2010 Reds / Homer Bailey / Reds - General

Cueto and Bailey Review

Baseball historian and current Boston Red Sox executive Bill James was recently asked about the impressive back-to-back pitching performances of Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey on his website the other day. His response?

The back-to-back pitching performances of this quality are certainly unusual, and my intuition would be that it is more likely meaningful than random……It seems to me that games of that quality are scarce enough that you just don’t get COMBINATIONS of them unless you have a pretty decent pitching staff.

James goes back and finds some examples of similar back to back games (with the same two teams playing); it hadn’t happened since 2001, but it did happen five times over the 2000-2001 seasons. One example was the back-to-back Reds pitching performances of Elmer Dessens and Ron Villone in 2000 where both gave up one run on two hits, including a 16 strikeout performance by Villone. James’s comment: “Somehow I suspect the Reds would not be thrilled to hear that Cueto and Bailey are the new Elmer Dessens and Ron Villone.”

James’s overall conclusion, and, I find this to be perhaps the most important:

My guess is that pitching performances of this quality are unusual enough that probably

a) 90% of the teams that pull this off are better-than-.500 teams, and

b) 90% of the teams that are victimized by it are less-than-.500 teams.

14 thoughts on “Cueto and Bailey Review

  1. The pitching recently is of a quality that this staff can deliver. Not that they are going to turn in 1-hit shutouts every game.

    Potentially, it is a very good staff. It is not unfathomable that every current starter could win 15-17 games. I don’t expect that to happen this season. But, a successful return by Volquez and a successful minor league stay for Chapman may present this team with a unique problem: Too many good starting pitchers.

    I really do not expect quite so many good things this season. After all, this is a very young team. However, next year, if Chapman pans out, if Volquez returns, if Harang is traded for a bit more offensive punch… well, then we’d see a Leake-Chapman/Volquez-Bailey-Cueto-Arroyo rotation, and we’e see Bruce and Gomes one year older. Could be worse.

    It’s better to expect young guys to get better than to anticipate old guys getting worse.

  2. @justcorbly: Harang and Arroyo are more than likely going to have their options declined. I can see Arroyo being extended in order to decrease his salary next year a la Scott Rolen but would be amazed to see Harang in a Reds uniform after this year. The depth, youth and potential of a Leake/Cueto/Volquez/Bailey/Arroyo/Chapman starting rotation would be rivaled by only the Giants in my opinion.

    • @justcorbly: Harang and Arroyo are more than likely going to have their options declined… The depth, youth and potential of a Leake/Cueto/Volquez/Bailey/Arroyo/Chapman starting rotation would be rivaled by only the Giants in my opinion.

      Agreed. We need to remember, though, that Chapman has to prove he can win in the majors and Volquez has to prove that all over again. If they both pitch later this year and are unimpressive, while Arroyo has a strong year, it makes sense to bring him back in 2011.

      • Agreed. We need to remember, though, that Chapman has to prove he can win in the majors and Volquez has to prove that all over again. If they both pitch later this year and are unimpressive, while Arroyo has a strong year, it makes sense to bring him back in 2011.

        I agree. It’s good to have one known veteran commodity in the rotation. Unless Arroyo has an outstanding season, we could decline his option and then still sign him. If he does have an outstanding 2010, don’t even decline the option.

  3. @Greg Dafler: A bullpen stint this year to get him back into the swing of things makes sense, but in 2011, why waste a top of the rotation caliber pitcher by keeping him confined to the 7th and 8th innings?

  4. I’m actually the guy who asked James that question – it was nice to get his impression on Homer and Johnny’s performance.

    One interesting story about the Villone start back in 2000: I drove up to County Stadium in Milwaukee for the last series there before the Brewers moved to Miller Park. I attended the 2nd-to-last game on (Wednesday 9/27, against the Reds) and since both teams were out of contention the crowd was very small.

    Some Reds players were signing autographs next to the dugout before the game, so I walked down and met up with Ron Villone. As he was signing my ticket, I said to him, “So, Ron – are you ready for next year?” He finished signing, gave me a staredown and said simply, “This year’s not over yet.” I thought that was a GREAT answer to an admittedly stupid question by me. The game started and unfortunately the Redlegs lost 10-6, but I ended up snagging the ball from Juan Castro’s HR – a pretty rare souvenir considering how few bombs Castro has hit.

    Fast-forward to Friday night – I’m at a bar and catch SportsCenter’s highlights of the 8-1 Reds win over the Cardinals, which was good to see. Then I catch Villone’s line:
    9IP, 2H, 1R (unearned), 16K (!)

    I flashed back to the look on his face and remembered his response: “THIS YEAR’S NOT OVER YET.” Point taken, Ron Villone. Point taken.

    Just one more reason why I love baseball so much.

  5. @TheNatural: I’m not convinced that he’s a top of the rotation starter. He did pitch like that in the majors for three months of one season.

    I’d try Volquez and Daryl Thompson at back-of-the-bullpen/future closer roles.

    • @TheNatural: I’m not convinced that he’s a top of the rotation starter.He did pitch like that in the majors for three months of one season.I’d try Volquez and Daryl Thompson at back-of-the-bullpen/future closer roles.

      I don’t think Volquez has the control to be a closer. He walks a lot of people, a lot of wild pitches, etc. If it turns out he’s not good enough to be a top of the rotation starter, I’d be happy to have him as a mid-to-bottom of the rotation starter.

  6. Well Albert Pujols thinks Homer is for real….

    From an interview Pujol’s did last week –

    “A guy that’s really good, I think, is Homer Bailey from Cincinnati. He’s got good stuff. For a young kid like he is, when he puts his stuff together, I mean, he’s going to be amazing. That guy has a real live arm — good split, good curveball — and he keeps the ball down. For being in that park in Cincinnati, it’s amazing.”

    • Well Albert Pujols thinks Homer is for real

      May be Albert’s just baiting the Cincinnati management team…

      I talked to someone last week (just a fan) who says he had a conversation with Bailey last year in Cincinnati. Bailey told him he wasn’t comfortable with the spotlight put on him by the Reds’ team and marketing group the last couple of years; that he just wanted to come to town and pitch.

      We’ve seen evidence of this; I believe Bailey was quoted this spring as saying he was somewhat shocked as to see his name (face?) on a billboard as he was driving into town to pitch.

      That being said, I had hoped the spring Chapman circus would take some attention off Homer. He’s still started slowly. Ironically, and I haven’t looked this up, but doesn’t he always seem to pitch to the Pirates or the Cardinals?

      I still would rather have Hanigan catch him, too. He’s hinted at that also.

  7. Albert was very impressed by Bailey in the game last year where Homer shut out the Cards for 7 innings and then Weathers gave up the grand slam to Pujols. He talked afterwards after Homer having electric stuff with multiple pitches that he was locating well.

    The next time that Homer pitched against the Cards (still last year), Pujols paid him the ultimate compliment. Homer didn’t pitch that well and had to be removed in the middle of the game. Albert said: “We were happy to get him out of the game.” So even where Homer was not getting good results, A. P. was saying that it’s no fun to hit against him.

Comments are closed.