2013 Reds / Homer Bailey

Is Homer Bailey an ace?

If you missed it earlier, over at ESPN today, I made the case that Homer Bailey is now an ace. As it turns out, today wasn’t the best day to run that piece, given Homer’s rough outing today, but what are you gonna do?

Go take a look at what I discovered when I looked at Homer’s velocity this year, and the effectiveness of his split-finger. Interesting, to me at least. I don’t know if you can really call Bailey an ace at this point, but I was very surprised when I looked at the advanced metrics in comparison to his peers in the National League.

(I also wrote about Jake Peavy today, but I imagine you are less interested in that.)

35 thoughts on “Is Homer Bailey an ace?

  1. I still don’t see consistency with Homer. For me he is a great 3, maybe a strong 2, but for me not ACE material.

  2. 3.73 ERA, not an ace. If you can find a team that values him as an ace and they have a couple of good hitters to trade, make a deal.

  3. A lot of people here think Mat Latos is an ace and I’d agree.

    Homer Bailey has a higher strike out rate, a lower walk rate and a lower hit rate than Mat Latos. They are essentially tied in home runs, although Latos is slightly ahead. Homer has given up fewer line drives. Based on the factors that pitchers can control, Homer has been as good or better than Mat Latos this year.

    Both of them have been excellent. It really doesn’t matter which is first or which is second. It’s just great to know the Reds have both.

  4. Ace is a loaded term, but I don’t see how anyone not named Hawk Harrelson or Harold Reynolds could consider him a #3.

    I don’t think Homer belongs in the same company as someone like Kershaw, but he probably is a low end ace or high end #2, just like Latos & Cueto. They’re all very, very close, to the point where it doesn’t matter who is the Reds’ #1, #2, or #3. There is something about Homer that makes me nervous though, so I guess I’d have him as the Reds #3.

    If the Reds make the playoffs, and Bronson pitches before any of them, Reds fans deserve to be livid.

    • @CP:

      Your comment about sums up my feelings on Homer. I would feel more comfortable with Latos pitching a one game play-in than Bailey. Homer is still inconsistent, although he has pitched very well overall this season.

      There have been many comments on this site about Dusty letting Homer throw a lot of pitches in certain game (115+). It has been pointed out how Homer has fared poorly in the games following these high pitch outings. I’m curious how Homer’s stats look if those poor outings are removed from his record.

    • Ace is a loaded term, but I don’t see how anyone not named Hawk Harrelson or Harold Reynolds could consider him a #3.

      I don’t think Homer belongs in the same company as someone like Kershaw, but he probably is a low end ace or high end #2, just like Latos & Cueto. They’re all very, very close, to the point where it doesn’t matter who isthe Reds’ #1, #2, or #3.There is something about Homer that makes me nervous though, so I guess I’d have him as the Reds #3.

      If the Reds make the playoffs, and Bronson pitches before any of them, Reds fans deserve to be livid.

      To me it would matter whom we are playing and where. Cueto is out due to his health, I don’t see him part of this season nor in long term plans of the Reds.

  5. Homer is not an ace YET, because he still has problems getting LHed hitters out. His lefty/righty splits are .280/.215. This can be a problem when pitching against AL teams, which are loaded with lefties and switch hitters. It can also be a problem facing the Cardinals, he’s had little success against them.

    Today’s game was a prime example. On the game thread, a lot of people were dumping on Homer for “falling apart” when Mes came in. This isn’t what happened. A row of hitters who had already given him trouble were up. Donaldson is a tough RHed bat, period. The LHed bats Lowrie, Moss, and Callaspo had all hit hard line drives (sometimes for outs) against Homer. And now they were seeing him another time.
    Lowrie, Moss and Donaldson all got hits in the 6th. Callaspo was now out in favor of
    Sogard, another LHed bat. Dusty should have taken Homer out before facing Sogard, if not before.

  6. High #2 or low #1 given another year or so of maturity. He’s a far better pitcher than last year and that was a step up from the previous year. Some bad breaks today and the A’s are a good ball club.

    As for Mes … he has settled down significantly for all the pitchers. He’ll be catching a lot of Homer unless we find value in trading Homer somewhere. I’m fine with either way, but if we keep him, it’s time to lock both him and Latos up for a while. Frankly, they are showing a lot more durability than Cueto at the moment. We could do far worse than Latos, Bailey, Leake, and Cingrani …

    And the Sogard 3B was on Dusty for not acting quickly enough (again).

  7. Homer has pitched good/excellent against…
    - Washington (mediocre this year)
    - Philly (mediocre this year)
    - Miami (bad this year)
    - Washington
    - Miami
    - Philly
    - Chicago (mediocre this year)
    - Colorado (mediocre this year)
    - Chicago
    - Pittsburgh (good this year)
    - San Francisco (no hitter/bad this year)
    - Pittsburgh (good performance being generous)
    - Los Angeles (good this year)
    - San Diego (mediocre this year)

    By my count, he has pitched 3 good games (the 3rd being 3 runs in 6.1 innings against Pitt on July 21) against good teams. I have him pitching 7 not good or bad games (Stl, Stl, Atl, Cle, Oak, Atl, Oak) against GOOD teams. That is 3 out of 10 against good teams. Without digging deep into FIP or other such stats, that is not an ace in my opinion.

