Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Bailey Approaching Ace Status?


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…

Season wFA/C wFT/C wSL/C wCU/C wKC/C wCH/C
2011 -0.22 -2.23 2.12 -0.25 -1.20
2012 0.09 -0.06 1.90 -2.27 -1.24
2013 1.10 1.32 0.00 -1.09 0.98 0.07

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.

2. FIPness

There are four stats we take here: K%, BB%, HR/FB%, and SwStr% Each has a minimum or maximum attached. Those are:

K% >18.8%
BB% <7.4%
HR/FB% SwStr% > 8.6%

Okay, now Bailey’s…

Season K% BB% HR/FB% SwStr%
2011 18.90% 5.90% 11.50% 9.30%
2012 19.20% 6.00% 11.50% 9.60%
2013 23.80% 6.10% 9.90% 10.90%

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…

Season IP GS IP/GS
2011 132 22 -22.00
2012 208 33 -23.00
2013 204 31 -13.00

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!)

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Tags: Cincinnati Reds Homer Bailey

  • mikeyman1000

    I believe that next season,if they all remain healthy,all of the starters for the reds will have over 15 wins

  • RobinGood

    Do you mean me? I feel flattered :D
    It’s a shame I only read it now.

    • http://blogredmachine.com/ Steve O.

      Yep. Sure do. Know you’re a Bailey guy so I did this. Plus, was a little curious myself.

      • RobinGood

        Wow. Awesome community interaction. Thanks for the article, from watching the games I wasn’t surprised that he fit nearly all categories. I thought that his IP were higher. The definition of an ace article has a very tough-to-beat formula for IP, though.

        Other than that, I have to say that I only started following Baseball since mid-2012 (I’m from Germany so I’m not confrontated with Baseball at all) and have thus more often than not seen a very good Homer Bailey. I don’t have the memory of Homer having a 4.00 ERA so I am more convinced of him than those who’ve seen him a lot. I do however think that Bailey’s gradual year-to-year improvement can be taken as an evidence to show that 2013 wasn’t an outlier but instead foreshadowing of what his future developement will be.

        I am therefore very much against trading him because I believe he will be very valuable in the next few years. I could understand it but since I want Bailey to be successful, I can’t bear watching him be successful on a different team than the Reds.