2013 Reds

What to expect from Homer Bailey?

Even before the no-hitter, Homer Bailey was having a breakout season in 2012. Now entering his second year of arbitration, the Texas right-hander is due for a big pay increase – his salary projected to rise from $2.4 million to $5.1 million. Reds’GM Walt Jocketty has discussed the possibility of signing Bailey to a Cueto-like contract extension. In past weeks, he has been in linked in trade rumors with Dexter Fowler of the Rockies – an idea which Reds’ beat writer John Fay has downplayed as unlikely.

There’s a new article by Mike Podhorzer on Homer over at the Fangraphs suite. Podhorzer analyzes Homer’s 2012 season and asks what we can expect in the future from the Texas right-hander. The expected-ERA metrics from 2010 and 2011 showed that Homer had a sub-4.00 ERA in him. Homer’s xFIP was 3.74 in 2010 and 3.77 in 2011.

But, was (2012) really a genuine breakout, or was this just better (or more neutral) luck? Well, if you ask FIP, xFIP and SIERA, he has actually been nearly the same pitcher for the past three seasons. The only thing that has changed this season is that he allowed fewer hits on balls in play and he stranded a couple more base runners. Bailey is a great example of why these expected ERA metrics are so important to monitor. They all suggested that Bailey already had the skills to post an ERA below 4.00, and it was just a matter of better defense and fortune that would lead to its manifestation.

Podhorzer notes that Homer’s strike out rate was considerably higher the second half of 2012, which he attributes partly to Homer’s increased use of his slider relative to his fastball. The article also talks about Homer’s increased control.

Aside from the potential for a higher strikeout rate, Bailey’s control has been fantastic the last two seasons. In 2011, his F-Strike% was nicely above the league average, but this year it spiked even higher and actually ranked seventh among all starters in baseball. Once a power pitcher with spotty control, he has morphed into a pitcher with power that also possesses pinpoint command.

His conclusion:

Although he is coming off a breakout season, Bailey does seem to have a bit more upside left in him. He posted an 8.3 K/9 back in 2010 and he does appear to still have the ability to push his strikeout rate back toward 8.0 for a full season. Combine that strikeout ability with sterling control and a slight ground ball tilt, and I think Bailey has a strong chance of maintaining a sub-4.00 ERA.

What are your expectations for Homer Bailey in 2013?

26 thoughts on “What to expect from Homer Bailey?

  1. I was hoping that last sentence would say 2013 and beyond. Lock him up NOW!

    The most important thing for Homer is health. If he has that, the numbers will be there.

    • Sultan: I was hoping that last sentence would say 2013 and beyond.Lock him up NOW!

      The most important thing for Homer is health.If he has that, the numbers will be there.

      Agreed. His command of all of his pitches improved in 2013. His mechanics have been improved by Price, making him less injury prone. Price has been extremely valuable with the Reds, and apparently has been that way his whole pitching coach career.

  2. I look for Homer Bailey to continue his progression towards becoming a solid MLB pitcher. I look for Bailey to win 18 games in 2013. He will pitch 200+ innings, have 200+ K’s, and a 3.55 ERA. He will be in the conversation for the Cy Young Award at the end of 2013.

  3. I think he’ll improve but perhaps not as much as we would hope. Last year, he was darn good, but FIP and xFIP were actually higher than his ERA.

    195 IPs (I think he misses a start or two with injuries; just based on the odds, nothing more)
    3.65 ERA
    170 K (8/9IP)

  4. If DB plays the A-team for Homer, and he has no more than his share of day games after night game starts, he will win 21 games.

  5. If the Homer of the last half of last year is who pitches all of ’13, look out. If Homer has truly put it all together (command of all pitches, strength, endurance, mental toughness and resiliency, health, etc.), then I believe he could win 20 with an ERA in the low 3.00s. Think of it this way, when it appeared that the good guys were going on to the LCS, I’m not sure about you, but I had much more confidence in Bailey than I did the other guys.

  6. Lock him up for a few years with the risk that last year was a fluke. I don’t think it was, I finally think he found his stride and is getting his rhythm. I give a lot of that credit to Brian Price, so let’s go ahead and promise him the manager job when Dusty retires in two years. That’s another story though.

