Dark Side of the Moon
A week off from blogging was necessitated not by any sort of baseball-related reason or even immersion in the NCAA (although it should be noted, we are in second place in a 50-person plus pool thanks to our upset special picks, namely Syracuse, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee -- yup we got those all taken care of). Nope, we were on vacation in the south. In our absense, we didn't receive a word of update on baseball. Certainly, major developments are order.
There is, however, no reason to panic. When we last left Gavin "Pink" Floyd, he was still struggling with his command, yet in one week, optimism has made a grand re-entrance. Sort of.
Now, after two solid starts, the talk is back about moving Floyd into the big league rotation. Mike Arbuckle is back to trotting out marquee names (Chris Carpenter and Jon Garland) as comparables to the Floyd. Cooler heads, however (and no offense meant), know this is just the beginning of what Floyd needs to do. He needs to command a spot in that rotation by owning hitters at the AAA level. His fastball needs to get back up into the 90s consistently, his curve needs to return and be dialed up anytime anyhow, and the walks have got to disappear. This kid, whether he is soft or not, is very close to Vicente Padilla in terms of his tendencies and problems. He walks too many. He abadons a game plan. He has a great arm and potential. He shows flashes of promise. He appears to not be mentally up to the challenge in jams.
The good news is, Floyd not only speaks English and communicates with those around him, heappears to be open to taking critiques. In the case of Kerrigan, that was a bad idea. In the case of this year, it can only be good. For those that have seen him pitch, Floyd's mechanics have been his downfall for the better part of the last two years. He became wooden and hesitant. It was painful to watch him throw at times. Perhaps letting the talk of not being a power pitcher get to him, he began the pursuit of pinpoint location, which he has never achieved with anything even approaching consistency the last two years.
Now, with a seemingly reborn lease on life, Floyd is taking it easy and it is coming easier. Perhaps someone handed the kid a Malcom Gladwell article or two, or perhaps having people ahead of him in the pecking order and a full year of struggling under his belt finally led to an epiphany. Whatever it is, there is little doubt that the big club will need re-enforcements on the mound at some point this season and, like Robinson Tejeda last year, Floyd's best chance to re-establish himself will almost certainly come by mid-season audition. This particular prospect represents alot of the unfilled promise of the Phillies' farm system as a whole. If the franchise is to take a leap forward in the next three years from doorstep to dance, Floyd is one of the primary chips that need to fall into place. Perhaps 2006 will be for Floyd what 2005 was for Brett Myers.
For now, we'll be watching this story at AAA ball.