Almost every analyst agrees that there are two pitching prospects who are head and shoulders above everyone else in the minors: our own Homer Bailey and Philip Hughes of the Yankees. Both organizations have been cautious in the development of these guys, and both are making their AAA debuts this season.

Evidently, the Yankees are going to call up Hughes this week.

Hughes is about a month younger than Bailey, and it should be noted that Homer has better numbers this season, and Bailey’s AA numbers were better last year. Scouts say that Hughes has better command and Bailey has better stuff.

Now, I’m not suggesting that the Reds bring up Homer Bailey. However, someone in the comments yesterday made an interesting suggestion to the effect that the Reds should put Bailey in the major league bullpen. The point was that Wayne Krivsky’s Twins experience might make him more likely to do something like that (see Santana, Johann).

I don’t necessarily agree — I like Bailey getting regular starts in AAA to prepare him for the rotation later this year, or next — but I wouldn’t be surprised if Krivsky decided that Bailey’s development would be furthered by facing major league competition. If Hughes succeeds with New York, it might help Reds management make their decision.

17 Responses

  1. Mr. Redlegs

    The Yankees need starting pitching now, the Reds do not. So there’s no parallel whatsoever between what the Yankees do with Hughes and how the Reds bring along Bailey, nor should it be. Apples and oranges.

  2. Sultan of Swaff

    Putting him in the bullpen does two things. It keeps his innings total down so you can use him the second half instead of shutting him down (is he really gonna ‘learn’ anything with 5 more starts at AAA?). It also helps shore up an unsettled bullpen, even if it does nothing to bring clarity to everyones’ roles out there. I say convert him back to a starter in July. It helps the team without taxing him.

  3. Chris

    I’ve always been in favor of the big league bullpen being another step in the development path, ala the Weaver Orioles.

  4. Chris

    Reasons: It’s easier to control workload (to avoid injury) and situation (to can build confidence, etc.)

  5. preach

    Santana and Liriano are certainly strong arguments. I have read that Homer’s control is not quite there yet, and his Spring seemed to confirm that. Maybe he was pressing a bit much to get into the rotation and overthrowing the ball, I can’t say. But if the control is not there, the bullpen is not the place to be. If the control is adequate, perhaps giving him a shot is the answer. Of course Bray coming back should make a difference, and that may be what we need even without rushing Homer. Let the kid have another start or two in the minors and see how our situation shakes out in the next couple of weeks. If nothing changes in the bigs and his control is good, bring him up

  6. davidwc

    Why did the Reds pass on the chance to pair Tim Lincecum with Homer Bailey?

  7. DevilsAdvocate

    One-third of MLB passed on Lincecum in the draft due to his mechanics (unique and thus difficult to injury-predict) and his size (short – for MLB – and right-handed…everyone but the Astros seems to run scared from that type).

  8. greg

    I like it that the Yankees are promoting Hughes out of desperation, and it’s looking like we’d be promoting Bailey when he’s good and ready (I’m of the minority that thinks he is not).

  9. RedsFanInMd

    Greg-Count me with you. Homer is not ready yet. No reason to rush him.

  10. Chris

    All who passed on Lincecum let conventional wisdom trump common sense.

  11. al

    bailey’s been effective, but not dominant at AAA. way fewer k’s, way more walks. For a kid as young as he is, all of that is totally fine, and his sub 2 ERA is great, but i think that bailey has shown many of us that he could use more time to develop.

    as for the bullpen idea, it’s something i’ve talked about for a while, but i had always thought of it more as a late year option. It could potentially give the reds a shot in the arm to have him blowing people away a few innings a week down the stretch, it keeps his innings down, and gives him the experience.

  12. greg

    I hate the bullpen idea. To me, it’s just a way to waste service time. Keep him in AAA until he’s ready.

  13. Matt

    Interesting on Lincecum. The giants started him at A- for two games, and then a+ for 6 last year at age 22. If he were in the Reds organization he would have started in Rookie last year.

  14. Chris

    Greg’s point is a valid one. Service time was not a concern in the 60s and 70s.

  15. davidwc

    With all the excitement generated by Homer last year, imagine the buzz if Lincecum was also at Louisville.

    I know it’s too late now, but the Reds would have 2 of the top 3 pitching prospects in the minors.

  16. greg

    I’d be elated if he didn’t join the team at all this season and started the season with the team next year.

    Of course, I’d be more elated if the Reds were in a serious position to contend this year and they called him up for the pennant race.

  17. Justin

    Reeks of long year in the Bronx. Hughes has been beaten up in AAA Scranton. Jaysshould have fun this afternoon.