Sunday, July 22, 2012

Homer Reaching His Prime?

Homer Bailey could arguably have been one of the pitchers that was the most highly anticipated to arrive to the Reds at the major league level. His career minor league stats (including rehab starts) are 40-29 with an ERA of 3.56. Any major league team would take a guy that can pitch with an ERA in the mid-threes.

Bailey made his major league debut with the Redlegs on June 8, 2007 against the instate rival Cleveland Indians. It was a game that saw Homer pitch five innings in which he allowed two runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out three in his debut. Bailey qualified for the win that night earning his first career major league victory in his debut. A month later, he was then sent down only to be brought back up in September of 2007.

Since his debut in 2007, Homer Bailey has been much less impressive than Cincinnati fans would have hoped he would be and from what they had seen from him in the minors. Fans have said over and over the past several years that the Reds should just "end the Homer Bailey experiment." In all reality, fans had the right to be disappointed. His career major league stats are 34-29 with an ERA a full run higher than it was in the minors at 4.64. While Homer posts a winning record at the major league level, his ERA is not the 3.56 that fans had seen in the minors.

Obviously fans could not have expected that he would have come to Cincinnati and continued the dominance he did against minor league hitting at the major league level. You would expect a slight drop off from where he was in the minors due to the fact that he was facing better hitting, but the drop off was more than a slight drop off. Homer has been quite a disappointment up to this season posting ERAs his first five years in the majors of 4.43 or higher with his highest season ERA being 7.93 in 2008.

The maturity over the past two years though seen from Homer Bailey has been quite impressive. He went from being what fans viewed as a "stubborn pitcher" only throwing pitches he wanted to throw to being a pitcher that wanted to learn. Seeing interviews from past years compared to the past two years you will notice a guy that went from seeming like he knew everything to a guy that now appears as humble as can be.

So, is Homer Bailey reaching his prime?

He has certainly come into his own this season. At this point in the season he currently sits at 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA. He has already matched his career high in wins and hopes to add more and set a new career high in wins for a season. Gone is the inconsistent pitcher of the past and in with the new pitcher who has 14 quality starts in 19 total starts this season.

In the month of July alone he has posted a 4-0 record with a 1.76 ERA. He has won all four of his starts in the month of July.

I would say the answer to the question is a yes. Is he in his prime now? I can't really answer that question but if he has not he is certainly on the verge of it. He has become quite a pitcher in the majors this season especially.

Let's hope, as fans of the Reds, that he can continue this dominant stretch he has been on and show flashes of who we all hoped he would be when he was called up for his debut on June 8, 2007.

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