2011 Reds / How Valuable Is...

How Valuable Is…Homer Bailey?

There are a number of players who cause a deep division among Reds fans. Adam Dunn was the best example of this phenomenon, but there are players every year who are beloved by some fans and hated by others.

Perhaps no player on the Reds roster fits that description better than Homer Bailey. He was highly touted, he took two steps back, he showed flashes of brilliance at the major league level, he took a step back, he got injured, he showed some more flashes. Who knows what to expect? Some fans think he’s a cornerstone, some think he should be banished to the bullpen, some think he should be traded as soon as possible.

What’s the Nation’s perspective on young Homer? Is he overrated, underrated, or just rated? What’s his future with the Reds, and what should it be?

35 thoughts on “How Valuable Is…Homer Bailey?

  1. I may not be as optimistic as Steve, but good young pitching is incredibly valuable. That is why I still would make the Volkie/Hamilton trade again. My gut says Homer will always show some inconsistency, but still show enough brilliance from time to time that he will average out as a nice #2 or #3 in the rotation for years to come. That is worth a lot, IMHO.

  2. He’s way too young to give up on. He could possibily be the most talented pitcher on the team not named Chapman. And when he’s on, he is nearly unhittable and amazing to watch. One of my favorite things about Homer is most people’s leasy favorite, his hardheadedness and bulldog mentality on the mound. He reminds me of Josh Beckett in that way. And like Steve said, near the end of last season his BB/9 and K/9 were at elite Ace levels.

  3. I have no clue (in general, but especially when it comes to Bailey). My guess is that he is somewhere between the next Josh Beckett and the next Edwin Jackson.

  4. Two innings, even in a postseason series, might be meaningless, but the best moment of that mostly forgettable 2010 divisional series against the Phillies for me was watching Homer pitch. The command, confidence, polish, attitude, etc., I knew they wouldn’t touch him. Even after Rolen’s error, I had no concern.

    Of course, it wasn’t just the two innings. It’s the other flashes of brilliance, including the ends of the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He does need another out pitch, in addition to his high fastball. If he can consistently command his split finger, we have an ace in the making.

    So I’ll say” overrated.

    So far we’ve all been positive. I’m waiting for the other side to weigh in, with a vengeance.

  5. Doh ! Above I meant “underrated”. But that’s the thing with Homer, he’s swung from one to the other.

  6. Any player’s value is dependant on how you use him. I see him as a number 3 starter, and we have many of those (or potentially better), so I call him overrated. He does have ace potential, but his secondary pitches are far too inconsistent.

    On the other hand, his fastball is so dominate at times. If he was only asked to pitch 1 inning, he can focus on just his fastball/curve. His velocity and command will improve. He will be very difficult to hit without seeing him a second time through the order after he starts to tire. So because he is not used in the situation to allow him to have the most success (Dusty seems to have a problem with that), I call him underrated.

    I believe Homer will be a very good closer someday. Unfortunately, it will probably be for someone else after the Reds give up on him and get a middling prospect in return.

  7. According to baseball-reference.com, Bailey’s splits says he does best the second time through the order. It was even more pronounced this year than for his career.

    career: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=baileho02&year=Career&t=p

    2010: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=baileho02&year=2010&t=p

    In fact….his best performance in 2010, came on pitches 76-100 and 101+ in 2010.

    His worst in 2010 came on pitches 26-50.

    also, his ERA with Hanigan was 3.24. with Hernandez it was 8.24 in 2010

  8. @Steve: Though 8.26 K/9 is certainly good (and much better than his very average K/9 rates prior to this year), 8.26 K/9 is not “elite.” 41 pitchers logging at least 100 IP were within .5 K/9 of that mark or better. He’s a No. 3 on a bad team, a No. 5 on an average to good team, and a bullpen guy on a top team.

    • and much better than his very average K/9 rates prior to this year

      David,

      I think you got closer with this comment. Parra didn’t make the majors until he was 25 years old and has gotten worse each year. Bailey hasn’t had a 25 year old season yet and he’s gotten better each year. Parra also had six full minor league seasons before he reached the majors. He entered at the top of his game. Bailey is still getting better.

