Undervalued in 2012: Gavin Floyd

Today I will take a look at another pitcher who given his current statistics, will likely be undervalued in 2012. Of course, there’s always the chance our pitcher in the spotlight finishes off the season with shutouts, but we’ll assume his stats change little through season’s end.

Gavin Floyd has been one heck of an interesting case for sabermetricians and the so-called “scouts” (as they like to be called) of fantasy baseball. In 2008, Floyd experienced an apparent breakout year when he notched 17 wins and posted a 3.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, after after struggling in his previous seasons with the White Sox and Phillies. Unfortunately, his skills did not support his ERA, as his SIERA was a less impressive 4.49 and xFIP a nearly identical 4.50. An unsustainable .256 BABIP was the cause of his surprising year, but the scouting side of fantasy owners claimed stuff about his curve ball and it’s difficulty to swing and some other nonsense.

Then in 2009, as all the saberist fantasy owners were calling Floyd a bust candidate for the impending season, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He actually improved his skills, enough so that suddenly his 2008 ERA would have been supported if those skills had taken place then. This time, a slightly below average LOB% caused his ERA to actually rest at a mark slightly higher than his SIERA and xFIP. In 2010, it was once again the same story. The strong skills carried over, but this time it was attack of the .325 BABIP causing his ERA to exceed 4.00.

Looking under the hood, it was clear that Floyd had truly established himself as a pretty good pitcher, and so heading into 2011, I was happy to be a Floyd supporter. This year, though, his LOB% has dropped to just 67.4%. He hasn’t really had a long history of lower than average LOB% marks, so it would be silly to suggest he simply has problems pitching from the stretch. His K% and K/9 have declined a bit, but that has been offset by further gains with his control, as his F-Strike% has leaped to a fantastic 65%.

With a disappointing 4.42 ERA, despite a strong 1.19 WHIP, and the number of offensive busts on the White Sox stealing the story, it is likely that Floyd is going to be forgotten in 2012 drafts. He should make for an excellent AL-Only purchase and should generate decent value in mixed leagues as well.





Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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Stuck in a slump
10 years ago

Given fantasy’s reliance on standard measures of players, I just don’t think that you can trust Floyd to be anything better than a 4th pitcher at this point. He just doesn’t give you enough K’s and his ERA is all over the place. Maybe if I was in a league using sabermetric stats like FIP I would feel better about drafting him, but otherwise I’ll take a known quantity like Dempster who seems to be having an outlier year that could be attributed to his poor BABIP.

If you’re going to sacrifice ERA to get a pitcher, you better get a guy who comes with some assurance of plus K rates.

The A Team
10 years ago
Reply to  Mike Podhorzer

It would be more correct to say “should have been.” I haven’t watched Floyd at all this year, but I think we have enough data on him to label him an inconsistent fantasy performer.

I wouldn’t touch him for more than a spot start against a weak offense, but I’m a bit of a pitching elitist. And the majority of my leagues are 12 team, deep roster formats so Floyd isn’t playable as more than a spot starter role. In an AL only format I’d be more enthused about him.

Max
10 years ago
Reply to  Mike Podhorzer

So assuming his peripherals are correct, he’s Edwin Jackson of this year. Eek.

Stuck in a slump
10 years ago
Reply to  Mike Podhorzer

On my team the highest ERA pitcher is Pineda at 3.72, the lowest K’s is R.A. Dickey who I picked up off of waivers at 126. Of all of my SP’s, the only ones that posted a 4+ ERA in the past three years were Dickey, Masterson and Gio Gonzalez, if there is an ERA risk involved in drafting a SP, I want high K potential, and if Masterson had posted the ugly numbers that Floyd put up I would have traded him for a one category producer. I wouldn’t attempt to acquire Floyd and would only consider drafting him in later rounds if he managed to be available only because I think he has marginal upside.

I’m more curious as to whether or not there is an error with the PitchFX though. It says he stopped throwing a slider this year, but starting throwing a cutter at a similar rate (24% slider last year, 28% cutter). Either way though, he’s only got one good pitch, his fastball and curve are marginal and his change is awful. There’s a decent bit not to like about him. I’d wait him out and see how he does.

The A Team
10 years ago
Reply to  Mike Podhorzer

Stuck,

It’s not a pitch f/x error so much as a reclassification. If you want to verify that, I recommend you find mike fast on Twitter.

Stuck in a slump
10 years ago
Reply to  Mike Podhorzer

Interesting A Team. I wonder why they decided to reclassify it though. Thanks for the heads up on that.

Slevin Kelevra
10 years ago
Reply to  Mike Podhorzer

I’ve heard the same story about Nolasco (“oh so unlucky….”) for the last 4 years

Maybe there’s a reason for that