Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Gavin Floyd

Gavin Floyd just flirted with a no-hitter for the second time in a month, and he currently sports a 2.50 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. Has he finally turned the corner, as John Kruk suggests, after years of poor coaching from the Phillies organization?

Hell no, he hasn't. As any sabermetrician knows, there are three big things a pitcher needs to do to be effective in the long run:

- Striking out lots of batters
- Limiting walks
- Getting ground balls

Just about every starter with an extended track record of success in the majors scores well in at least two of these categories. There are high-K, low-BB guys (Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez); low-BB, high-GB% guys (Roy Halladay, Chien-Ming Wang); and high-K, high-GB% guys (A.J. Burnett). Some elite pitchers even excel at all three (Brandon Webb, Chris Carpenter).

What about Floyd? Well, his line for the season currently includes a 19:18 K/BB ratio, which is unacceptable in the Major Leagues. It also features a 32.6% groundball rate, terrible by any standard, especially in a big home run park like U.S. Cellular Field. Of the three main pitching skills, Floyd has exhibited exactly zero this year.

What does all that mean? It means that going forward, Floyd's results are going to be very bad, unless his peripherals make huge strides. If asked to project Floyd's ERA for the rest of this season, I'd take the over on 4.50.

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