Gavin Floyd's Struggles Should Not Surprise Anyone

Mike WesterkampContributor IMay 12, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 05:  Starter Gavin Floyd #34  of the Chicago White Sox pitches in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals on May 5, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

After going 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA in 206.1 innings in 08, Gavin Floyd has been well....awful in '09.

Gavin Floyd's curve-ball has been talked about ever since he was taken 4th overall by the Phillies in 2001 and last year it was on full display to White Sox fans. Floyd began the season dominating, taking two no-hitters into the 8th inning twice in his first 10 starts.

This season Floyd has struggled with 7.32 ERA over his first seven starts. Who could have seen this coming for a pitcher who was so good in 2008? Not Kenny Williams, who gave him a contract for four years and $15.5 million before the season started. But Baseball prospectus and PECOTA saw it coming a mile away.

"The former Phillies first-round pick finally appeared to deliver on some of his promise last year after winning the fifth-starer's job out of spring training, Unfortunately, Floyd's season was largely and illusion, one the Sox shouldn't plan on seeing again, begin with Floy's lucky .259 opponents' average on balls in play (BABIP), which suppress his hits allowed; mix in league-average strikeout and walk rates, fly-ball tendencies and a correspondingly high homer rate, a complete inability to hold runners( a major league high 37 steals allowed against just 5 men caught stealing), and a ton of run support 5.9 runs per game and you've got a 17 game winner headed for a rude awakening in 2009."

A brutally honest excerpt from Baseball Prospectus '09 looks dead-on for Floyd's '09 season. The normal batting average on balls in play (BABIP) will range around .290-.315 depending on the fly ball/ground ball rates of the pitcher (ground ball pitchers will have a higher BABIP) and luck. Pitchers have no control over their BABIP no matter how great or how bad they are. The BABIP of the pitcher will be similar to league average unless they are extremly lucky or unlucky.


Pitcher A: .305 BABIP 22-3 2.54 ERA

Pitcher B: .305 BABIP 10-17 5.15 ERA

Guess who they are yet?

Cliff Lee and Barry Zito

Floyd's BABIP was .035 points below normal, a down year in 2009 should have been expected by the White Sox front office, instead he was paid to do it again which is simply impossible. Kenny Williams has his virtues as GM, but not knowing BABIP is just incompetent.