Brushing Up On Gavin Floyd

Gavin is quite clearly a source of uncertainty amongst SSS faithful.  We didn't decide definitively what we think of him and it's for good reason.  The same potential that got him drafted in the first round and made him an attractive target for Kenny in the Freddy trade remains evident.  He flashes knee-buckling stuff every start, no matter how well he's doing.  But who the hell knows what he's going to do next start?  The month and a half of nice starts were all but forgotten in his most recent performance against the Rangers, in which he managed to walk 7 batters in two and two-thirds innings.

He's definitely prone to bouts with momentary Blassitis and the underlying cause, inconsistent mechanics, shows up evidently in the HUPGOOD. His line against RHB clearly outlines the idea of control versus command.  He's thus far thrown just 31% balls on fastballs to RHB, significantly lower than the 36% average, and given up a miniscule .136 BABIP despite it being put in play at a 26% clip (20, or so, is average).  It's a very hittable pitch and a lack of good location is a part of that.  In other words, he's allowing his worst pitch to be put in play the most and has been incredibly lucky to not get hurt by it.  The ISO so far is low, but the percentage of hits that have gone for extra bases looks high to me (I don't have an average, but that seems like a lot, right?).  ISO and BABIP are bound to climb the more he pitches.  His luck so far is what's sustaining his success.

On the other hand, he possesses two plus breaking pitches in his slider and curve and undoubtedly the whiff rates would go up if he could find the zone more frequently with them.  Having watched a number of his starts and from checking with the Kalk tool, he misses opportunities to get Ks by missing too badly with his strike out pitches.  Sometimes he's able to come back and get them even later in the count, but by and large, simple control is the issue here.  He can't put pitches into the zone when he needs them.  When he has, like that month and a half streak, his K rate has risen as you would expect.  But has he actually improved the repeatability of his mechanics?  I doubt it.

This is year two for him with Cooper and, for me, it's the test of his future.  Coop can only do so much and it's seemed to me in a brief unscientific review of his past work, if the results aren't there in year two, it's unlikely to happen.  Typically whatever changes he's instituted, mechanical or otherwise (oftentimes, a new pitch), they usually take some time to perfect before mastery is achieved.  Having watched him, I don't think Floyd has the athleticism or, if you want, coordination to achieve what it has always seemed he can.  He does not seem to have the ability to flood the zone with his offspeed stuff and his fastball is still subpar.  I suspect that the ticks he'll continue to pick up until age 29 or so will improve his results and, at some point, allow him to have a break out season.  I'm just not sure the Sox should wait around to see it.  Other than Contreras, I see him as the most useful trading chip going forward, since I have to think some combo of Richard and Egbert can replicate what we should expect from Floyd in the second half.  If the Twins are refusing to fade and if we have serious intentions beyond merely getting to the post-season, we will need a legit 4th starter.  Right now, we have 1-2-3-5-5 as I see it.

This has been primarily a results based survey of Gavin's stuff.  I relied relatively little on what I know about what I've seen from him.  A real scouting report would definitely include an examination of those mechanics, since that's what this whole thing seemingly hinges on.  If he can't eventually manage repeatability, he's not going to live up to his potential.  Sadly, this is the unanswered question.  I'd need some video and a couple pairs of well trained eyes beyond my own to make this determination.

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