Clone Wars: Gavin Floyd and John Danks

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

Gavin Floyd

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.

John Danks

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.

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Kevin Jebens
Kevin Jebens

At the start of 2009, Bill James listed Danks as one of the 25 best major leaguers under age 25. And I know other sources were predicting good things for Danks and average (or poor) things for Floyd. But it just shows you the inconsistency and the growth factor of young pitchers. I like them both, but I only consider them a #4 (maybe #3) SP in fantasy.


Drafted Danks in like round 19 in a league, used him the first month and half, then dropped him as he started to stink.  Added him for spot starts along the way.  Never was impressed with Floyd.

I agree with Kevin above that they are both #4 starters in fantasy, guys that you would use depending on match-ups.  If either is your #3 I would bet you are not winning your league.


Both are pitchers that you have to monitor closely to use.  You can’t just buy the Danks or Floyd brand name and start them every time out

Danks requires you to pay attention to if he has strikezone control or not

Floyd requires you to see if he has his curveball or not

I’d agree with the #4 assessment for Roto purposes.  In terms of useful raw stats, they just don’t produce enough to be better