Chad Billingsley had the tale of two seasons last year. He started out hot, earning a spot on the All-Star team with a stellar first half, but faded down the stretch:
Billingsley struggled to the point that he did not make a postseason start (although he was scheduled to start Game 4 of the NLDS -- you know, if the Cardinals would have won a game). Billingsley, as he told Tony Jackson of ESPN last month, chalked his struggles up to pressing too hard:
"There were times in the middle of a game -- and it might not have just been when a guy drove in a run, but maybe it was a guy leading off an inning with a double, something like that -- where I would think maybe I should have used a different pitch selection," Billingsley said. "Then maybe you try to overthrow or try to do too much. That's the mental part of it. But the only way to get better is by doing it, by being out there on the mound. You can't simulate it in the bullpen or by throwing batting practice. You have to be out there facing hitters in a game situation.
"You can't dwell on it. Sometimes, you throw your best pitch and a guy gets a hit and drives in a run. You can't do anything about that now. You just have to bear down and go after the next guy."
Billingsley's career 119 ERA+ is the eighth best in Dodger history through age 24. This is the point in the exercise when we all hope he's more Don Drysdale than Ismael Valdes.
Previously on True Blue LA
- Pitchers & Simple Minds: Don't You Forget About Me
- A Deeper Look at Kershaw, Martin, and Billingsley
- Dodgers Ink Kemp, Billingsley, Avoid Arbitration
- A Look At Chad Billingsley & His Peers
Signed a one-year deal for $3.85 million for 2010. Billingsley is arbitration eligible through 2012.
|2010 Projections - Age 26 Season|
Billingsley still has a lot going for him. He's 25 years old, and has a career track record that stacks up well with the best young pitchers in the game. Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez, both similar to Billingsley at his current service time, were able to parlay a great fourth season into huge five year contracts ($78 million for King Felix, $80 million for Verlander). Might a similar future await Billingsley?
I vote yes: 3.31 ERA, 1.256 WHIP, 211 innings
What is your guess for Chad Billingsley's 2010? Give us a prediction of ERA, WHIP, and innings pitched.