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Somebody took his happy pills! Richard Griffin has only nice things to say about Roy Halladay and his latest superb outing:

He threw a dozen curveballs at varying speeds, 11 of them for strikes and a couple of them first-pitch strikes. Even threw a changeup or two. He had movement on both sides of the plate and had hitters off-balance and fouling pitches off their own toes, always a sign a pitcher's good stuff is behaving.

Griffin, in a very good mood, even has a compliment for the Tosca/Ricciardi regime. As some of us prepare for fantasy drafts, and just to test everyone's prognostication skills, how do you think Doc compares to other AL starters? Not long-term, just for the upcoming season. Or, to ask the question another way, who do you think are the leading contenders for this year's Cy Young award?

I acknowledge Pedro Martinez as #1, with fewer concerns about his durability than I had at this time a year ago. His great stuff is enhanced by his unrivalled understanding of the craft; Pedro is a pitching genius. However, he's a shoulder twinge away from someone else taking over as the league's best, and it's a photo-finish for second among Doc, the Oakland trio, and a few other studs around the league. Here's my top 10:

2. DOC
10. LOWE

Apologies to Mark Buehlre, Jamie Moyer and Freddy Garcia; they could have just as easily been #8, but I'm anticipating a better year from the Moose. My resistance to bandwagon-jumping prevents me from including Johan Santana, who might struggle with his control at times this year, but should move into the elite by 2004. I'm also a bit concerned about Washburn's psyche -- two WS losses and an offseason of feeling unappreciated will either motivate him to be even better, or distract him.

I like "flaky" lefties; Bill Lee is a hero, and Boomer, not always wisely, generally speaks the truth. Still, in the battle for second-best, Halladay gets the edge over Zito on the dreaded intangibles. Doc is more intense, more dedicated to improving, and ready to put up the big numbers he'll need to impress the voters. Outside of Toronto, nobody noticed his awesome second half in 2001, and as recently as the 2002 all-star game, some supposedly knowledgeable observers dismissed him as a token selection, watched him groove a pitch to Bonds (he owed Barry, after pitching around him two weeks earlier) and wondered if he was for real. This year, Halladay will finally be "discovered" by the rest of baseball.

Cy's the Limit? | 12 comments | Create New Account
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_R Billie - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 08:38 AM EST (#93962) #
I think outside of Pedro, Doc is as good as anyone; I have no argument with ranking him number two.

He does everything you want out of a starting pitcher...keeps his hits allowed down, induces a very high ratio of groundballs, is very stingy about homeruns, is stingy about walks, and strikes out batters at a good rate. To boot, he's good enough with his control and efficiency to lead the AL in innings pitched and finish 5th in ERA, despite having one of the shakiest infield defences in baseball behind him for about half the year.

What I'm still not sure about is what direction Roy will go in, in terms of being more strikeout oriented or groundball oriented. Does he become Schilling or pull a Lowe/Colon? I tend to think in the short term, he'll depend on his sinker to get him outs as long as it's working. It's hard to imagine him going for more strikeouts as that would necessarily require more pitches per inning (and on the Jays that means less innings).
Mike D - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 08:39 AM EST (#93963) #
Sometimes, Coach, when things seem too good to be true...they are.

This was a Dave Perkins piece. Although he's not exactly Mr. Sunshine, it might be too much to hope for an un-gruff Griff.
_R Billie - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 08:40 AM EST (#93964) #
I also think that chances are, Washburn might fall towards the bottom or even off the list in favour of Garcia.
_Matthew Elmslie - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 08:41 AM EST (#93965) #
I'm actually a little surprised that Griffin said that about the defense; my evaluation of the team's attitude has been the opposite, that they'd gladly give up a bit of defense if it meant they could get another bat into the lineup. Not that there are any real stonefingers on the team.
Mike D - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 08:48 AM EST (#93966) #
Oh, and as to your far more interesting question, I'd move Lowe and Buehrle up and Colon down. I like Bartolo, but he's still a bit wild for my taste. I think Lowe and Buehrle both learned a lot about economizing pitches and keeping the ball down last year. I don't foresee either of them regressing.