    What’s going to benefit Bailey is if he is put in the #4 or #5 hole (depending on how Dusty plays it) is his opposing pitcher may be suspect to a higher ERA which will allow Bailey to obtain an early lead and pitch with confidence. I think it’s an understanding that pitchers seem to do better when they have a nice lead.

    Four year, $20 million? Five year, $23 million? Is that not enough? Too much? I am never successful at comparing contracts and making a good offer to a player, but that isn’t my job :). Trust in Uncle Walt.

    • Lock him up for a few years with the risk that last year was a fluke. I don’t think it was, I finally think he found his stride and is getting his rhythm. I give a lot of that credit to Brian Price, so let’s go ahead and promise him the manager job when Dusty retires in two years. That’s another story though.

      What’s going to benefit Bailey is if he is put in the #4 or #5 hole (depending on how Dusty plays it) is his opposing pitcher may be suspect to a higher ERA which will allow Bailey to obtain an early lead and pitch with confidence. I think it’s an understanding that pitchers seem to do better when they have a nice lead.

      Four year, $20 million? Five year, $23 million? Is that not enough? Too much? I am never successful at comparing contracts and making a good offer to a player, but that isn’t my job :). Trust in Uncle Walt.

      I don’t believe starting a guy 4th or 5th so he matches up against worse pitchers works long term. Within three weeks it’s usually all mixed up due to injuries, off days, and guys being skipped (on other teams). Also the 5th starter will presumably start the season facing the Nationals, Cardinals, and Phillies. They probably all have tough rotations, top to bottom.

      I don’t think any Reds starters have come to expect early leads. If anything the Reds have an offense that tends to produce runs late in a game. I think a good leadoff hitter would improve run totals but not necessarily early in the game.

      Four years for $20m, that’d be great for the Reds but I expect Bailey would want much more long term. When he becomes a free agent (if he stays healthy until then) he could get over $10-15m/year. It only takes ones pitching-starved team willing to overpay him. How much is too much to pay him? I don’t know, but I’ll trust Uncle Walt. If they can’t afford to extend Bailey, fine.

    • Lock him up for a few years with the risk that last year was a fluke. I don’t think it was, I finally think he found his stride and is getting his rhythm. I give a lot of that credit to Brian Price, so let’s go ahead and promise him the manager job when Dusty retires in two years. That’s another story though.

      I am never successful at comparing contracts and making a good offer to a player, but that isn’t my job :). Trust in Uncle Walt.

      rfay00: Good stuff, couldn’t have said it better.

  7. I’ve been a big supporter of Homer Bailey all along but the Reds better take into account his unreliability – he’s only had one injury-free season – when considering an extension. Are they paying a guy they can count on for 100 or 200 innings? Bailey and Chapman are the least predictable of the Reds’ starters.

    I’ve always thought that Bailey could be a good starting pitchers but expectations of being Cy Young Caliber were unreasonable. They still are, even after a good 2012 season. 18+ wins, 200+ strikeouts, and Cy Young votes? Those are the same kind of high expectations that made him such a disappointment for so long – such high expectations will make even another good season a disappointment.

    DrewMac had more confidence about Bailey than the other guys? Well, I had more confidence in the other guys – Cueto, Latos, and Arroyo. Cueto’s great, Latos (for whatever reason) just seems to win, Arroyo knows how to pitch… and hopefully Bailey can pitch well too. With all due respect to Bailey, if Chapman enters the rotation I expect Bailey to be demoted to 5th starter.

    People who are happy about Bailey’s improved stats related to good fielding behind him – fewer hits on balls in play – should give guys like Rolen, Cozart, and Stubbs some credit. Improved pitching numbers is something those fielders quietly provide the Reds. The batting average on balls in play are likely to go up if Stubbs and Rolen leave.

    I’m hoping for 15 wins, a 3.70 ERA, 180 strikeouts, and 200 innings pitched for Bailey in 2013. Hopefully he’ll continue to build his trade value so that he can be moved next offseason to open a rotation spot for a younger prospect.

