Early thoughts on Halladay, Harvey

Monday's Mets-Phillies pitching matchup features a fading righty vs. a rising righty

Originally Published: April 8, 2013
ESPN.com

1. Is Roy Halladay done as a dominant pitcher?

David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot: If you're asking for a yes or no answer, I'd have to say yes, although I'd like to hedge my bet if possible. Halladay struck out nine in just 3 1/3 innings in his first start, but it was hardly Halladay-like as he scuffled through 95 pitches. The dominant Halladay throws 95 pitches in eight innings, not three.

Eric Karabell (@karabellespn), ESPN Fantasy: It's a bit premature to declare Halladay can't be effective or relevant, but if dominance is the gauge, then yeah, that ship sailed. Roy's skills have changed and he's still trying to figure out how to deal with it. His first start was more bad than good. His last year in Philly will certainly be strange, too.

Mark Simon (@msimonespn), ESPN Stats & Info: He'll turn 36 in May, he missed time to injury, and his ERA jumped more than two points from 2011 to 2012. All the indicators say that yes he's done as a dominant pitcher. But can he still be pretty good? I think so, but he's going to have to adjust to what his revised skill sets are. In short: Do I think he can win 15 games with a 3.50 ERA in a season in any of the next three years? Yes.


2. Is Matt Harvey already a dominant pitcher?

[+] EnlargeMatt Harvey
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsMatt Harvey pitched seven shutout innings in his first start of the season for the Mets last week.

Schoenfield: Yes. If he commands his fastball like he did in his opening start, he's not just dominant, he's Cy Young-caliber dominant. He has made only 11 career starts in the big leagues, but the .187 average against him is a testament to his stuff. If he cuts down on the walks (26 in 59 1/3 innings as a rookie), he's going to win a lot of games this season -- well, if the Mets score runs for him.

Karabell: It's also premature to call Harvey dominant. Sure, his stuff is better than Halladay's, especially the fastball, but hitters are smart -- well, scouting reports are -- and he'll need to make adjustments in time. By next year though, yes, we'll be seeing dominance.

Simon: A Padres team that faced him in his first start of the season would certainly say yes. I prefer to think of him as "on the cusp." The sample is still small for Harvey, and the key for him will be his walk rate (as I detailed in an ESPN New York article last week). If Harvey can drop his season walk rate to below three per nine innings, he should be something close to ace caliber by the start of 2014.


3. Who will have a better season, Halladay or Harvey?

Schoenfield: I'm going with Harvey. Look, Halladay will learn to adjust even if his fastball now mostly sits in the upper 80s, like it did in his first start. But it seems clear he doesn't quite trust his stuff right now to challenge hitters, thus the high pitch count. Plus, he's more of an injury risk.

Karabell: Harvey might not get the chance to pitch 200 innings, if the building Mets are smart and thinking ahead, but it's foolish to expect Halladay is a lock for 32 starts as well. Knowing what we know, Harvey will have the better year.

Simon: I'll go 14-10 with a 3.50 ERA for Halladay this season and 12-12 with a 3.30 ERA for Harvey. I think Halladay will be more consistent and Harvey will have more dominant starts. If you ask me a year from now, I'll take Harvey to be better than Halladay in any season beyond that, for as long as Halladay's career continues.

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