As the trade deadline approaches, the buzz is about whether Roy Halladay, ace extraordinaire, will be traded. The Phillies have been mentioned as the “frontrunner” for Halladay, should he be traded. But does Philadelphia really need Halladay? Their starters’ ERA’s are: 4.69, 4.70, 5.72, 3.04, . This surely merits the acquisition? Does it not? Dive a little deeper into the numbers.
The Phils’ number 1 starter right now is Joe Blanton. Blanton has done better than his usual this year. He is striking out hitters at the rate of 8 SO/9, easily the best K rate of his career. He is walking hitters at a rate of just 3 BB/9. And last but not least, his SO/BB rate is much higher than 2008’s, at a solid 2.66. Blanton however, has a 4.69 ERA, a good 40 points above his career average. A surface cause for this is a slight increase in his HR rate this year, but that can be explained by the move from pitcher-friendly McAfee Coliseum, to hitter-paradise Citizens Bank Park. A more likely explanation is this, Blanton has been slightly unlucky this year, supported by his .314 BABIP, the Phillies team BABIP is .307. Blanton is pitching like he should, but his defense isn’t getting the job done.
Philadelphia’s number 2 starter is Cole Hamels. Hamels has been a victim of extreme bad luck, he sports a .353 BABIP. Hamels has almost identical numbers to his fantastic, average luck, 2008 season, HR/9 rate higher by 0.1, SO/9 rate lower by 0.1, and an improved BB/9 rate. What’s wrong is his H/9 rate, it’s way, way up. This is another example that the defense is not getting the job done.
46-year old Jamie Moyer is the numero 3 starter. Moyer’s BABIP is exactly where it should be, .307. He’s allowing 10.8 H/9, about what you would expect from a 46 year-old. His BB/9, and SO/9 rates are where they should be in relation to his career numbers. The killer is his HR rate, up where it was during his disastrous 2004 season. What Moyer is doing is what should have been expected of him. He is not a number 3 starter.
J.A. Happ is the number 4 starter. There aren’t enough major league numbers on Happ. He doesn’t strike out many, he walks to many, and he’s been very lucky this year.
Antonio Bastardo is the number 5 starter. There isn’t enough data to evaluate him.
The Phillies are certainly not set pitching wise. They also do not need to trade the farm system for Roy Halladay. The Phillies should look for a starter to be in the number 3 posistion. Perhaps Javier Vasquez?