    • @petejohnson:

      He doesn’t control who he pitches against. Are you asking that he does better against weak teams? I have no statistical evidence to back this up, but I imagine most every ace does worse against better teams. That just makes sense, no? The over analyzation of this team is simultaneously lovely and offensive. I love the renewed interest, but the increased expectations are an absolute joke. I’m not asking you to wait for success. I’m asking you to recognize it in front of you.

    • @petejohnson: This adds new information to the discussion in a thoughtful, reasoned way. Thanks for taking the time to dig this up and present it.

      I certainly don’t think Homer is an “ace”. He’s a very good pitcher with very good stuff who has the potential to be an ace, but he has too many clunkers where innings or games get away from him like yesterday. If he can clean those up and harness his stuff more consistently then he could be considered an ace. I’d make the exact same comment for Latos, and hope the Reds can keep both of them for a long time to come.

      • @Eric the Red:

        Thanks! My opinion of a good/excellent game is 6+ innings with 3 ERs or less, or 5-5.2 innings and 2 ERs or less (so I know that is subjective). Taking a look at Latos’ starts with this criteria, I belive he is 10/12 against good teams (including 2 against STL). I agree that Homer has the potential to be an ‘ace’ or at least very good, but I do not think he is there yet and am not sure he ever will be.

  8. I’m often annoyed with the off-hand dismissal of wins for a starting pitcher. Of course, wins are not the preeminent stat for most pitchers, but at the end of the day, how many of your starts that your team wins define you as a starting pitcher. That’s the name of the game. Tonight, Homer struggled, but he did enough to keep us in the game, as our pitching has done all year.

    We constantly fret about the bat off the bench or the 12th and 13th bullpen guy, but when it comes down to it, we will be in the playoffs and out pitching competes with anyone. That’s a recipe for a championship, and that’s all you can ask for, in my opinion.

    • @JMac1984: You’re talking about apples and oranges even within your own post to try to defend the worthless win statistic. How many games a team wins when a particular pitcher starts has very little or nothing to do with whether or not that pitcher gets the win statistic. We saw this with Latos early in the year when he had several outstanding starts only to have the bullpen blow leads late in games. You also have the situation that we had yesterday in which a good offensive game and solid bullpen wor bails out a mediocre starting pitching performance.

      Also, a pitcher could get a win or no decision in a 10-9 win in which they pitch 5 innings and the loss in a 1-0 loss in which they throw a complete game. Now, you may think that the 10-9 win defines a pitcher more than a 1-0 loss, but I would strongly disagree.

      • @Kyle Farmer: I see your point about the win stat, but I see JMac’s as well. I grew up with the old stats and don’t understand most of the new ones, but have noticed that the old stats seemed to accurately identify great players. Perhaps the advantage of the new stats lies in their ability to identify players whose value is less obvious? Wins as a stat aren’t completely irrelevant, just not finely tuned enough to tell you all that you need to know. I suspect that the same can be said for any stat, old or new.

        • @greenmtred: I see what you’re saying. I believe that the problem comes from looking at any stat on its own. They tend not to provide a complete picture and I think this is more true for old stats like the win. If I see a guy got a win and nothing else, I know virtually nothing about how he pitched. If I know his ERA+ or FIP, then I do know something about how he pitched. That is why I find the advanced pitching stats FAR more valuable than the win.

          I’m allergic to math, so I’m not a SABR guy but I do appreciate the work that these guys do. I think the new stats are much more descriptive which makes them more valuable.

  9. Ace? Not yet. I believe he still needs some seasoning. Given the numbers, you can make numbers say almost anything you want if you work them enough. I believe Homer throws more good pitches then Latos. But, I also believe Homer throws more bad pitches than Latos (not just HR’s, just bad pitches). Homer is coming a long. I would have no problem making him a #3, possibly a #2. But, not a #1 yet.

    That sort of brings up for me an interesting aspect for our pitching next season. If all the starters come back, I don’t see Cingrani going to AAA next season. As well as, I don’t see Leake going to AAA next season. I see Cueto as anywhere from #1-3 (only because of injuries), Latos as a #1-3 (only because of pitch effectiveness), Homer as a #2-3, Bronson as a #4-5, Cingrani and Leake as a #4-6 (Leake has the experience, Cingrani has more power stuff), essentially 6 ready-for-the-majors pitchers. They all can’t come back. Hmmm. . .

    • @steveschoen: actually Bronson will be the “odd” man out. He is a free agent at year end. Reds have Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Leake, Cingrani then for the 2014 rotation. All of them 28 and younger. Based on some of the comments from Bronson, sounds like he is expecting a hefty deal from somebody(3yr/$30M ???). So even if Reds traded Bailey or Leake, I don’t think Bronson is an option given the $$$ free agent pitchers get. Time will tell.

