Some time ago, I authored a post pondering if Mat Latos was an ace. Upon a little statistical searching, it was determined that even for this season, that answer is no. As an aside to that post, there’s no question that for this season, Latos has been just that. Again, depends on your definition. Some believe every staff has an ace. Others may be of the thought that it’s all in the numbers.
But is he getting some company? Say, Homer Bailey? And I took this one step further. We’ll look at Bailey’s last three seasons to see if he might be evolving into one.
Just to recall that post I wrote on Latos, there are three areas in which Stuart Wallace of Beyond the Box Score used to make such a determination. We will use those same three “principles” here.
1. Plus pitches
The minimum amount required is three. To go make that judgment, we look to Fangraphs and the PITCHf/x Pitch Value per 100 stat. Here’s Bailey’s…
In looking at only 2013, Homer has five? Well, if you count the slider which at 0.00. Even if you don’t there’s four. He does fit this bill.
Now, let’s look at the previous two seasons. As you can see, only one pitch was a plus pitch in 2011, but he did improve to two plus pitches in 2012.
There are four stats we take here: K%, BB%, HR/FB%, and SwStr% Each has a minimum or maximum attached. Those are:
HR/FB% SwStr% > 8.6%
Okay, now Bailey’s…
First, refer to 2013. Seems like Homer is all lined up here as well.
For 2011 and 2012, not so much. The HR/FB% is over the desired level, but is good to see that rate has declined this season. One reason is that Bailey has been more effective at home in this area. Of the 19 HR Bailey has allowed this season, only 6 have been at GABP. Granted, he has three less starts at home (14) than on the road (17).
Side note: remember just last season when we were literally crying because of the disparity in Bailey’s home/roads splits? 2013 has been quite the opposite.
3. Going the distance
Or, is your guy a workhorse? When Wallace first compiled this, he developed a formula.
IP -xIP >=0, where xIP = GS*7
So, here goes…
In no season, including this season, does Bailey fall under this; however…
There was something Wallace had within this section that can be added here.
Durability and the ability to be a workhorse for the rotation while minimizing the use of relievers is another highly desired trait that ace starters provide. The unwritten rule of a starter’s durability is that a starter should be able provide 200+ innings per season.
Referring back to the last table, Bailey does have over 200 IP for this season…and the last.
For this season alone, you could, using all three of these parameters, state the Homer Bailey is an ace. He has three or more plus pitches. Bailey also maintains the percentages in strikeouts, walks, home runs off fly balls, and swinging strikes. And to top it all off, Bailey has over 200 IP this season.
Not sure how many people you would get to buy into that. I know there are the “Homer homers” that are within the Reds fanbase. They’ve already made their case, but now, provided all buy into Wallace’s work, you have the statistical proof.
Again, no mentions of wins or ERA either.
(Editor’s note: Yes, Robin. I did this for you!)