I'd also swap Pineiro with my deep Cy sleeper -- not to win, but to have a solid enough season to get a smattering of honourable-mention votes: Tim Wakefield. He's become a much smarter pitcher, with better control, as time has gone on. With his role finally defined, he could put up some nice numbers.

I agree with R Billie's analysis of Halladay's strategy. Keep coaxin' those ground balls, Doc!
_Mike - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 09:00 AM EST (#93967) #
Boomer generally speaks the truth??

I'm with Roger Clemens on this one - if the story is longer than 30 seconds, he's lying.
Coach - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 09:06 AM EST (#93968) #
As Mike D points out, that's a Perkins byline. At least, it is now. You guys may think I'm kidding about memory lapses and my tenuous grip on sanity, but this is pretty typical confusion for me -- I'm almost certain waymoresports had Griff's name on the piece two hours ago, but it's quite possible I had a brain cramp, and I'll never know, so I don't care. My life is like Groundhog Day and Memento, or as Steven Wright says, "I have deja vu and amnesia... I feel like I've forgotten this before."

Halladay's efficiency is what kept him from being overworked last year. He led the world (excluding Phoenix) in IP, but according to Keith Woolner's 2002 Pitcher Abuse Points from Prospectus, Doc was handled gently. Colon was "abused" more, by two different teams, because he goes so deep into so many counts, but like Randy Johnson, he seems (so far) indestructible. Other stuff from the chart -- we all knew Torborg rode A.J. Burnett way too hard, and Cubs are taking huge risks with Mark Prior.
_Jordan - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 09:09 AM EST (#93969) #
I can't argue much with Kent's top ten ... Buehrle will probably pitch better than Colon, but I have a feeling Colon will get more run support, end up with the better record, and thereby pull the wool over BBWAA voters' eyes (not that that's difficult). I'd also move Hudson up to #2 for the same reason: he'll get lots of wins, he's still considered Oakland's ace for some reason, and he's about due for a great season as opposed to a very good one. Doc is terrific, but he still has a rebuilding team behind him, I'm not sold on the infield defence that will field his grounders, and his chances will automatically be downgraded by the fact that many of the slack-jawed yokels who vote for these awards couldn't find Toronto on a map.

But in the end, Pedro is the favourite unless demonstrably proven otherwise.
Craig B - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 11:01 AM EST (#93970) #
My list:

1. Pedro
2. Zito
3. Mussina
4. Hudson
5. Colon
6. Halladay
7. Buehrle
8. Clemens (still posts terrific numbers)
9. Mulder
10. Washburn

Honorable mentions to Garcia, Lowe, Pineiro, Santana, Rick Reed, Pettitte, Chan Ho Park, and even the forgotten Jeff Weaver.

This is more of a "best pitchers" list than anything.
Coach - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 11:09 AM EST (#93971) #
Boomer generally speaks the truth??

He might be prone to exaggeration or embellishing the truth, but David usually says what's on his mind. Mike Lupica's column is great, and Jon Heyman talks about Boomer's $100,000 fine and his "character":

More than anything, more than beer, babes, backaches or baseball, David Cone said Wells relishes "the spotlight." Wells needs the spotlight the way some of us need food and air. But this time, the spotlight has exposed Wells as selfish and gluttonous in a way no other writer ever could. The phony persona of a lovable fun-lover is gone, replaced by one of an oily fake who has no qualms about throwing his teammates under the bus.

Wells has a Babe Ruth complex, and dreads the end of a colourful and successful (185-121) career. I don't want my son to be anything like him, but I've always enjoyed his act, so this is kind of sad.
Craig B - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 01:50 PM EST (#93972) #
I don't want my son to be anything like him

Well, I can't stand Wells, so I would agree, but you have to credit him with doing it his way.
_jason - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 09:31 PM EST (#93973) #
Just out of curiosity, why does everybody have Lowe so low? He was argueably the best pitcher in the AL last year. (Is it Boston's right side defense?)
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