    • @redsfanman: Wouldn’t Arroyo be the one that is opening up a spot for a young starter? His contract is up next year.

      Arroyo’s contract is indeed up after 2013. Whether he’d sign a new contract with the Reds or leave as a free agent is uncertain (maybe he wants to return). Who knows how Chapman will do? We’ll also have to see how guys like Tony Cingrani, Daniel Corcino, and Robert Stephenson (if Stephenson rises like Cingrani he could be a candidate for 2014) do in 2013. And if Mike Leake remains with the Reds.

      There are a lot of questions but I’d be reluctant to sign Homer Bailey long term. As I said, wait another year and trade Bailey if other options seem more promising (sell him as the next James Shields?).

  8. I don’t think the Reds should extend Bailey until next season at the earliest. The Reds have to pick their battles. He’s trade bait if the Reds struggle this season.

  9. Bronson Arroyo, when his contract is up he’ll be off the books, but I don’t think anybody should rule out the possibility of him returning. He’s relatively old but isn’t on the decline. The young starters can learn a lot from him (their longest tenured player) as far as training and being a smart pitcher. I don’t see him as a particularly greedy guy who would demand a huge contract and he has continually expressed his desire to stay with the Reds (albeit regarding matters of vetoing potential trades away). The Reds will probably want to keep a veteran starter to work alongside their young pitchers – but maybe Cueto can become that guy. Still, I’d consider Bronson Arroyo a Cincinnati Reds player until the day he’s under contract with a new team.

  10. I expect that the reds will get the second half of 2012 from Homer as long as he continues to mature.
    Admittedly, I am a huge fan of Homer, and have been since his first start. The key to Homer has always been his emotions. The first time an error was committed or a ball was not called a strike in pressure situations, Homer would almost always get, for lack of a better word, emotional and instead of limiting the damage, start grooving fastballs, allow a big hit, and let things spiral out of control. Sometime last year, those big innings started to become one or two running innings, damage was limited and he kept his team in more games.

  11. I was one of the first last year to say that the Latos trade would be a huge benefit to Bailey. Their styles are very similar. You couldn’t help but believe that Latos would push Bailey and Bailey would push Latos. The pitching staff developed some internal friendly competition amongst the starters. I can see Bailey and Latos taking the next step in 2013 and becoming legit #1 starters and losing the “potential” tag. One of the two, along with Cueto, should be in the talk about the Cy Young winner next year. They might not win it, but they should at least be in the discussion next year. And that is saying something because the NL is going to be loaded with top starting pitchers in 2013.

    • I was one of the first last year to say that the Latos trade would be a huge benefit to Bailey.Their styles are very similar. You couldn’t help but believe that Latos would push Bailey and Bailey would push Latos.The pitching staff developed some internal friendly competition amongst the starters.I can see Bailey and Latos taking the next step in 2013 and becoming legit #1 starters and losing the “potential” tag.One of the two, along with Cueto, should be in the talk about the Cy Young winner next year.They might not win it, but they should at least be in the discussion next year. And that is saying something because the NL is going to be loaded with top starting pitchers in 2013.

      I think Latos and Bailey both have the ceiling of being a second-tier ace like James Shields, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle, Wandy Rodriguez, or 2005-2007 model Aaron Harang. I think Cueto will remain better than Latos or Bailey and he’s already a long shot for a Cy Young Award.

  12. An interesting note about Bronson Arroyo, he’s up to 23rd all time for innings pitched by a Cincinnati Reds pitcher. He’s likely to finish 2013 and 17th on that list. A one year extension can get him up to 13th and a two year extension can get Arroyo up to 7th, behind Joe Nuxhall, assuming he keeps pitching at least 200 innings per season. Most of the guys ahead of Nuxhall on that list were from another era and retired long before Bronson Arroyo was born. If Arroyo pitches well and is inexpensive I think the Reds should retain him and allow him to retire with the Reds.