      That’s not an accurate comparison.

      Baseball-reference most similar players through age 24:

      1. Jason Schmidt
      2. Jamie Moyer
      3. Roy Halladay

      then it goes down…
      4. Jim Parque
      5. Kip Wells
      6. Ian Snell

  9. again I would like to know why it is ok for volquez and queto to have bad outings and never have anyone suggest they get sent down to the minors but the minute bailey had one it was back to the minors kid. they did it so often he has no options left.meanwhile johnny 5 I mean queto goes 5-6 max and gives up 4-5 runs while tossing over a 100 pitches excepy against the pirates&it is considered a great performance.maybe the stint in the minors will help volquez turn the corner but to me he is the same as bailey and that is inconsistant but you never hear the complaints about those 2 as you do bailey. they have been allowed to work thru their prpblems in the bigs unlike homer. you people who think he is a waste will regret it when he is gone and florishes with another team. he will not be expecyed to be the team savior like he was for the reds.sure he was a #1 pick for the reds but that does not mean he should have been handled the way he was.rushed thru the system then sent back down when he was not ready.seriously aside from the first half of his first season with the reds what has volquez done do to show that the hamilton deal was a good one for the reds?how do you win 13 games before the all star game then only 4 after? what did he show before he got hurt the next year?he showed some promise after coming back from the minors then chocked in the playoffs.

  10. @Steve Price:
    I looked at that chart, and noticed that for his career he gives up his lowest OPS on the first 25 pitches he throws. But you cant just go by that data. While it is suggestive, it doesnt take into account certain things. Such as only being asked to pitch 1 inning allows a pitcher to be more aggressive. He doesnt have to pace himself for 6+ innings, or worry about setting up a batter for later plate appearences. The biggest difference though, is not having to use a third or fourth pitch. Just stay with your best two and watch them get better.

  11. I think his floor is Kip Wells–another guy I’d scratch my head and wonder why he didn’t dominate (well, turns out he walked too many guys). But his ceiling is completely dependant on his command of the curve. One thing I know, he deserves a full year in the rotation before making any decisions on him. Even if he underwhelms, his value will still be good just based on his stuff and age. We’re still playing with house money here.

  12. The other problem I see with David’s assessment of Bailey’s spot in the rotation is that hopefully he isn’t done improving. Like Steve said he’s only going to be 25 next year, and every year he has gotten better. A K/9 of 8.3 and BB/9 of 3.3 isn’t “elite” but it’s significantly better than his previous career marks and hopefully this trend continues. He might be my favorite starter at this point.

  13. The kid in underrated. He’ll be good, and I’d prefer it be for the Reds as opposed to against them.

  14. What about looking at signing Brandon Webb to a minor league deal for little cost and see what he might bring to the table?

    • What about looking at signing Brandon Webb to a minor league deal for little cost and see what he might bring to the table?

      Webb is probably going to get around a 5 Mil base contract with several millions in incentives

      • Webb is probably going to get around a 5 Mil base contract with several millions in incentives

        And I have a hunch it’ll be the Pirates that give it to him.

  15. @Ethan D:

    After battling arm issues for the past two seasons? Wow you are probably right but I wouldn’t want to be the team to shell out that kinda money on possibly damaged goods.

  16. He certainly has the potential to dominate, but his brteaking stuff is just not consistant enough yet. Also, his fastball has very little movement, and sooner or later major leaguers catch up, regardless of velocity. I think if he could add a cut fastball to show a little movement on it, it weould help him immensely.

  17. @Bob Purkey: I thought he had a cut fastball, I thought Justin Lehr taught it to him? As for his breaking stuff being inconsistent, it has been, but there’s always that chance he can figure out some better control and come out dealing next year.

  18. I think Bailey is the most underrated Red on the team. He was rushed up here, and he’s way too young to give up on. It may not mean much, but even Pujols said that he thinks Bailey is a great pitcher with great stuff.

  19. @JD: He doesn’t have a cut fastball. He has a split finger fastball that Lehr taught him. As people have pointed out, he’s been inconsistent with it, in most outings he can’t command it.

