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Fantasy Baseball: Lilly and Floyd Not So Different

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Ted Lilly almost pitched a no-hitter today. The Cub threw 8 innings before Juan Pierre finally broke it up in the top of the ninth. But for a long time during that game Lilly was not the only story: his counterpart, Gavin Floyd, was throwing a no-hitter as well.

At first glance, we’ll see that Lilly and Floyd have had very different seasons. Lilly, while not picking up any wins, has helped fantasy owners with his solid ERA and impressive WHIP, while Floyd has been completely brutal. Floyd has posted an ERA over 6 and a WHIP over 1.6. In some respects, it’s amazing that he is still owned in over 37 percent of ESPN standard leagues—I certainly would have cut him in a 10-team league long ago.

But the peripherals suggest Lilly and Floyd are not that different after all.

Lilly’s strand rate is about 7 points higher than the league average, Floyd’s is about 9 percent lower. Lilly’s BABIP is .240; Floyd’s is .369. FIP and xFIP say that Floyd is actually outperforming Lilly.

It seems that this is a common answer: Lilly is not this good, Floyd is not this bad. I would still much rather have Lilly—a proven pitcher with a solid track record who will exceed his pace of two wins the rest of the way. Though he strikes out fewer players (his K/rate is down this year, probably a result of declining velocity on his fastball) he also walks fewer, and is less likely to have blow-up games that kill your ratio stats.

But keep an eye on Floyd. For those in AL-only or deeper leagues, he’s a good guy to try and buy low on right now. Depending on how he does for the rest of the season, he may very well be a good sleeper pick for 2011.

Quick shameless plug for myself: For anyone who read my Ricky Nolasco piece last week—check out this Rotographs’ article on Ricky Nolasco from a couple days later. Nearly identical.