JAYS FROM THE COUCH LOOKS AT THE RECENT INJURY OF GAVIN FLOYD, AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE BLUE JAYS BULLPEN.
The Blue Jays bullpen sure has faced it’s fair share of adversity this year, recently and rightfully so, taking a majority of the blame for losing so many close ball games this season. The bullpen Tuesday night took another hit, when manager John Gibbons reported that veteran right hander Gavin Floyd had suffered a torn lat muscle in his right arm. Floyd’s injury adds to the list of injured relievers this season, Brett Cecil is out with a left tricep strain, and Franklin Morales hasn’t seen the field much at all this year with fatigue in his left arm. Floyd’s injury will not require surgery, but the tear in his arm is bad enough that he might be out the entire season.
Gavin Floyd’s return back to pitching on a Major League mound, has not been easy these past few seasons. In the mid 00’s, Floyd had cemented himself as a starter for the Chicago White Sox, pitching in 190IP in three of his five seasons. His ERA may have been over 4.00 in each of his five seasons starting for the White Sox, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t effective. Floyd’s FIP was below 4.00 three times, and he posted a WAR above 2 in four of his five seasons.
In 2013, things would take a turn for the worse, after only 24.1IP of the season, Floyd would hit the 15-day disabled list with elbow soreness, which would later be found to be a torn UCL, requiring Tommy John Surgery and missing the entire 2013 season. In the 2014 offseason, he would sign a one year deal for $4 million with the Atlanta Braves. Floyd would pitch a total of 77.4IP in the Braves organization, until another injury struck. This time he would fracture his olecranon (the bone on the very tip of the elbow), and Floyd wouldn’t pitch for the rest of the 2014 season. In the 2015 season, he signed yet another one year deal, this time with the Cleveland Indians. Things wouldn’t go his way again, this time his luck placed him on the 60-day disabled list in Spring Training after another fracture in his elbow would require surgery. Floyd would only pitch 15.3IP for the Indians. Set to make yet another return, he signed a one year/one million dollar contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. Floyd would impress in Spring Training, eventually losing the fifth starter job to Aaron Sanchez, but finding a home in the big league bullpen.
Gavin Floyd would bring his impressive play up north from Spring Training. In the months of Mar/Apr in 10.1IP, Floyd would post an ERA of 1.74, and a K-BB% of 20%. With Drew Storen, and Brett Cecil struggling on the mound, he would be slotted into the eighth inning role. Up to this point in the season, Floyd had appeared in 28 games, eight of those games pitching in multiple innings, pitching 31.0 innings total, to an ERA of 4.06, and a 3.96FIP.
Floyd’s presence in the bullpen will be missed, as he became extremely effective at getting out left handed batters. In 14IP against lefties, lefties are only hitting .111/.184/.267 against, striking out 11 times, and only walking four all season.
Floyd’s fastball/curveball combo have proven to be very effective, the value of those two pitches averages out to +2.55. As you can see from the heat map above, against lefties, Floyd likes to work up and in with his fastball, promoting as many choppers as possible. Floyd’s curveball has been deadly effective from either sides of the plate. He throws his curveball 34.11% of the time, but has only allowed three hits all season. Where he seems to get into trouble is with his fastball. His fastball is not overpowering by any means 92.8vFA, which hasn’t regressed surprisingly throughout all the injuries. With the fastball only touching the low 90’s, if his command is off slightly, which it has been on multiple occasions this seasons, the balls are being hit hard.
Potentially one of the biggest repercussions of Floyd’s injury was his potential to make the occasional spot start. With Aaron Sanchez’ inevitable move to the bullpen, or the struggling Stroman still trying to make things work, the Blue Jays might have decided to turn to Floyd for a starting role. He’s a pitcher with the resume to eat innings, and work deep into game. You can hear more about this idea on this week’s episode of the Jays Nest Podcast, found HERE
Floyd’s injury is another tough hit for the Blue Jays, however some reinforcements are on the way! Lefty, Cecil, is reported to be coming back for the Cleveland Indians series this weekend, and Blue Jays fans might be seeing Franklin Morales hit the mound for the first time this season. We hope that we see Floyd return into a Blue Jays uniform possibly in September of this year. If not, we hope Floyd can get another deal this offseason, in hopes to making a healthy big league return.
*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Joel Dinda UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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