      I rather Reds keep all 5 of “young” guns starters, offer Bronson arbitration to get a draft pick. Sign 2 of 3 among Bailey, Latos, Leake to longer deals.

      • @doctor: Correct. I was assuming Bronson comes back. After all, with some talk now about the team needing leadership, would it be a time to get rid of a veteran?

        • @steveschoen: Obviously, Bronson done excellent work for the Reds and been anchor on some dreadful staffs and by example has shown the young guys that you don’t need to have great stuff all the time to pitch effectively. But yes, let Bronson go, the size of his next contract likely would cost the reds the ability to re-sign Homer and/or Latos.

  10. In fairness to Homer, we’ve been around him too long to consider him an ace, dealing with his maturity that has improved exponentially, and his inconsistencies. He has ace stuff, no doubt. He puts together performances only Latos may be able to match one day, though they are different pitchers. I think Homer can come out on any given night and be an ace against anyone. But, he can also come out and do what he did yesterday. It isn’t Jay Brucian in terms of his streakiness, but, like Bruce, you’d like to see him string together 8-10 good outings in a row before laying an egg. Those egg performances are a little too frequent right now. But he has more ace potential than anyone else on this staff, and it’s fun that on any given day he can come out and take over.

  11. I don’t pretend to know who should start a playoff game, but probably prefer Latos or Bailey. However, it seems unfair to dump on Bronson; he has been good this year and reliable ever since he got here. He certainly has bad days, but he knows pitching and, more importantly, knows HIS pitching.

    • @greenmtred: Bronson has been a credit to the organization, but I wouldn’t bring him back for more than 1 year, which he is unlikely to agree to. The Reds can’t afford another payroll mistake (Broxton, Phillips), and I’d rather see them use the payroll space on Latos and Bailey. Both of them may opt for greener pastures as well, making it imperative that the Reds have some minor league arms ready in 2 years.

      “Ace” is a subjective term, like “valuable,” so it means different things to different people. I would say that there aren’t many “aces” in the league, but Homer isn’t one of them. Yet.

      • @Big Ed: I have to agree with you. Sadly, though, because I like watching Bronson pitch when his evil twin is otherwise occupied.

  12. I know the powers that be here are Homer homers, but I’d love to see an in-depth piece on the Reds five starters that lists pros/cons why they should/shouldn’t start Game 163. Of course, there’s a chance that a) the rotation won’t be able to be shuffled, b) Dusty blindly goes with the veteran or c) the Reds don’t play a Game 163 (for better or worse), but I think it’s important to start the conversation and fact dissemination now so that Neanderthal TV talking heads have time to process them.

    Personally, gut says Latos, with Cingrani (who surely wouldn’t be slotted to start an NLDS game) in reserve at the first sign of trouble.

  13. From the Old Cossack’s perspective, labelling someone has little to no impact other than when negotiating a contract. The Reds are fortunate to have a starting pitching staff loaded with quality pitchers. I believe Cueto, Latos, Bailey and Cingrani are all top of the rotation starters (health caveat noted) with Leake and Arroyo quality mid-rotation starters. I don’t consider any of the 6 starters as back-end rotation starters, except in a stacked starting rotation like the Reds can put on the field.

    Top of the rotation starters are too valuable to let go for simply a compensation pick in the draft and Bailey will be a FA after next season. Cueto, Latos and Leake will follow as FA in 2016. If Bailey can not be extended, I think the Reds have to make him available on the trade market this offseason. I think the same holds true for Latos and Leake after next season. If the Reds can not extend two of those three starters, I’m afraid the starting rotation may experience a significant drop off after 2015.

  14. Homer definitely has #1 stuff and when it is clicking he is as good as you get, but he is still prone to just losing it in 1 inning. His fastball just goes flat at times.

    Latos is at the same point, except he will get wild and has had better run production.

    Both are about 7-8 good innings away from greatness.

  15. Alright, here’s my greatest argument over why I refuse to believe Homer Bailey is an ace based off of FIP. Or why FIP is even that good.

    Mike Leake 2013: 10-5, 2.94 ERA, 22 GS, 140.2 IP, 34 BB, 86 K, 15 HR, pitches in GABP.
    Edinson Volquez 2013: 8-9, 5.44 ERA, 22 GS, 132.1 IP, 62 BB, 109 K, 12 HR, pitches in Petco Park.

    Mike Leake 2013 FIP: 4.04
    Edinson Volquez 2013 FIP: 4.03

    Need I really say more?

  16. Mo just mentioned the article on his show by saying, “Chad Dodson with ESPN just wrote an article about Homer Bailey being an Ace. He showed by looking deep in the numbers….” That’s awesome.

  17. Looks like most of you disagreed with me, but you demonstrated what I love about the Nation. Respectful discussion, bringing facts to back up your positions. Love you guys and gals.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t know if Homer is actually an ace, or even if that term means anything. I was just surprised, after looking at the numbers, that Homer had been so good. Digging a little deeper, I saw that his fastball and split-finger have improved substantially.

    Maybe he’s an ace, or maybe he isn’t, but he has certainly matured into a legitimately good pitcher.

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