Top Prospect #1: Gavin Floyd

The Phillies definitely have some young pitching coming along, even though they have also traded a bunch of young pitchers away. Gavin Floyd is the best of the best. He is a dominant type pitcher who has command of all his pitches and knows how to use them to get hitters out. It's just a matter of time - perhaps, moments - until he joins the Phillies rotation.

Phillies fans got just a taste of what they may see in the future when Gavin Floyd was pressed into major league service in 2004. Injuries to starting pitchers brought Floyd to the majors just a bit quicker than the Phillies would have liked, but the results were pretty good. This spring, the Phillies will take another look at Floyd, but the plan is for him to start the season at AAA Scranton and get more work. Don't be surprised though if Floyd is back in the majors before the usual September call-up. There are always injuries, slumps and possibly, even a trade or two that could move somebody out of the starting rotation.

For many reasons, Gavin Floyd was basically the only choice for the Phillies with the fourth overall pick in the 2001 Draft. There was some hope that Mark Prior would fall to the fourth spot, but the Cubs didn't allow that to happen. The other name to consider was Mark Teixeira. That was risky though and seemed like the J.D. Drew situation all over again. Just as Drew had done, Teixeira and his agent - Scott Boras - warned the Phillies that they weren't interested in getting a deal done with them. This time, the Phillies listened and looked elsewhere, leaving basically just Floyd as the right choice. It's possible that even had Teixeira not begged off of the Phillies, they would have still gone with Floyd over the slugging prospect who eventually wound up with Texas.

If Boras and Teixeira weren't enthralled with the idea of coming to Philadelphia, Floyd was. Coming out of the Baltimore area, Philadelphia afforded Floyd a chance to pitch pretty close to home. They were also an organization that would be willing to let him advance at a pretty fast pace, which he has.

If for some reason the Phillies do need Floyd to join the rotation out of spring training, he's ready for the majors. The extra time at AAA is just seasoning that the Phillies would like to give him. After all, he didn't even spend a full season at either the AA or AAA level, so a little more time in the minors wouldn't exactly hurt him.

Year / Team W L ERA G GS CG IP H R ER BB KO HR
2002 Lakewood 11 10 2.77 27 27 3 166.0 119 59 51 64 140 13
2003 Clearwater 7 8 3.00 24 20 1 138.0 128 61 46 45 115 9
2004 Reading 6 6 2.57 20 20 2 119.0 93 39 34 46 94 5
2004 Scranton 1 3 4.99 5 5 0 31.0 39 20 17 9 18 4
2004 Philadelphia 2 0 3.49 6 4 0 28.0 25 11 11 16 24 1
Career - Minors 25 27 2.94 76 72 6 454.0 379 179 148 164 367 32
Career - Majors 2 0 3.49 6 4 0 28.0 25 11 11 16 24 1

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies out of Mount Saint Joseph's High School (Maryland) in the first round - 4th overall pick - of the 2001 Draft.

Repertoire: Gavin Floyd's claim to fame is his curve ball. It was major league ready almost from the time that the Phillies drafted him and it's gotten even better. He also throws a fastball that seems to dig its way down into the strike zone and disappears, especially from right-handed hitters. He also has an above average change-up that is deceptive because his arm speed doesn't change. He isn't afraid to pitch inside to hitters and he has exceptional poise.

Projection: Floyd is a top of the rotation starter. He's just waiting for his chance in the majors and that chance will come at some point this season and it's likely he won't see the minors after that. His first audition last season went well, but he will be even better than that. A little more time at AAA isn't the worst idea in the world, but don't be surprised if the Phillies do something to make room for him in the rotation if a spot doesn't open up through the natural progression of things this season.

ETA: As soon as he is truly needed, Floyd is ready for the majors. If there is an injury to one of the starters this spring, or perhaps even if Brett Myers simply continues to struggle, Floyd would have a shot at making the club out of spring training. A more likely scenario is that the Phillies make room for him later in the season via a trade if they can get the right player or players in exchange. At the latest, Floyd will be a September call-up and be written into the rotation for next season.

Comparison: Perhaps because they were part of the same draft, or perhaps because they both have loads of talent, Floyd has been compared to Mark Prior, who was taken two picks ahead of him in the 2001 Draft. While Prior was in the majors by the end of 2002, it took Floyd a little longer, although some would argue that he could have taken the same path as Prior had the Phillies been willing to push him.


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