Gavin Floyd and xFIP

After getting shelled by the Texas Rangers on June 2nd, 2010 (2.2 IP, 6 earned) Gavin Floyd’s ERA weighed in at a rotund 6.64, to the uninitiated it would appear that he was having a terrible season, but what is the truth?  During Floyd’s early season struggles it was pretty clear that luck was not on his side as his BABIP in April was 369 and in May slightly better but still high at 343, while his strand rates during those months were 55.8% and 66.8 un-respectively.  Floyd is throwing harder (FB velocity 2009-91.8, 2010-92.4), missing just as many bats (2009 contact%-77.8, 2010-77.0) and even getting hitters to chase his pitches more often (2009 o-swing%-27.6, 2010-28.3).

Someone in my fantasy league made a comment regarding Floyd’s terrible season and I commented “outside of a brutal BABIP and low strand rate, Gavin Floyd has essentially been the same pitcher” to which I was basically ridiculed.  But as we can see from this chart, Gavin Floyd was and is the same pitcher and therein lays the beauty of advanced pitching metrics like FIP or xFIP and the use of the peripherals that help gather these stats (BABIP, strand rate, HR/FB etc).

  K/9 BB/9 BABIP LOB% AVG ERA xFIP
Apr 7.8 4.1 369 55.8 301 6.49 4.09
May 7.0 2.2 343 66.8 296 5.63 4.12
Jun 8.0 2.3 281 72.5 217 2.58 3.30
Jul 6.4 2.3 290 80.0 234 1.01 3.35
2010 7.4 2.7 320 67.9 261 3.87 3.69
2009 7.6 2.7 292 69.7 246 4.06 3.69

 

When we look at K/9, BB/9 and xFIP from April all the way through this year and even from last season’s totals we see what xFIP is attempting to do for us, take out all of the noise and some of the factors pitchers cannot control (such as what happens after the ball is put in play) and give us a real idea of how said pitcher is performing, relatively speaking.

Look at how steady the xFIP column is in particular, even when Floyd had a month in which his ERA was 6.49, his xFIP remained calm and cool at 4.09.  But just as important look at his unbelievable Bob Gibson-like 1.01 ERA from July, again his xFIP tempers this and brings us all back to planet earth as it checks in at 3.35.

This is simply breaking down who Gavin Floyd is as a pitcher and this is also a simple way to explain and show the value and usage of xFIP.  I think it also helps show how useless ERA really is when evaluating a pitchers overall value and performance. 

For those curious, since that June 2nd shellacking Floyd has gone on a hellacious run – 62.1 IPs, 45 hits, 14 BB – 52 K’s, good for a 1.74 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.  All things considered Floyd is having a career year, who would’ve guessed?



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Bart99
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Bart99

Cool read.

Gavin Floyd has been an absolute monster for my fantasy team in the past 2 months and really one of the best pitchers in the game in that span also.

Reality is he is basically back to his career levels after one of the worst starts to a season I can remember for a pitcher of his level (though his current FIP is a career best, and an impressive 3.00).

Maybe between Liriano and Floy for the best pitcher in the AL Central this season?

Matt
Guest
Matt

Except in April in May his xFIP was close to half a run higher than it was last year. Granted, his ERA was much higher than that, as he appeared the victim of some poor luck and timing, but bad luck and bad timing are going to hurt you all the more if you’re not up to par yourself, which he wasn’t. His xFIP and other numbers aren’t comparable to last year’s numbers simply because his luck turned. He has been pitching better.

Matt
Guest
Matt

In April he was walking 4.1/9 while striking out less than 8/9. Not terrible numbers, certainly not deserving of a 6.49 ERA, but he’s certainly capable of better. And looking at strand rate out of context isn’t something I enjoy doing much. Over the season it tends to average out, but when dealing with SSS it can be really wonky. I mean, what’s more likely to score, a lead off triple or a 2 out single? If you’re starting off the inning leaving too many cookies over the middle of the plate and giving up a bunch of lead off extra base hits, I’m not going to consider you unlucky for having a low strand rate. Not saying that was what Floyd was doing, I have no idea if that’s the case here, just explaining my uneasiness for assuming a low strand rate = unlucky, especially when only dealing with a month or 2 of data.

joemoedee
Guest
joemoedee

It’s basically a repeat of last year. His ERA was inflated, but all of his “advanced” stats were pretty stellar. By the second half, his ERA caught up with his FIP. I wonder why he seems to trend this way?

macseries
Guest
macseries

If you check out his GB%, it’s gone WAY up this year, and consequently his HR/9 is cut in half from his career rate.

Ben Hall
Guest
Ben Hall

Good article on a stat everyone should know.

