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Gavin Floyd, Buy Or Sell?

Gavin Floyd has been a rather consistent pitcher the past few years, as his xFIP has been nowhere below 3.64 and nowhere above 3.73 over the past three seasons. This year, Floyd’s ERA looks great, with a 2.53 mark through seven starts and 46.1 innings, but once again his xFIP is comparable to season’s past, with a 3.77 mark.

The worry with Floyd is that his ERA has consistently been above his peripherals, which likely has something to do with his home ballpark. He has an 11.4% home run per fly ball ratio for his career, with a 12.4% mark at home and 10.6% away. Homers have not been kind to Floyd in his career, and especially not when pitching in his hitter friendly home ballpark.

This year, Floyd’s HR/FB rate sits at 7.7%, which is markedly below his career norm. Even so, he has posted a similar rate in the past, with a 7.6% mark in 2010. That year, he posted a career low FIP of 3.46, but his ERA still remained above 4.00 due to a .325 BABIP.

This year, both his aforementioned HR/FB rate and his BABIP of .225 are very low, which points to a regression sooner or later. But, before we just look at those numbers and say that Floyd will revert back to the higher home run rates and earned run average, it is important to see if he is doing anything differently on the mound.

In looking at his pitch frequency, PITCHf/x has him throwing his cutter and two-seam fastball more frequently than last season, with his 32% cutter rate far above his career 15.6% mark. The increased reliance on those two pitches has resulted in his change up becoming a rather rare pitch, as he is throwing it just 4.1% of the time compared to a 7.4% career average. Floyd has not been extremely different on the mound, but this new cutter heavy approach, while still maintaining similar four-seam fastball rates, has led to a strikeout rate of 23%. His career average is just 18.1% and he has been above 20% just once in his career.

Floyd likely is in for a regression, but if he continues to utilize his cutter he may be in for less of a regression than what would immediately be assumed. Even so, now is a very good time to sell high on Floyd, as his performance to this point is highly due to a very low BABIP against. If you can move him for more value than when you drafted him, now would be a great time to do so.