What's next for Gavin Floyd?

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What's next for Gavin Floyd?

I'm a big fan of FIP. In most cases, it's an accurate predictor of future performance, a much better evaluative tool than ERA. It factors in three things pitchers can directly control: walks, strikeouts and home runs -- thus, Fielding Independent Pitching.

FIP is why I was concerned about Gavin Floyd going in to 2009. His results were fantastic in 2008, and his 3.84 ERA still stands as a career high. But his FIP was a full-season high of 4.77, which seemed to be a harbinger of doom for the next season.

An odd thing happened after late May of 2009, though. Floyd went from being a pitcher who seemingly pitched above his ability to one who pitches below his ability. Basically, Floyd's walk rate and home run rates went down while his strikeout rate went up. And so did his ERA.

Floyd has thrown 574 innings from 2009-2011 with a 4.17 ERA. So just as his 2008 FIP predicted, his ERA did go up -- but the weird thing is that FIP went down. Basically, Floyd has done better at the things he can control while seeing worse results.

In theory, Floyd should be primed for a breakout. A lot of sabermetrically-oriented analysts value him as the guy with a good FIP, and thus value him highly.

But three straight years of a sub-3.85 FIP and above-4.00 ERA are probably a trend. Throw Floyd's win-loss record out the window -- that he's 33-37 in the last three years isn't important.

A side note, though: As you'll see in the sidebar video, Floyd is concentrating on getting himself -- and, of course, his team -- wins. Pitcher wins (not above replacement) are not a good stat for writers to use in evaluation, since they're so incredibly influenced by factors out of a pitcher's control.

But for a pitcher? It's great that Floyd wants to win games. For Floyd, if he gets the W, that means the White Sox won. Of course, if he is shouldered with a loss, it may not be his fault, and no pitcher should ever "pitch to the score" (i.e. be content with allowing five if the offense scores six). But since pitchers aren't analysts, executives, etc., wanting to win games is a good thing.

Anyways, back to meaningful stuff Floyd can actually control. This isn't a comparison looking at Floyd's mentality, more in terms of results: Floyd has become Javier Vazquez lite. In two of his three years with the Sox, Vazquez' ERA was nearly a full run higher than his FIP, save 2007 when he had a 3.74 ERA and 3.80 FIP.

Vazquez did a lot of things right, posting good strikeout and walk rates. But his command was often an issue, leading to the righty throwing quite a few hittable pitches and, thus, the high ERAs. The big inning was always an issue for Vazquez while with the White Sox; he'd cruise along for four innings then unravel in the fifth.

But if Floyd is Vazquez lite, that's actually not a bad thing. He's had better ERAs than in Vazquez' worst years, and remember, Vazquez put together a fantastic year in 2007. If the ERAs are neutral, it's much better to have a lower-FIP guy like Floyd than a higher-FIP guy, since the lower FIP pitcher is much more likely to have "big" season -- just as Vazquez did five years ago.

Maybe this is the year Floyd finally breaks the trend of the last three seasons. But even if he doesn't, he'll be a valuable asset to the White Sox as a solid mid-rotation pitcher.

Preview: White Sox, Red Sox duel Tuesday night on CSN

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Preview: White Sox, Red Sox duel Tuesday night on CSN

The White Sox take on the Red Sox on Tuesday night, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins live from the South Side at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Tuesday's starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (3-1, 1.47 ERA) vs. Steven Wright (2-2, 1.37 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you're ready for the action.

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Road Ahead: White Sox return home after seven-game road trip

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Road Ahead: White Sox return home after seven-game road trip

CSN's Chuck Garfien and Bill Melton talk about what's next for the White Sox, which host the Red Sox and Twins, in this week's Honda Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana Honda dealers.

After playing 19 games in 19 days the White Sox finally had an off day on Monday. The busy stretch ended in a seven-game road trip, which the Sox went 5-2 in.

