Gavin Floyd was a potential bust in 2009 due to ratios that didn’t match his numbers through last season. He has regressed, but not nearly to his FIP or xFIP. John Danks had also beaten is FIP and xFIP, but with a strong K/BB and average groundball rates he seemed to be the better choice in 2009. Looking at the numbers they have been almost the same.
IP ERA W K K/9 K/BB HR/F BABIP LOB% xFIP Gavin Floyd 157.7 3.94 10 134 7.65 2.53 9.60% 0.295 69.10% 3.83 John Danks 141 3.96 10 116 7.40 2.27 9.80% 0.295 73.20% 4.42
Floyd’s average performance in 2008 was a bit deceiving. He has always been a much better pitcher against right handed hitters. His career K/BB against right handers is 2.49 and in 2008 it went up to 3.23. This looked like a great step forward, but his numbers against left handers was 1.39. Putting this togethor made him a solid bet in games against teams loaded with right handers, but not left-handed batters.
In 2009 Floyd has seemed to find a balance. His K/BB is now at 2.59 for right handers and 2.48 versus left handers. He seems to have added a bit more off speed pitches this year and his contact rate against on pitches out of the zone have dropped.
His skills have seemed to find a level around 2.50-3.00 and he should maintain the skills for an ERA around 4.00 going forward. His strikeout rate is fair so he adds a solid amount of strikeouts as well.
|MLB: May 03 White Sox at Rangers
03 May 2009: Chicago White Sox starting pitcher John Danks (50) on the mound during the game between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. (Icon/SMI)
After this season we will have to look back and wonder who the real John Danks is. In 2008 Danks took a big step forward. With a solid K/BB and an improving groundball rate, he looked like a great bet to meet or beat his 2008 numbers. As a lefty he should dominate left handers more than Floyd, but over his career he has fared similar to Floyd. His K/BB against right handed batters is at 2.50 while at 2.06 versus left handers. This year they have both been around 2.27 making him average against both.
Looking at this year his control has not fared as well and his BB/9 has returned to 2007 levels at 3.26 making his solid K/BB drop to 2.27. He is having trouble getting swings on his pitches out of the zone this year. Last year 27.9 percent of his pitches out of the zone were swung at, but this year he regressed to 22.3 percent.
His xFIP shows this year he has been fairly lucky and could regress even more this year. He also has not shown the ability to maintain a BB/9 as low as in 2008 at 2.63 since Double-A. He does also have a solid strikeout rate that adds value, but his walks are borderline for his skills. He does have some track record in the minors for higher strikeout rates, but eight would likely be his limit. He seems to be one of the pitcher who has failed to dominate left handers, but managers have not learned to keep their left handers in the lineup.
Both pitchers are still young and having less than 550 innings they are still establishing their skills in the majors. They also have to contend with the inflated home runs pitching in US Cellular and with average groundball rates. These two pitchers are very much clones statistically and hold value as late round picks to fill your pitching staff.
Floyd still gets some flak for his poor component ERAs in 2008 and might continue to fall later in drafts than Danks. I would expect him to be a better value based on draft selection, but Danks would be the player more expected to develop better skills if either of them does.