The way Gavin Floyd pitched this spring, he almost had to make it into the Phillies rotation. It's sad to say, but the Phillies couldn't risk further mental damage by sending him to AAA. Although Floyd said he could handle it if it happened, the smart move from an emotional standpoint for Floyd, was to put him in the rotation. That being said, moving Ryan Franklin to the bullpen should help there as well and Ryan Madson figures to do well as a starter.
Floyd was turned into a mental ship wreck last season, first by his demotion to the bullpen and then by his demotion to AAA. He never did get over the blow, although as a major leaguer, he'll need to develop a thicker skin. In a smart move, manager Charlie Manuel has told Floyd that he's in the rotation, period. He doesn't need to look over his shoulder and he doesn't need to worry that a bad outing will have him back at Scranton. Manuel insists that he'll run Floyd out there even if he's struggling to give him every chance at success and that's a good plan. Young players - especially ones with the makeup of Floyd - don't do well when they're constantly worrying about staying in the majors. Instead, Floyd should be able to concentrate on just pitching as well as he can and enjoy the fact that he made the starting rotation on his own merit. Let's face it, last season, he was there primarily because of an injury to Vicente Padilla. This spring, it was Floyd who beat out Franklin to win a job in the rotation. His confidence should be further boosted by the fact that he's the teams fourth starter, not the fifth, giving him a bit of an emotional boost.
There is no doubt that Floyd has the talent to succeed in the majors. He just needs to keep his head on straight and keep his attitude straight. By that it means that Floyd has to not worry about and analyze every little thing that he does and every thing that happens. It's a long season, but Floyd should be there from start to finish.
Projection for 2006