February 10, 2012
The Unsexy, Underrated Gavin Floyd
Yesterday, I set a new low in the MLB.com Fantasy411 Industry mock draft when I drafted Gavin Floyd 57 spots below his current ADP. Floyd has a current ADP of 229, which ranks him 85th among all starting pitchers for the 803 mixed league drafts run over the past two weeks. Floyd is currently being drafted behind the likes of Vance Worley, Edwin Jackson, Matt Harrison, R.A. Dickey, and Ivan Nova while coming in ahead of Ted Lilly, Mike Minor, Drew Pomeranz, Brett Anderson, and Mark Buehrle.
Maybe it is just something about this group of drafters that does not like Floyd, because last season in this same exercise, he went 101 picks lower than his ADP. I get that Floyd is not exactly the sexiest pick for starting pitchers, but why is he being treated as if he has the plague two straight seasons by the Fantasy411-sponsored industry mock drafters?
Over the past four seasons, Floyd has provided a variety of attractive fantasy skills but has yet to put it all together in the same season. He has been remarkably healthy, avoiding the disabled list for his entire major league career outside (though he did have two soreness issues in September but didn’t land on the DL thanks to expanded rosters). His best season ERA-wise was 2008 when his LOB% was 71 percent, although it’s sat between 67 to 70 percent (league average is around 72 percent), which explains some of the discrepancy between his ERA and FIP. That might be a little worrisome, but the sample is still small enough where panic isn't warranted. His low strikeout rate has jumped up over the past three seasons, and while it is trending downward, so is his walk rate. His home run rate is acceptable given his hitter-friendly home ballpark, and his WHIP has been very good for an American League starter outside of some BABIP misfortune in 2010.
According to Baseball Reference’s Play Index tool, only 42 pitchers have pitched a season from 2008 to 2011 in which they met each of the following criteria:
Only CC Sabathia and Roy Halladay have made the list each of the past four seasons, while Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, and Zack Greinke have done it three times each. The list of pitchers having done so in at least two of the past four seasons is just 14 long, and Gavin Floyd makes that list, joined by Jered Weaver, Mat Latos, Matt Cain, Adam Wainwright, Javier Vazquez, Josh Johnson, Roy Oswalt, and Dan Haren. How is consistency being rewarded by the drafters?
Clearly, the regular mock drafters and draftbots do not see eye to eye on Latos, who has the largest gap. Meanwhile Floyd is being bunched in with one pitcher coming off major surgery and another who is currently unemployed with a very bad back. Is lack of sexiness the new market inefficiency or something?
PECOTA has Floyd down for 189 innings of work for this season with a 3.87 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 11 wins in 30 starts. Additionally, Floyd’s breakout/improve/collapse splits are 11/40/22 with player comps of Oswalt, John Lackey, and Jack McDowell. His projected 3.1 WARP puts him in the top 32 for all starting pitchers this coming season, ahead of the likes of Michael Pineda, Max Scherzer, Tim Hudson, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Garza, and Tommy Hanson, to name a few.
Mike Petriello discussed him last week as well; Floyd is what he is. He isn’t sexy and he is unlikely to have a big season of wins for a rebuilding White Sox team, but he is consistent in regards to workload, ratios, and strikeouts. As long as he is going to be lumped in with pitchers that are returning from injury or are currently unemployed, he should be targeted in drafts. Floyd is entering his final guaranteed year in Chicago, but the White Sox do have a team-controlled option for 2013 at $9.5M. Given their current state of affairs, the team may be forced to exercise that since their farm system is emptier than the “Kim Kardashian for President” campaign chest, but the team could also trade him for younger talent, which would likely lead to a more favorable fantasy environment. Either way, there is a lot to be said for getting someone with Floyd’s health record and skill level in the final rounds of a mixed-league draft or in the single dollar days of an auction. If he is this overlooked by the “experts,” he could be even more overlooked in your own local leagues.