Chad Billingsley may have to hang em up

A recent story out of ROBESONIA, Pa suggests that Chad Billingsley may have to retire as the rest suggested by his doctors is simply not working.

“I can throw a baseball at 50 to 60 percent, but when I ramp it up it starts hurting,” the former Bulldog said.

Rest is the only hope at getting back to where he once was.

“I talked to the doctors at the end of last season and they said don’t do anything for seven months,” Billingsley explained. “They said don’t stress it.”

The seven-month time frame has arrived, but the rest continues. No other remedy is in sight.

“The elbow can’t stand when I throw with intensity, where I want to be,” Billingsley said.

It is a shame if indeed it is true. Before Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley was the LAD pitching gem.  I’m not suggesting that Chad was Kershaw, but you will find Chad’s name in every single LAD pitching leaderboard for pitchers twenty-four and under who were primarily starters.  When you look at the top ten, you will usually find him right smack in the middle of the great LAD names. Or maybe just a tad below right smack in the middle. Usually 7th.

All table information below was derived from baseball reference

Sorted by ERA+

Player ERA+ FIP From To Age IP
Clayton Kershaw 138 3.01 2008 2012 20-24 944
Fernando Valenzuela 121 2.88 1980 1985 19-24 1285.1
Ismael Valdez 120 3.64 1994 1998 20-24 821.2
Pedro Astacio 120 3.48 1992 1993 23-24 268.1
Don Drysdale 119 3.42 1958 1961 21-24 995.1
Chad Billingsley 119 3.87 2006 2009 21-24 634
Stan Williams 114 3.81 1958 1961 21-24 686.1
Bob Welch 111 3.32 1978 1981 21-24 547.2
Chan Ho Park 109 4.16 1994 1997 21-24 308.2

Sorted by strikeout:

Player From To Age IP SO
Fernando Valenzuela 1980 1985 19-24 1285.1 1032
Clayton Kershaw 2008 2012 20-24 944 974
Don Drysdale 1958 1961 21-24 995.1 801
Don Sutton 1966 1969 21-24 959.1 757
Ismael Valdez 1994 1998 20-24 821.2 613
Ramon Martinez 1988 1992 20-24 739.2 586
Chad Billingsley 2006 2009 21-24 634 580
Stan Williams 1958 1961 21-24 686.1 549
Sandy Koufax 1958 1960 22-24 487 501
Bill Singer 1964 1968 20-24 479.2 404

The only pitcher to completely blow out his arm on these lists is Chad Billingsley.  So many pitchers come back from TJ surgery that it is still surprising when some don’t make it back at all.  Chad did pitch again, but would never pitch effectively again.

He gave the LAD fans many great memories.  Out of 190 starts for the LAD, Chad would toe the mound and put up a game score greater than or equal to seventy in thirty six of them.   His high water mark was on April 12th, 2012 with a game score of 87.  I thought one of his best games was this one on Sept 26, 2010 where he struck out thirteen in only seven innings. The bullpen ultimately blew the game.

He started out his postseason starting gig with an excellent start to beat the Cubs in the 2008 NLDS in game two. Yet he will probably be remembered by many for not throwing inside at the Phillies in the NLCS of 2008,  and losing his last three post season starts to the Phillies.

Chad would never be as good as I had hoped for, but during his time with the LAD he gave the fans plenty to cheer about even if most of those cheers stopped in October.

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