Roy Halladay elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Roy Halladay elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Roy Halladay, the intelligent, intense and highly competitive pitcher who thrilled Phillies fans with a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter, has received his sport’s highest honor.

Halladay, as announced Tuesday night, was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The right-hander was named on 85.4 percent of the ballots cast by veteran members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, far surpassing the required 75 percent for election.

Halladay’s first-ballot election comes just 14 months after he was killed at the age of 40 in a plane crash off the west coast of Florida. Halladay’s death hit family and former teammates hard and he was remembered in a touching memorial at the Phillies’ spring training stadium in Clearwater, Florida, on Nov. 14, 2017.

In addition to Halladay, former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, starting pitcher Mike Mussina and Seattle Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez were also elected to the Hall of Fame. Like Halladay, Rivera, arguably the greatest closer ever, was elected in his first year of eligibility.

Halladay, Rivera, Mussina and Martinez will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame during induction ceremonies July 21 in Cooperstown, New York.

Halladay is the second player with Phillies ties to be elected to the Hall of Fame in as many years. Jim Thome was a first-ballot selection last year.

Like Thome, Halladay spent the majority of his career in the American League but added to his Hall of Fame résumé during his time in Philadelphia.

Halladay won a Cy Young Award (in 2003) and made six AL All-Star teams during 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays from 1998 to 2009. He was traded to the Phillies before the 2010 season and quickly made his mark on the team by tossing just the second perfect game in franchise history. It came on May 29, 2010, against the Miami Marlins in his 11th start with the Phillies.

Later in the 2010 season, Halladay threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Division Series. Halladay went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA in 33 starts during that regular season. He led the majors in innings (250 2/3), complete games (9) and shutouts (4) that season and won the NL Cy Young Award.

Halladay continued his dominance for the Phillies in 2011, going 19-6 with a 2.39 ERA in 32 starts and finishing second in the Cy Young voting. The Phillies won a club record 102 games that season but were eliminated from the postseason in a painful, 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Halladay pitched brilliantly in that game, allowing just one run over eight innings, but his good friend and former Toronto teammate Chris Carpenter was even better in holding the Phillies scoreless over nine innings to lead the Cardinals to the victory.

Halladay was known for his cerebral preparation before games and a legendary work ethic that included pre-dawn workouts in spring training. Despite these intangibles, he struggled with back and shoulder injuries during his final two seasons in Philadelphia and retired after the 2013 season. He finished his career with a record of 203-105. In addition to two Cy Young Awards, he finished in the top five of the voting five other times. He was posthumously awarded a place on the Phillies’ Wall of Fame last summer. He is also recognized with a spot on the Toronto Blue Jays’ Level of Excellence. Next stop: Cooperstown.

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

Most of the baseball world agrees that the Phillies are improved with the additions of No. 2 starter Zack Wheeler, shortstop Didi Gregorius, and the new contingent of manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Bryan Price and hitting coach Joe Dillon.

The question is how much improved?

The Phils won 81 games last season, a year after winning 80. Both years, they totally collapsed in September. Both years, a good number of players were simply playing out the string, though the effort level was more questionable in 2018 than in 2019.

Even though the Phillies were quiet this offseason after their two big signings, and even though the NL East is still a beast, they should still exceed 81 wins. If they don't, there's a serious problem. If they don't, the GM probably won't be here to try to rectify things next offseason.

The over/under win totals are out and the Phillies' number is 85.5 at FanDuel and 84.5 at DraftKings.

I'd go over at 84.5. Think about how many injuries the Phillies suffered last season. Think about the talent gap between Wheeler and every Phillies starting pitcher behind Aaron Nola last season. The impact of Girardi, Price and Dillon won't be all that quantifiable, but it is realistic that this revamped coaching staff can conjure a few more wins out of the 2020 Phillies, whether it's in-game decision-making or better instructions given to young players who underperformed last season.

At DraftKings, the Mets' over/under is a game better than the Phillies' at 85.5. The Braves are at 90.5 and the Nationals 88.5. The Marlins are at 64.5, higher than only one team, the Tigers.

Much more surprising are the Phillies' World Series odds. They have the sixth-shortest odds to win it all. Seriously. They're +1800. Here is the Top 10:

Yankees: 3.5/1
Dodgers: 5/1
Astros: 6/1
Braves: 11/1
Nationals: 14/1
Phillies: 18/1
Mets: 20/1
Twins: 20/1
Red Sox: 22/1
Cubs: 22/1

Apparently, the expectation is that the NL Central will be bringing up the rear in 2020. Really, the only NL Central team that improved was the Reds. The Cardinals lost Marcell Ozuna, the Brewers lost Yasmani Grandal and the Cubs didn't spend money on a single major-league free agent.

Four of the top seven teams being NL East teams just shows you how much of a battle these next seven months will be for the Phils.

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Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Baseball America’s always interesting Top 100 Prospects list landed this week and the Phillies are represented with two players in the top half.

Starting pitcher Spencer Howard ranks 27th on the list and third baseman Alec Bohm 28th. Both players are projected to open the coming season at Triple A and get to the majors at some point in 2020. Both have been invited to major-league spring training camp, which begins in less than three weeks in Clearwater. See the complete list of Phillies’ in-house non-roster invites here.

Howard, a 23-year-old right-hander, was the Phillies’ second-round draft pick in 2017. We profiled him here.

In its story on the Top 100 prospects, Baseball America offered this take on Howard: Triple-digit fastball, swing-and-miss curveball and the ability to work the edges of the strike zone, Howard flashes front-end potential.

Bohm, 23, was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. He hit .305 with 21 homers, 80 RBIs and a .896 OPS at three levels, including Double A in 2019. We profiled him here.

Baseball America offered this take on Bohm: Even with questions about whether he’ll have to move to first base, Bohm has the feel to hit and plus power to hit in the middle of the Phillies’ order, and soon.

Shortstop Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays was ranked No. 1 on Baseball America’s list for the second year in a row. The Rays placed eight players on the list. Because of a loaded farm system, the Rays were unable to protect left-hander Cristopher Sanchez on their 40-man roster and the Phillies traded for him in November. Read about Sanchez here.

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed seven players on the list and the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres had six each.

The Miami Marlins led National League East teams with five players in the Top 100, including former Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, who was traded for J.T. Realmuto a year ago. Sanchez ranks 16th on the list and is projected to arrive in the majors sometime in 2020.

The Atlanta Braves placed four players on the list and the Washington Nationals and New York Mets joined the Phillies with two players.

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