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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Gavin Floyd Reclamation Project 

Even with the Phillies recommitment to the wildcard race with their remarkable resurrection following the Abreu trade, many people in the Phillies high command are thinking about the 2007 campaign, planning things out. A central issue to the Phillies 2007 season is going to be Gavin Floyd. What in the heck does the team do with Gavin? Do they give up on him? Or do they give him another chance?

Gavin Floyd entered the majors with an impressive resume, consistently impressing people with his MLB-quality stuff. After pitching briefly in 2004, he stunned Phillies fans by hurling seven innings, scattering three hits and one earned run, while K’ing two, in an impressive victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. After that, Gavin had the season from hell, getting shelled for twenty-eight earned runs over the next nineteen innings he pitched. Gavin ended the 2005 campaign with a prompt return to Scranton. Here are Gavin’s 2005 stats:

HR/9: 1.73
BB/9: 5.54
K/9: 5.88
ERA: 10.04
FIP: 6.14
WHIP: 1.77

And after he went back to Scranton:

HR/9: 0.72
BB/9: 4.32
K/9: 6.36
ERA: 6.16
WHIP: 1.61

Confused about what I’m talking about? Here are the stats I refer to defined:
WHIP – Walks plus hits by innings pitched: (BB + H) / IP = WHIP
ERA – Earned Run Average: (Earned Runs * 9) / IP = ERA
FIP – Fielding Independent Pitching: (13*HR+3*BB-2*K / IP) + League Factor Evaluates a pitching by how he would have done with an average defense behind him by keeping track of things that a pitcher can control (walks, strikeouts, home runs allowed) as opposed to things he cannot (hits allowed, runs allowed).
DER – Defense Efficiency Ratio: (Batters Faced – (Hits + Walks + Hit By Pitch + Strikeouts)) / (Batters Faced – (Home Runs, Walks + Hit By Pitch + Strikeouts)) How often fielders convert balls put into play into outs.
G/F – Groundball-to-Flyball ratio.
Hr/9 – Home Runs allowed per nine innings: (HR * 9) / IP
K/9 – Strikeouts per nine innings: (K * 9) / IP
BB/9 – Walks per nine innings: (BB * 9) / IP

Let’s be blunt. Gavin pitched very, very poorly. I cannot imagine a pitcher unraveling as badly as Gavin did: he went from throttling the most potent offensive team in the NL to being a sieve on the mound. His 2005 minor league stats are mostly respectable, aside from the high walk ratio, so I wasn’t entirely surprised to see him back in the Phillies rotation for 2006. Here is how Gavin did at the start of the season:

HR/9: 2.32
BB/9: 5.30
K/9: 5.63
ERA: 7.29
FIP: 7.01
WHIP: 1.88

Since then he has returned to the safety of Triple-A Scraton to regain his form. Here is how Gavin has done with the Red Barons:

HR/9: 0.76
BB/9: 2.49
K/9: 7.34
ERA: 4.35
WHIP: 1.31

I actually think that Gavin’s ERA is much too high and doesn’t adequately show how well he is pitching in Scranton. I suspect his FIP ERA is much lower (I can’t calculate it, however, because I just don’t have the time), probably in the 3.00 or lower range. I really think Gavin is pitching well and that this bodes well for his future with the Phillies. To be sure, when Gavin returns there are a few issues to work out, namely, his slide towards being a fly-ball pitcher:

2004: 1.52
2005: 1.12
2006: 0.97

As I mentioned in my post on Ryan Madson yesterday, being a fly-ball pitcher at Citizens Bank Ballpark is a risky proposition. However, the worst part about this is that Gavin can’t blame Citizens for his woes this season:

Home / Away:
HR/9: 1.98 / 2.67
BB/9: 5.27 / 5.33
K/9: 5.93 / 5.33
ERA: 7.57 / 7.00

Ignore the ERA, clearly Gavin pitched much, much worse on the road than at Citizens. Which brings up another issue: was Gavin just snake-bit in 2006?

Yesterday I noted that Ryan was on the receiving end of some pretty lousy defensive play. Is Gavin’s performance simply unlucky? Was he cursed by bad luck / bad defense? Answer: Yes and No.

Yes, Gavin looks a little unlucky. I was surprised to see that the percentage of fly-balls he allowed to become home runs was so high in 2006: 20.9%, compared with 13.9% in 2005. So a few of those home runs are flukes.

However, Gavin has been the recipient of good defense this season. Ryan was unlucky because, despite reducing the number of line-drives he allowed by one-fifth, which ought to make things easier on the defense since three-quarters of lien drives fall for hits, the Phillies defense still declined about forty points. In contrast, Gavin has allowed many more line-drives in 2006: from 19.1% to 23.8%, and he seen his DER drop from .709 to .691. That drop is largely due to Gavin allowing so many line-drives off the bats of opposing hitters. That .691 DER is much better than the team average of .678, and Gavin’s nearly 24% is much higher than the team’s 20% line-drive rate.

So do I think Gavin Floyd is a lost cause? No. I think he’ll contribute to the team in 2007, but I wonder if he’ll crack into the rotation, which will likely be made up of Brett Myers, Jon Lieber, Cole Hamels, possibly Randy Wolf and probably Ryan Madson. Is there any room for Gavin? We’ll have to see.

I for one do NOT want to see Floyd pitching for the Phillies again. I don't hate him, but it disgusts me to watch him pitch. He is still young and maybe would could swap him for something. But then there is always the risk he "figures" it out and goes on to success.
I think he's worth another shot. He does pitch like a pussy & appears as if he's ready to break down & cry at times but when his curve works it's disgusting. He's young !!!!!!!! I'm just afraid that if he's cast off to someone else he could be the next Sandberg/Fergie Jenkins/any other dude the phillies mis-judged & became a stud. I say give the kid one more chance. I think people make too much about the whole "Let the vererans like Pratt & Fasano nuture the kid"........Let him pitch to the every day catcher (say what you want about Lieby - he's a MAJOR upgrade over anyone else Floyd's pitched to). He's had enough nurturing. Enough time to get his stuff together. Game plan: -get out there & be aggressive. Make hitters look retarded with the curve. Throw it every pitch untill you "Figure it out". This is your last chance-
Great Post !!!!!!!!
He kinda blows.
Thanks for the comments guys.... I hope the Phillies let him work the 'pen a little and see if he's worth saving, otherwise deal him to an AL team...
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