2013 Reds

Redleg Nation 2013 Season Preview: The Rotation, Part 2

I know this isn’t what you were all expecting, sorry. The Chapman situation is suddenly ridiculous, as you all know. I’ll handle that projection on Monday regardless of what we know, but I wanted to give myself a few extra days, especially since Chapman is pitching today, to see what the Reds do and determine if I want to start rooting for the Cubs (kidding).

Homer Bailey
2012 Pitching Line: 208 IP, 168 K, 52 BB, 3.68 ERA
2013 Projection: 200 IP, 160 K, 50 BB, 4.00 ERA

2012 WAR: 2.8
2013 Best Guess WAR: 2.5
Projected Difference: -0.3
2013 Ceiling: 5.0
2012 Floor: 1.5

Bronson Arroyo
2012 Pitching Line: 202 IP, 129 K, 35 BB, 3.74
2013 Projection: 200 IP, 120 K, 40 BB, 4.00 ERA

2012 WAR: 2.5
2013 Best Guess WAR: 2.0
Projected Difference: -0.5
2013 Ceiling: 4.0
2013 Floor: 0.0

These two are such an interesting pair. As back of the rotation starters, they are really quite excellent as I expect both to be in the average to slightly-above-average category this year. That is fantastic production for those rotation slots.

I’ll start with Bailey. I know a lot of people are high on him after the way he finished last year. I am less so. First, he’s had trouble staying healthy. Second, he’s had hot streaks before. Third, the peripherals say he’s been the same pitcher for about three years (and almost exactly the same for the last 2).

Bailey is entering his peak years, and that’s something that has to be acknowledged. He also strikes out batters at a decent clip. He could certainly have a big year and his ceiling is certainly higher than Bronson’s, but I just don’t see anything, big picture, that makes me think it’s going to click all of a sudden.

Arroyo is so easy to project it’s comical. Other than his illness-plagued 2011, he has been very consistent. One thing to remember about Bronson is that his WAR total doesn’t fully reflect his value. He almost always outperforms his peripherals, and he’s done it over a long enough career that we probably have to assume there’s something going on there.

However, he is getting older and that must be acknowledged. I can’t be the only one who noticed that he often lost it very suddenly in the sixth inning last year. This is likely a sign of his decline. There’s no reason to panic, of course, a six inning pitcher with an average ERA is great to have as your 4th or 5th starter, but I do think his years of 200 innings are drawing to a close. He’ll probably get there this year, but only just.

Neither of these guys is a great pitcher, but they are both great to have around. On many clubs, Bailey would be the number 2 and Arroyo the number 3. Remember what you have when you watch these two pitch, Reds fans.

Redleg Nation Season Preview Schedule

Joey Votto – 2/27
Brandon Phillips – 3/1
Todd Frazier – 3/4
Zack Cozart – 3/6
Ryan Ludwick – 3/8
Shin-Soo Choo – 3/11
Jay Bruce – 3/13
Ryan Hanigan & Devin Mesoraco – 3/15
Bench – 3/18
Johnny Cueto & Mat Latos – 3/20
Homer Bailey & Bronson Arroyo – 3/22
Aroldis Chapman & Mike Leake – 3/25
Bullpen – 3/27
Updates & Preview Wrap-Up – 3/29

18 thoughts on “Redleg Nation 2013 Season Preview: The Rotation, Part 2

  1. As one of Homer’s biggest homers on this site, I think your projections and discussion about him are fair.

    As you point out, there’s a chance for upside – especially if one believes in the predictive value of second-half stats from the previous year. But as you rightly point out, his year-long peripherals have been consistent for a couple years.

    Upside: Homer sustains his second half from 2012, with a 8.0 K/9 and 3.38 FIP. in which case he might improve on his 2012 totals.

    Likely: Homer has his good streaks and bad games, resulting in a season like the past two.

  2. Thanks for the projections. This is good stuff. Bronson is Bronson, as you aptly note. Homer is getting to the point where we can say, “Homer is Homer and this is a good thing.” I truly believe he has figured it out and there will be a convergence of physical ability and cognizance of what needs to be done this year. I believe he may well emerge as a front line starter this year.

  3. Homer has grown up a lot. If he takes from the vets, Bronson on fielding and Johnny on controlling the running game, he could improve.

