Expectations, inconsistency, and injury have plagued Bailey's career in Cincinnati. He has always been seen as having "ace-like" potential, but never lived up to those lofty projections. 2012 was a different year for him. He posted the best numbers of his career going 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA and 168 strikeouts. He credited a lot of his success to staying healthy, allowing him to make 33 starts and throw 208 innings.
He did struggle in his starts at Great American Ball Park, compiling a 4-8 record with a 5.16 ERA at home. He was a warrior on the road though. He sported a tidy 2.32 ERA, while going 9-2 in his 16 starts away from GABP. With all that being said, he put together a magnificent start at GABP against San Francisco during the playoffs. He struck out 10 Giants over seven innings of one-run baseball, though the Reds lost 2-1.
That playoff game was a big moment for Bailey, but the biggest moment of his career year without a doubt occurred on September 28th in Pittsburgh when he threw the first Reds no-hitter since 1988. He completely shut down the Pirates, striking out 10 en route to a 1-0 victory.
Bailey's great year will certainly have fans wanting more in 2013. His success last year may have expectations for him at an all-time high. If he can come through, then he, Johnny Cueto, and Mat Latos will be a solid foundation, giving the Reds one of the top rotations in all of baseball.
As you can see, FanGraphs is projecting a pretty similar year to last year for Bailey. There's not a ton of variation among the other projections, but ZiPS and ESPN both show an increase in ERA and all three expect a drop in the number of strikeouts Bailey will record. It seems pretty fair to expect these kinds of numbers from the Batman look-alike. Perhaps, he can build off his strong second half and exceed expectations for 2013.
Fun fact: Bailey signed a one-year, $5.35 million deal to avoid arbitration for this year. He'll enter his final year of arbitration-eligibility in 2014 before becoming a free agent in 2015.
Here are the links to past player previews: