries sidetracked him a bit for the next two seasons, Halladay went on a ridiculous run.

For the past six seasons, Halladay has averaged the following line (again, this is an average): 18-8, 2.86 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 187 strikeouts, eight complete games, two shutouts and 236 innings. His finishes in Cy Young voting in those six years: 3, 5, 2, 5, 1, 2.

He's doing it in the playoffs, too, as Halladay threw a no-hitter in his first career postseason start and has a 2.37 ERA and 0.74 WHIP in 38 postseason innings. This is something you could use to denigrate Verlander, too, as he sports a 5.57 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in 42 career postseason innings.

The case for Verlander

Much like Halladay, Verlander keeps his bullpen well-rested. He's averaged 238 innings pitched the past three seasons with 11 complete games and three shutouts (two of those no-hitters).

Verlander is coming off a transcendent season, one in which he won the Cy Young and MVP, while leading the leads in wins, ERA, innings, strikeouts, WHIP, hits allowed per nine innings and 100-mph fastballs later than the seventh inning (among starters). Just watching this guy work leaves you in awe. How can he crank it up to 100 in the eighth or ninth after having thrown over 100 pitches in 95-degree heat in the middle of the summer? He's like a freak of nature for avoiding injury with that kind of action, too, as he's made at least 30 starts every year since being a full-time starter (when he won Rookie of the Year in 2006). And while Halladay is pretty much already guaranteed a spot in Cooperstown, it's easy to see Verlander heading that way as well.

Finally, while their salaries are a wash (both making right around $20 million per year for the next two -- Verlander for a third and Halladay has a vesting option for a third), Verlander will be 29 this season. Halladay will turn 35 in May. So if you're saying who would we want from this point forward -- which, I mean, that's pretty obvious, right? -- do you want a 29-year-old Verlander coming off the best season in recent memory or a 35-year-old Halladay?

On the other hand, Verlander's ERA hovered between 3.37 and 3.66 in his good seasons before last year -- we'll even do him the courtesy of throwing out that dreadful 2008 season. You could argue last season was his career year and he'll regress from being out-of-this-world dominant back to merely (please note sarcasm) being a stud who makes the All-Star Game and gets Cy Young votes every year.

Our call

Man, it's just such a toss up. I think I'd go with Verlander only because of age, but if he ends up being more 2009-10 again instead of the monster we saw in 2011, Halladay is better. We started off with this one because it's one of the toughest calls, pitting the current two best pitchers in baseball. There definitely isn't a wrong answer. Vote and discuss with impunity.

Fan Vote:

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Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: January 29, 2012 3:34 am

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?

I'm very impressed with both pitchers.  But I feel this past season that what Verlander put together is just the start of something big.  Doc has certianly had an impressive dominant career, but Verlander put up a season worth of stats not touched by Holliday.  We havent seen dominance like that in almost thirty years.  History will make the decision for us all but if I had to build a team around one of these pitchers Verlander would be the rock without a doubt.

Since: Jan 24, 2012
Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:43 pm

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?

If its for one year only, you have to go with Halladay. But based on age, you have to go with Verlander.

Since: Jan 15, 2012
Posted on: January 22, 2012 11:31 am

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?

If my team was making a post season run this next season with a shot at the world series I'm going to go with Halladay. He is simply better in that respect and the age won't matter much.
Halladay is one of those pitching exceptions who is built to last. The real freak ( no disrespect Lincecum ) who I can see pitching into his early to mid-forties.
This is a tough call as Verlander is younger and has entered his prime, Halladay is experiencing an extended prime.
By the way, anyone notice the eerie similarity in pitching mechanics between Halladay and Charlie Morton of the Pirates. Has he always pitched that way or adopted that recently? 

Since: Jan 11, 2012
Posted on: January 20, 2012 5:48 pm

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?

I have a fun way I measure a "Good Start" by a pitcher:  

1. If he pitches 5 innings or more and gives up 2 runs or less, that's a "Good Start".  
2. If he pitches 7 innings or more and gives up 3 runs or less, that's a "Good start".  

3. If he pitches 6 innings and gives up 3 runs, *and his team won*, that's a good start.  
4. If he pitches 8 innings or more and gives up 4 runs, *and his team won*, that's a good start.  

So, considering if a pitcher wins all his "Good Starts", here's what there records would look like since start of career.  (No decisions are given if they pitch less than 5 innings and also give up 2 runs or less).  

2011 - RH, 26-6 (32 starts)
2011 - JV, 25-9 (34 starts)

2010 - RH, 26-7 (34 starts)
2010 - JV, 24-9 (33 starts)

2009 - RH, 24-7 (32 starts, 1 no-decision)
2009 - JV, 23-12 (35 starts)

2008 - RH, 26-7 (33 starts)
2008 - JV, 16-17 (33 starts)

2007 - RH, 21-10 (31 starts)
2007 - JV, 22-10 (32 starts)

2006 - RH, 21-9 (32 starts, 2 no-decisions)
2006 - JV, 20-10 (30 starts)

I just wanted to comment also on JV's "transcendent" season.  It was worthy of MVP.  It was worthy of Cy Young.  It was NOT as amazing as it was hyped to be.  He had five starts of giving up 4 or more runs in 6 or less innings, and he had another 4 starts in which he gave up 3 runs over 6 innings and his team won NONE of those games.  That's 9 starts in which he did not dominate.  Cy Young?  Yes.  MVP?  Sure.  On a par with nearly any season of Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, or Randy Johnson during their STRINGS of amazing years?  No.   Those guys had INSANE years for "Good Starts", qualifying to win over 30 games and in some cases having only 1-3 starts in which they had starts of giving up 3 runs over 6 innings.  JV's season was excellent, better than all others in his league.  Maddux, Martinez, and Johnson had strings of Koufaxian years.  

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:10 pm

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?

this is bull crap Halladay has been doing this almost his whole career, Verlander struggled off an on with only 2 dominant years.  So the pick should go to Halladay

Since: May 2, 2007
Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:28 am

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?

im with gothics, however roy has been my favorite pitcher since he came up with the Blue Jays in 1997 i believe.  He has something that not many players have which is consistency.   Guy is a horse....and Verlander is that new horse.   Love watching both of them.

Since: Aug 6, 2007
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:11 am

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?

At this point I would take Verlander,,age.

Since: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 12:32 am

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?

HAlladay without fail as he has proven himself consistently while Verlander has only had 2 exceptional seasons.

Since: Jun 14, 2009
Posted on: January 16, 2012 7:31 pm

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?

I'm definitely going with Halladay. As a Red Sox fan from Toronto, I've seen this guy not only dominate start-in-start-out, but also make my favourite team (as well as the team I hate the most) look silly all the time. I'm pretty sure in his last full season with Jays in 2009, he pitched 3 complete games against Boston. That's just ridiculous. The age thing doesn't bother me either. We've seen dominant pitchers be dominant until they're 39 or 40 years old (Randy Johnson, anyone?). Halladay's my guy.

Since: Jul 26, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 5:14 pm

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?

The call isn't that tough, Halladay is the guy.  He is proven and on a better team.  So if I could take one and put them on the Giants, still Halladay.  Verlander had a great season last year but this isn't what have you done for me lately.  Halladay like I said is proven over time.

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