Garfien and Melton talked about the success the White Sox have had on the road as the team returns home to face the Red Sox and Twins in a pair of three-game series this week. The Red Sox lead the AL East with a 15-10 record while the Twins have the worst record in the American League.

The White Sox entered Monday with more wins than any other team in the majors.

Tested White Sox get some well-earned rest

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Tested White Sox get some well-earned rest

They’re pretty darn accomplished and they’re finally off.

As they relax and unwind Monday, their first day off since April 12 and only second scheduled one since the season began, the White Sox have to feel a sense of satisfaction.

Not only do they boast a major-league best 18 wins and they’ve already spent spent 22 days in first place in the American League Central, but the team also conducted itself extremely well during one of its most grueling stretches of the season. 

Courtesy of a 7-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, the White Sox finished off a run of 19 games in 19 days, including a dozen on the road, with a 13-6 mark. Given the rash of injuries suffered late in the span, manager Robin Ventura might describe Monday’s brief respite as well earned.

“Everybody’s ready for the off day,” Ventura said. “We knew it was there all along, and I thought the guys have handled it great, just taking care of each day as it comes, and we’ve got some guys who are banged up a little bit, some guys who are going on the (disabled list), and it’s been a pretty active stretch as far as playing games, winning games, losing guys to the DL, guys stepping it up for those guys, and so far it’s been pretty good.”

The schedule has been unrelenting for the White Sox (but more on that in a bit). 

What has raised the degree of difficulty is the way players began to drop like flies toward the end of April. 

It began April 24 with the hamstring strain that landed catcher Alex Avila on the 15-day DL.

His replacement, Kevan Smith, joined the team and suffered back spasms in pregame stretch on April 26, which not only removed him from making his major league debut, it also put him on the DL. 

Closer David Robertson returned to the club Sunday after he missed three of four games in Baltimore to attend the funeral of his father-in-law. The White Sox promoted Daniel Webb to pick up the slack in Robertson’s absence and the right-hander struck out the side in a scoreless inning on Thursday before he went on the DL with right elbow flexor inflammation.

Then on Friday, designated hitter Avisail Garcia tweaked his hamstring running to first on the final play of the game. As of Sunday morning, Ventura said Garcia’s availability for Tuesday might still be in question as Garcia wasn’t going to test the hamstring on Sunday. Garcia briefly tested it Saturday afternoon and said it’s not a serious enough injury to go on the DL, but also ruled himself out of action until at least Tuesday.

And on Sunday, Todd Frazier appeared to be in pain for several minutes after an Ubaldo Jimenez pitch hit him on his hand, though the third baseman wound up staying in the game.

Yet the White Sox endured through all of these speed bumps and closed out a seven-game road trip through Toronto and Baltimore with a win and a 5-2 record.

“We come here (Sunday), we do a job and we’re able to go back home with a lot of positivity and have a nice off day and relax,” second baseman Brett Lawrie said. 

The schedule has been anything but kind to the White Sox.

Had it not been for an April 10 rainout, the White Sox would be tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the most games played in the majors. To boot, 17 of their first 26 games have taken place on the road, where the White Sox are off to a 12-5 start, having won three of five series and splitting another.

Their strength of schedule also increased as the month wore on. So far, the White Sox played six teams that finished the 2015 season with a winning record, including two division-winners. 

Over their last 10 games, the White Sox played 2015 AL West champs Texas and AL East champs Toronto. They finished off the run with four in Baltimore, a place that has never been friendly, and went 8-2 in the process. 

So perhaps the White Sox will give themselves a pat on the back on Monday, or order a hot fudge sundae, or maybe even upgrade from a compact to a mid-size rental. 

They’ve handled themselves well through their first real test. And starting pitcher Chris Sale, baseball’s first six-game winner, said Sunday they’ll be ready for the next one, too.

“We’re playing great baseball against good teams,” Sale said. “We had some tough teams to face early on and the way we’ve handled it and the way we’ve played has been great. We go back to Chicago, enjoy the off day and keep it rolling.”