One quibble, though: “I think it also helps show how useless ERA really is when evaluating a pitchers overall value and performance.”

ERA is a great indicator of a pitcher’s performance. A pitcher’s job is to prevent runs, and that’s what ERA tells us about. What it doesn’t do is tell us if the pitcher was lucky in that performance, and what it definitely doesn’t do is tell us whether he is likely to repeat that performance.

But if a pitcher pitches a complete game shutout for your team, you don’t care (for that game) how it happened.

Sox2727
Guest
Sox2727

Solid article. Before I became a FanGraphs addict, I was one of the baseball simpletons who thought Floyd was having a garbage year through that start against Texas due to the high ERA. I even took it a step further and said he was “Jon Garland with slightly better stuff.” I have seen the light however, and now truly understand what a solid year Floyd the Barber is really having. He has really molded into a solid, dependable Major League starter.

james dickson
Guest
james dickson

Floyd’s success comes and goes with his curveball control. When he has the pitch he’s fantastic, when he loses it he’s crap

This would certainly suggest he needs a month or two to get the feel of his curveball feel back each season

Will Thompson
Guest
Will Thompson

I started reading FanGraphs in April and got comfortable with BABIP and LOB% in the spring (later HR/FB). I then traded Brian Matusz for GF right before that 6/2 start. I was laughed at for that trade then and even more on 6/3. That trade was the first one solely based on my research from here. I have made some great trades this year (DLee & JBartlett for DWright; Niese, Ely, Nieman, Richard for Lester & Pap) but that has been my favorite so far. Hopefully my 6/28 trade of Corey Hart for Carlos Lee will work out the same way (not looking so good so far). My new favorite website!

Sanderson13
Guest
Sanderson13

I enjoy using advanced metrics and sound logic to beat the crap out of my fellow owners in our keeper league.

Signed,
Proud Owner of Gavin Floyd since June 15

CHIsox22
Guest
CHIsox22

Cool man, Floyd has been on freakin fire. Figured it wasn’t doom and gloom in April but it was a rough road not dropping him.

kirakillers
Member
kirakillers

“Someone in my fantasy league made a comment regarding Floyd’s terrible season and I commented “outside of a brutal BABIP and low strand rate, Gavin Floyd has essentially been the same pitcher” to which I was basically ridiculed” Me too :)

One month ago, I wanted to trade Floyd in my league and people ridiculed me saying that they wouldn’t give someone better than Corey Patterson or Vernon Wells for Floyd. I got Floyd in all my teams and he has helped me more than any pitcher, more than Josh Johnson, more than Jon Lester. In a keeper league I took Latos and Floyd from FA and they, plus Josh Johnson, have given me the best pitching staff of the league. And I am really thinking that Floyd could have a place as a keeper in a 9 players keeper league. Thanks Gavin :)

Joathan Sher
Guest
Joathan Sher

Gavin Floyd was dropped May 19 in my 14-team mixed roto league. I picked him up June 19 and have enjoyed the pendulum swing of luck in the other direction.

YG
Guest
YG

You can’t trust what fantasy players say, they live for the here and now, and if they are smart they carry themselves like poker players. I know I stated to someone that owned Floyd that he was almost undraftable in a 10 team standard mixed league; of course I was the one that picked him up for his amazing run (got him in every league I’m in actually). I had a keen memory of what he did last year, but what I wasn’t aware of is how sick his xfip has been the last 2 months, although you could pretty much assume that the way he was pitching.

One thing xfip really has helped me with this year is liriano’s value, and pretty much mentally made me realize that he was back to being the stud everyone thought he could be and pretty much any trade straight up for him isn’t really much worth it. Obviously, people that don’t know of xfip won’t understand how sick Liriano’s been but that is okay with me.

One thing to those trying to get people to think like you in terms of value in your league — DON’T DO THAT! Unless they already frequently visit fangraphs heavily OR you want them to be playing on the same field as you its not worth it. Fangraphs is like a season long cheatsheet that people really aren’t hip to; I never disclose #s like fip, xfip, pitch FX, etc to other people, its pretty much going to never be worth it. So while people rag the players that you know will be good due to the underlying #’s I suggest you remain quiet and act nieve unless you want everyone else in your league playing with the same cheat sheet as you! Obviously its different story when everyone in your league frequents fangraphs, but most leagues outside of ones created by people on this site FOR this site tend to generally lack a person that follows fangraphs.

Toz
Guest

@WillThompson

No offense Will, but those first two trades have nothing to do with research here; they are clearly related to stupidity on the part of your trading partner, or dump deals. Richard for Lester and Paps in a straight-up trade? Seriously? That trade might get vetoed in my league, which has seen one veto in 24 years.