    To my mind, having command of this pitch or of some other fastball that has late movement (such as a cutter) is going to be the key as to whether he becomes an above average starting pitcher (or better).

    • To my mind, having command of this pitch or of some other fastball that has late movement (such as a cutter) is going to be the key as to whether he becomes an above average starting pitcher (or better).

      I’d say he’s already just a tick below average as a 24-year-old who was rushed to the majors and barely has two full seasons’ worth of starts under his belt.

      His ERA+ in his last two seasons have been 93 and 90, and his WHIP last season was 1.367, which is just under 1.348 NL average for last season. His BB/9 was exactly league-average and his K/9 was nearly one higher per game, at 8.3 vs. 7.4. He’ll be fine.

  20. @Bob Purkey: His fastball has enough on it so that when he’s locating it well, people don’t hit it.
    And he was very good late in 2010 at going up the ladder with his fastball to strike people our or get lazy fly balls.

    But I agree with you in the sense that he also needs a fastball with late movement.

  21. I think we don’t know yet whether Homer is ultimately a starter or a back end guy in the bullpen. But his potential is too much to give up on or trade yet at this point unless another really over values him.

    I think the one thing he isn’t is a middle or long reliever because of his issues at warming up. He either has to start or be the 7th/8th inning man or closer who can prepare to come on a set schedule almost like a starter.

    Those two inings Homer threw versus the Phils in the playoffs were tantalyzing, that’s for sure. If they move CoCo as is rumored they are trying to do, it seems to me Chapman has to be the closer which probably locks Homer in as a starter. Otherwise, they may have thoughts of using Homer as the 7th inning guy in front of Massett in 2011.

  22. He’s 24! Hopefully he will continue to gain command.

    I think it is foolish to put Bailey or Chapman in the back of the bullpen without giving them a legitimate shot at being a starter. And no Bailey’s “shot” is not over yet. Pitchers can take years to develop.

    I love the idea of shedding Cordero, and that includes eating some contract. I would also love for the Reds to go after someone like Rauch and turn him into the closer for a non-closer price.

  23. Bailey has been consistently better and better since he finally put the nagging injuries behind him. He has learned how to pitch and he has good stuff. I think the Reds know what they have and won’t trade him. I think he’ll be solidly entrenched as the #2 or #3 by the end of 2011 with 12-14 wins and a 3.50-4.00 ERA and plenty of Ks.

    Opening Day, I’m guessing at: Arroyo, Volquez, Cueto, Wood, Bailey as the rotation. But to me, the future rotation is still coalescing–if all stays on course, it will eventually be Chapman, Volquez, Bailey, Wood, Cueto, in that order, with everyone improving except Cueto staying about the same. Chapman won’t close unless it is an emergency; he will pitch in relief and be used much the way that the Twins used Johan Santana in relief for 2 innings at a time before he finally got the shot at starting. Chapman will be a starter, the question is, when will he be ready to consistently dominate.

  24. The only time I’ve seen Bailey pitch was live against the Cleveland Indians in 2009. He was wild…he only went five and walked seven batters. Threw 104 pitches. But, what kept me impressed was his velocity stayed the same as he got up in pitches. He battled, he stayed composed on the mound, and despite a bases-loaded, two-out, two run single in the fifth to a red-hot Grady Sizemore, he was doing well. His first major league win, actually. Oh, he also had two wild pitches. My point is, he’s a battler. He’ll continue to learn to pitch and might be a 15-game winner this season if healthy. He might not be an ace, but he just might. At least a 2nd or 3rd starter. I’d have him follow Arroyo as the 2, or Wood as the four.

    Arroyo
    Cueto
    Wood
    Bailey
    Volquez
    That’s my five.

  25. I offer Bailey to the A’s for Dejusess and then go with:
    Bronson/Leake/Wood/Cueto/VVolquez

  26. I would be interested to know if the Reds were involved with KC at all before he was traded to the A’s

  27. @Travis G.: Not forgotten; I just don’t think Leake is any good compared to the others. I’d trade him now before folks realize he’s got a low ceiling and the league caught up with him.

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