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/stats/sortable.jsp?c_id=cin#sortColumn=ip&sectionType=sp&playerType=ALL&statType=pitching&season=&season_type=ALL&game_type=%27R%27&elem=%5Bobject+Object%5D&tab_level=child&click_text=Sortable+Player+pitching&page=1&ts=1355168022201&sortOrder=%27desc%27&extended=0

  13. All of the above comments are the reasons why I lurk in this forum. I’m so impressed by the insight of the posters here and the way they generally try to be courteous to one another.

    In regards to the ERA of Reds pitching going down due to the likes of Rolen, Cozart, and Stubbs…I can’t believe I’m saying this but I thought the defense of Rolen actually dropped a bit last year. I hope that Frazier can continue to be solid. I also think it important that if the Reds do replace Stubbs, that they figure out a way to not sacrifice too much defense (if any.)

    …and yes… the difference between Homer of previous years and last was his mental makeup to get out of disappointing innings (and injuries.)

  14. I really believe Bryan Price can be credited with another huge success with a willing pupil. Bailey will not only repeat his success from 2012, he will expand that success by picking up during the 1st half of 2013 where he left off in the 2nd half of 2012. He is now a major league pitcher, not a monior league thrower. I anticipate a sub 3.50 ERA, a sub 1.200 WHIP, a ~7.8-8.0 SO/9, a SO/BB exceeding 3.5. The W-L will be what they will be. Assuming the Reds have a LOOGY available in the bullpen besides Marshall and Chapman is moved to the starting rotation, I expect Bailey to pitch 3rd or 4th in the rotation with Chapman pitching 5th in the rotation with pitch limits and skipped starts to conserve his pitch count or innings pitched and keep Chapman available for the playoffs.

  15. I can understand locking him up. But, then, one needs to consider how much and for what position in the pitching order. For instance, would you pay what it would take to lock up Homer if he is a 3 guy? But, will he be a 3 guy if Chapman lives up to potential? Could he be a 3 guy on another team? Meaning we may look to trade him now while his value is high?

    I still say we shouldn’t have fooled with the entire pitching staff. It’s what carried us last season. And, we are looking at changing it? Only adds more questions. Can Broxton close like Chapman did, like he use to? Can Chapman be an effective starter? Does he start at AAA or the big club? If we don’t change anything, the decision is simple, I would look to lock Homer up some.

  16. I’m about to get as un-analytical as possible, but for me, Homer Bailey looked like this year he just stopped giving a hoot about anything other than loving the great game he’s so gifted at. He was caught smiling, he was interviewed during a game on fox and was exceptional in the interview, he was pieing guys in the face. He started to have FUN. Thats much different than the stressed, gaunt looking Homer of old. He had so much fun playing last year, even after his bad games…I think relaxing him, whether it was the acquisition of Latos, the getting stronger in the offseason, or something else, but he was much more loose and relaxed. Good for him, and i hope for his continued health.

    • I’m about to get as un-analytical as possible, but for me, Homer Bailey looked like this year he just stopped giving a hoot about anything other than loving the great game he’s so gifted at. He was caught smiling, he was interviewed during a game on fox and was exceptional in the interview, he was pieing guys in the face. He started to have FUN. Thats much different than the stressed, gaunt looking Homer of old. He had so much fun playing last year, even after his bad games…I think relaxing him, whether it was the acquisition of Latos, the getting stronger in the offseason, or something else, but he was much more loose and relaxed. Good for him, and i hope for his continued health.

      I think you can also look at Bailey’s attitude from another perspective – I think he was smiling because he was pitching well, fans were suddenly usually cheering for him rather than booing him. Fans were suddenly calling into radio shows about how he’s great rather than how he’s worthless, a failure, and needs to be traded to whatever team will take him. I think athletes probably feel more stressed when the fans are united against them… and are more positive in interviews after performing well than if they got beat up.

      In summary, players tend to act happier when they perform well, their team wins, and people (fans, interviewers) are nice to them.

  17. Reds got to sign Homer Bailey and set him up to be a Red for a few years. Long road around, but I think Homer is now there and I think he has a shot to be the ace.

    Lock him and Latos up and the Reds with Cueto with Chapman and say maybe Bronson as the glue could have one of the best starting 5’s in the NL for the next 3-4 years.

    It really could be very special.

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