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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.