    Especially at controlling the running game.

    Those things happen as pitchers mature and see the whole game. I think Homer will do that as he appears to be working hard and is open to coaching

  4. I would have thought the projections for Homer would have been better this year. He went 8-4 the second half of the season. Jason, do you know his ERA over that period?

    It’s anecdotal, I know, but he did close out with the no-hitter and that wonderful post-season performance.

    And, he did kill that lion with his bare hands, I’m told.

    • I would have thought the projections for Homer would have been better this year. He went 8-4 the second half of the season.Jason, do you know his ERA over that period?

      It’s anecdotal, I know, but he did close out with the no-hitter and that wonderful post-season performance.

      And, he did kill that lion with his bare hands, I’m told.

      I don’t know what to think about Homer. I want to believe in him. His peripherals improved a lot over the 2nd half, he struck out more guys, he walked less, and gave up less homeruns. But…

      Not that wins is the best way to analyze (and I’m aware you know this based on your excellent articles)…during that second half, he won against:

      Pittsburgh 2x
      Chicago 2x
      Milwaukee
      Los Angeles
      San Diego
      St. Louis

      Not exactly the cream of the crop. I’d say only one of these wins was against a quality opponent. Of course, this is a good formula to make the playoffs. I just can’t label him a #2 pitchers or anything like that.

      I want to believe! :D

  5. I like Homer. He’s from right down the street (I live in Austin) in LaGrange. I’ll be happy if he’s more than a jouneyman. But I agree – let’s hope he does 2012 again – that should be good enough.

    I’m a big fan of players – especially pitchers – who go to college before getting drafted high and paid big bucks.

  6. I haven’t always been a big supporter of Homer’s but in this case, I’m going to argue the side that his improvement was real. Homer opened my eyes last year.

    And here’s the thing, it’s just from watching him, not from his numbers.

    He said that right around August, Hannigan and Price helped him get better control of the high fastball, where it was high, but still looked like a strike and sometimes would get a call. That pitch seemed to change his whole repertoire, and made all of his other pitches more effective. Prior to that, his high fastball was a take pitch right out of his hand.

    So that’s why I feel like there’s a chance that he takes a solid step forward.

    • @al: Yep. He seemed to be a different pitcher, didn’t he? He was also healthy all year, something he has struggled with.

  7. I believe Bronson did improve a bit over the previous season, but not to the point he was in, say, 2008-2010. And, given his age and his throwing style, I see him most likely sliding a bit more down (possibly being as good as if not a bit better, just likely sliding a bit more down). However, given Homer’s success last season, I see him sliding a bit up more this season. I don’t see any #1 type of pitcher, at least yet, but even a step better this season.

    • @steveschoen: Someone like Bronson gives analyst fits.

      In my opinion, the single stat that will determine how Bronson fares this season:

      BB/9: If he stays under 2 BB/9, he’ll be a fine #4 pitcher. If he creeps above the number, watch out. The less batters Bronson faces, the better.

  8. I agree with a lot of you guys that Homer could well outperform my projection. As I said in the intro (I think I said this), I try to be bearish with these. As a fan, it’s easy to get over-excited.

    Also, for those hoping for something from me on Chapman, I should have a little something up over at The Hardball Times soon. Just waiting for another editor to look it over. I’ll post a link when it goes up.

  9. Just looking at All-Time Reds Pitching stats. I think Arroyo is a no doubter as far as the Reds Hall of Fame.

    What are the chances the Reds bring him back for another 3 years? I would very much be on board.

      • @steveschoen: Probably right, and Arroyo may seek his fortune. But if he was willing to take another 3 year contract similar to the one he has it would not be a bad signing.

        If he has yet another season like every other one (except 2011) this is going to be a major topic at the end of the season.

        • @TC: I would vehemently disagree with this. Signing a 37 year old pitcher to a 3 year/$30+ million contract when you have Cingrani, Corcino, Stephenson, and Travieso on the way is probably a mistake.

          The Reds have developed a nasty habit of hanging on to players too long,

          I just want them to occasionally ask WWTD? (“What would Tampa do?”). :D

          They don’t have to do it every time, having extra money is nice, but Tampa typically makes the correct choice in deciding which players to retain.

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