Roy Halladay wasn't actually that much better than the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright this season, but the slight advantage he held was obvious enough that his selection as the 2010 National League Cy Young Award winner was the most obvious result among the eight Baseball Writers Association of American awards being handed out this week and next. Indeed, Halladay was listed first on all 32 of the writers' ballots, the 13th time that a National Leaguer has won the award unanimously in the Cy Young's 55-year history. Halladay is now in some elite company with this, his second Cy Young award. Not only does he join Sandy Koufax as the only men ever to pitch a perfect game and win a Cy Young in the same season (Koufax did it in 1965), but, having previously won the award in the American League with the Blue Jays in 2003, he becomes just the fifth pitcher ever to win the award in both leagues. The four men who did it before him were Gaylord Perry, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens.
Halladay is starting to show up on a lot of
In each of the five seasons since then, Halladay has won at least 16 games and finished in the top five in the Cy Young voting in his league. He has led his league in complete games in each of the last four seasons and in six of the last eight, led the majors in complete games in three of the last four seasons, led his league in shutouts and strikeout-to-walk ratio in each of the last three seasons, and the majors in both categories in two of the last three years.
Over the last three seasons combined, he has clearly been the best pitcher in the majors, leading all hurlers with 500 or more innings over that span in ERA (2.67), ERA+ (157), wins (58), innings (735 2/3), complete games (27, 10 more than his closest competitor), shutouts (10, four more than the next man on the list), K/BB ratio (6.09), WHIP (1.07), fewest walks per nine innings (1.27), and average game score (61, tied with Tim Lincecum), and Baseball Prospectus's win-expectancy based Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Above Replacement (SNLVAR), which rates him as worth 24.6 wins more than a replacement starter over the last three years.
As far as a Hall of Fame peak, Halladay is having one. Consider some of the peak-evaluation questions on
1. Was he ever regarded as the best pitcher in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best pitcher in baseball?
2. Was he the best player on his team?
3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?
4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?
One down, several to go . . .
9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?
He pitched in the AL East during the steroid era and in hitter-friendly home ballparks.
11. How many Cy Young-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win a Cy Young award? If not, how many times was he close?
Two Cy Youngs thus far, top five four other times, should have received votes in 2002 as well.
12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go to the Hall of Fame?
Seven time All-Star. Fifteen pitchers have made it eight times, all are current or future Hall of Famers (well, one is Roger Clemens, but you get the idea).
13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?
14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?
Nothing significant, though one could argue his complete games are fighting the overall trend against them.
15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?
For a more objective look at Halladay's Hall-worthiness I turned to my friend and colleague Jay Jaffe, who's
JAWS doesn't measure the likelihood of enshrinement (would that it did; JAWS highlights in raw numbers just how much the electorate has undervalued