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Does spring training invitee Brandon Bailey have a chance to make the Reds roster?

Cincinnati Reds Brandon Bailey (55) poses during media day.
Cincinnati Reds Brandon Bailey (55) poses during media day. / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Brandon Bailey was removed from the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster prior to the MLB lockout, but the right-hander was quickly signed a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training. What does Bailey bring to the table and does he really have a chance to make the Opening Day roster?

Bailey was originally selected in the sixth-round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics. Bailey spent two years in the A's organization before being shipped to the Houston Astros. In his 2017 season with the A's Low-A and High-A affiliates, Bailey combined for a 3.26 ERA, 11.87 K/9, and 32.8% strikeout-rate.

Brandon Bailey has an outside chance to make the Reds roster.

During the 2018 season, as part of the Astros farm system, Bailey put together another solid season. The right-hander posted a solid 2.80 ERA and was still putting up terrific strikeout numbers. Bailey had a 10.01 K/9 and a 26.9% strikeout-rate.

Bailey's 2019 season was not his best, but the former Gonzaga Bulldog still put up good strikeout numbers. A 10.00 K/9 and 26.7% K-rate are nothing to sneeze at, but his walk-rate was sitting at 10.6%.

Brandon Bailey made his major league debut during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and appeared in five games out of the bullpen for the Astros. Bailey worked 7.1 innings, posted a 2.45 ERA, but a 5.51 FIP. He allowed six hits and two earned runs while punching out four and walking three batters.

Bailey is an unconventional strike thrower. The 27-year-old stands just 5-foot-10 and typically works his fastball in the low-to-mid 90s. However, Bailey creates so much spin his fastball has a lot of movement and will induce a lot of swings and misses.

The Cincinnati Reds bullpen is not bad, but it's not good either. One could make the argument that at least three spots in the pen will be open heading into spring training. The only pitchers virtually assured a spot are Lucas Sims, Justin Wilson, Luis Cessa, Amir Garrett, and Art Warren. Tony Santillan could be added to that list as well.

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Brandon Bailey is recovering from Tommy John surgery, so it remains to be seen how healthy the right-hander will be upon his return to the diamond. Bailey has an outside chance to make the Reds roster out of spring camp and has two minor league options remaining.

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