Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Analysis suggests Homer Bailey has fifth-best 'stuff' in league

Homer Bailey has long been a household name for Reds fans everywhere since the organization drafted him seventh overall in the 2004 Amateur Draft. And one of the things scouts, coaches, and fellow players have always raved about the Texan is his "stuff." This is partly why he was considered one of the game's top pitching prospects before breaking into the big leagues in 2007 at the age of 21.

At age 27, Bailey continues to boast enormous potential, as evidenced by his most recent no-hit gem against the San Francisco Giants. But he has yet to find consistency in his start-to-start performance. Nonetheless, nobody has ever accused Bailey of not having what it takes to be an elite major league pitcher, especially when it comes to his arsenal of pitches.

On Wednesday, ESPN Insider Jared Cross echoed this sentiment, ranking Bailey fifth among his list of the "10 starting pitchers with the best stuff this season." Cross used PitchF/X data acquired from BrooksBaseball to build a model to project pitcher strikeout rates and ground ball rates based on the velocity and movement of their pitches, along with the frequency with which they throw each type of pitch.

Here is what he had to say about Bailey:

"Stuff" projection: 8.2 K/9, 41 percent ground balls, 4.4 percent popups, 3.61 ERA

Bailey throws strikes and gets swings-and-misses on all five of his pitches. After years of mild disappointment, Bailey (formerly a can't-miss prospect) started living up to the hype in the second half of last season and has kept it going this year.

In last week's no-hitter, 84 of Bailey's 109 pitches were fastballs and he demonstrated his ability to ramp up his velocity when needed, finishing the game with flurry of fastballs in the upper 90s.

Cross also included a graphic of Bailey's no-hit outing to serve as visual proof that the right-hander does indeed own some of the best "stuff" in the game.

Now, if only Bailey could put it all together on a more consistent basis.

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