An excellent start to the season ended in a bit of a different manner for Homer Bailey. Well, it didn’t start out all that well either. Spending the beginning of 2011 on the disabled list was not a positive….until he returned, and did he ever.
A second time on the DL did not provide the same success as the first. Bailey was racking up numbers through his first five games that he frankly couldn’t consistently duplicate. He did have some good outings, but there was a little something amiss.
And there are two things to consider as we look at Homer and what might be for 2012.
Projections and stats
1. Walk rate and K/BB ratio
One thing I see in Bailey is that he will display a disdain for the free pass. That’s a good thing. In each of his first five seasons, Bailey has improved his BB/K ratio from 1.00 in his first season to that of 3.21 last season. And it has improved every year in between. You don’t have to strikeout more guys, you have to limit your walks, and Bailey has done just that. Let this table do the rest of the talking.
As Bailey has matured, his WHIP and declined every season since the debacle known as 2008. For that year, it was an abominable 2.09. Last year, that was reduced to 1.28. And yes, decreases for every year in between. Part of that is related to lessening of his walks, but opponents batting average against has declined as well.
I know I touched on this when I addressed Johnny Cueto, but Bailey has displayed a marked improvement over his five seasons. If they get on, you got to keep them from scoring, and Bailey is proving more reliable in stranding runners. Here’s the rundown.
- 2007: 60.2%
- 2008: 61.7%
- 2009: 71.2%
- 2010: 71.0%
- 2011: 71.2%
He’s showing a little consistencey over the last three seasons…and hopefully we can bank on that for 2012.
I know I just said Bailey showed a little in his LOB% and I know it’s a start, but isn’t it about time Homer blooms? With the added pressure of possibly having to earn a spot in the starting rotation (again?), this does little to help his efforts. If you knew you would get the same Homer from game to game, at least there would be something to go on, right?
If we see the Homer Bailey from the first five games of 2011 consistently, we would all feel better.
You can’t have a logical discussion about Bailey and not bring this aspect into it. During his first two seasons as a Red, it wasn’t as much an issue as it is now. Did you know that Bailey has pitched over 150 innings in a season only twice…and neither came as a solely a Red. The two seasons where he did (2009 and 2011), he split time between Cincy and Louisville.
Yes, it is beating a dead horse here. I think I’ve said this about three of the possible five starters, but it needs to be said about Bailey as well. Now Bailey has been a little more proficient in this area as others. In fact, he may not get the proper credit he deserves. Last season was the first time his GB% was below 40% (39.5), but his GB/FB ratio has crept lower every season. That’s not to say he was terrible, but there is a slight sign of regression in this ratio.
The good news is that he still manages to hover over 1.00.
What will be interesting will be Bailey’s plight. Will he be the 5th starter? Will he be relegated to the pen? Will he be the odd man out if Aroldis Chapman moves to the rotation once that move is made? Will he really be tried as a closer? Hard to answer any of these. The easiest to answwer might be in regards to closing.
Bailey has a drawn out routine in order to prepare for an outing. I don’t think this will gel into becoming a closer unless some major adjustments are made to that routine. And if you mess with a pitcher’s routine, you might be asking for more trouble than you need.
For next season, it’s a shot in the dark. Health, consistency and spot on the staff make me wonder how out of line James is with his projections when Bailey is the subject. I have no real qualms with them except maybe the number of starts (27).
Even with Edinson Volquez out of town, Bailey is not out of the woods.