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Player Profile: Did Chad Billingsley Suffer From the Verducci Effect?

Today we have another player who fantasy and roto owners should focus on prior to 2010 drafts. Today we discuss Chad Billingsley, who will probably be undervalued in 2010 drafts based on his 2009 second half. The 2009 season for Chad Billingsley was tremendous for the first half and horrific in the second half. A little Jeckyl and Hyde, if you will. Let's take a look at his first and second half stats:

First Half

Player INN GS QS W L K BBI HA ERA WHIP
Billingsley, Chad SP LA 125 19 15 9 4 119 55 99 3.38 1.23

Second Half

Billingsley, Chad SP LA 71 13 7 3 7 60 31 74 5.2 1.48

As you can see, Jeckyl and Hyde does apply to Billz 2009 season. But what happened to him in the second half of the season? Well, we can start with the fact that in 2007, Billingsley threw 147 innings. In 2008, Billz threw 200 innings, making him a perfect candidate for the Verducci effect. The Verducci effect applies to starting pitchers who increase their innings pitched by 30+ innings from one season to the next.

But what else happened in the second half for Billz? Well, for starters his K/BB decreased from 2.16 to 1.94, and his BAA increased from .227 to .271. He gave up 9 HRs in 125+ innings in the first half, and 8 HRs in 71 innings in the second half. His BABIP increased from .283 in the first half to .319 in the second half. So here are some of the reasons for the big increase in ERA and WHIP.

For the season, his K% dropped from 23.4% in 2008 to 21.8% in 2009, his BB% increased from 9.3% to 10.5%, and his K/BB% dropped from 2.51 to 2.08. His GB/FB ratio dropped from 1.58 in 2008 to 1.25 in 2009. His FB% increased from 31.1% to 36.3% and his HR/FB% increased from 8.1% to 8.8%. Billingsley's LOB% has dropped from 80% in 2007, to 78% in 2008, to 71% in 2009. All of these ratios went against Billingsley in 2009, but are they permanant?

Billingsley's FIP for 2009 of 3.82 (vs 4.02 ERA) and LOB% of 71% suggests a little bad luck. Combine that with the fact that he was a candidate for the Verducci effect, and I can see a bounce back from Billingsley in 2010. He went from potential Cy Young candidate to falling several rounds in mixed league and NL-only draft boards for 2010.

Billz could reward owners who draft him in 2010, as he will be undervalued going into the draft.