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OnBaseMachine
04-01-2007, 10:26 AM
Two for the Show (Someday soon)
TOP PROSPECTS: HOMER BAILEY & JAY BRUCE
BY KEVIN KELLY | KKELLY@ENQUIRER.COM

The afternoon when the Reds first introduced Homer Bailey, the hard-throwing Texan sounded what has since become a familiar refrain about his major-league future.

"I don't have a magic wand or ball that says how fast I'll get there," he said back in 2004. "They'll take their time and develop me the way I should be developed.

"I'll get there whenever they feel it's right."

The last high school pitcher taken by the Reds in the first round that made it to the major leagues was Scott Scudder.

Cincinnati took Scudder with the 17th overall pick in the 1986 draft, and the right-hander made his major-league debut during the 1989 season.

Bailey appears destined to be the draftee to end the drought.

The right-hander has climbed the minor-league ladder as hoped, and after last season - when he combined to go 10-6 with a 2.47 ERA in 26 starts split between Single-A Sarasota and Double-A Chattanooga - was named the Reds' minor-league player of the year.

The right-hander, who has been the focus of much hype and growing fan interest, will begin this season at Triple-A Louisville.

Both Bailey and outfielder Jay Bruce, the Reds' first-round pick in 2005, received high marks from Baseball America in its annual list of the game's top 100 prospects.

Bailey was rated fifth overall behind right-handed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka (Red Sox), third baseman Alex Gordon (Royals), outfielder Delmon Young (Devil Rays) and right-handed pitcher Philip Hughes (Yankees.)

"The next great Texas fireballer in the tradition of Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens," the magazine gushed about Bailey, who it estimates will be in the big leagues sometime this season.

At No. 14 overall, Bruce, who enjoyed a stellar season at Single-A Dayton last year, was the fifth-rated outfielder in the Top 100.

"Beat out (Detroit's Cameron) Maybin for top-prospect honors in the Midwest League last summer," the magazine said of Bruce, who it estimates will be in the big leagues by 2009.

2 MINUTES WITH HOMER BAILEY

What was your first major purchase after you signed with the Reds? "A white Ford F-250. I bought the '04 because I got drafted in '04. That offseason, I rolled it three times. I'm not driving that one anymore."

Do you ever catch yourself wondering what your major-league debut will be like? "No, not really. I imagine my parents would be there. Other than that, no."

What are your strengths? "My fastball and being aggressive toward hitters. That's one thing I usually do pretty well. That and understanding what's going on around me."

What are some areas of your game that you are working to improve? "Maybe trying to learn the game and get better at doing a routine, picking up the little things I haven't seen before."

When you're not on the baseball field, what are you most likely to be doing? "What do I like to do? Get as far away from it as I can."

2 MINUTES WITH JAY BRUCE

What was your first major purchase after you signed with the Reds? "A Yukon Denali. I never had a car before that. I didn't get my license until I was 18. I've since sold it and got a new BMW."

Do you ever catch yourself wondering what your major-league debut will be like? "The vision for me, man, is to be standing anywhere in the Reds outfield. My dream, I think, would be in Houston. That would be awesome. Against Houston. All my family, my friends and my girlfriend could be there. ... Of course, you're going to be nervous and everything. I can't wait for that day. It'll be awesome."

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070401/SPT04/704010401/1071/SPT

OnBaseMachine
04-01-2007, 10:27 AM
Numbers 2 know: Key stats for key prospects

Homer Bailey: He went a combined 10-6 with a 2.47 ERA in 26 starts split evenly between Single-A Sarasota and Double-A Chattanooga last season. He did not allow a run in 11 of his starts.

Jay Bruce: He batted .291 with 16 home runs, 81 RBI and 19 stolen bases in 117 games with Single-A Dayton. He led the Midwest League in doubles (42) and extra-base hits.

Next stop

Bailey: He'll start the season at Triple-A Louisville but should wind up making his major-league debut during the 2007 season.

Bruce: He hopes to skip Single-A Sarasota and open the 2007 season at Double-A Chattanooga. He could wind up at Triple-A Louisville before the year is over.

OnBaseMachine
04-01-2007, 10:29 AM
Get 2 know these names too

Homer Bailey is the Reds' No. 1-ranked prospect by Baseball America; Jay Bruce is No. 2. Here's the rest of the top 10:

3 Joey Votto, 1B - Last season's batting champion and MVP of the Southern League will begin the season at Triple-A Louisville with a focus on improving his defense.

4 Johnny Cueto, RHP - He was named the Reds' minor-league pitcher of the year after going 15-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 26 starts with Single-A Dayton and Sarasota.

5 Drew Stubbs, OF - The Reds' first-round pick last year batted .252 with six homers and 24 RBI in 56 games with rookie-level Billings.

6 Travis Wood, LHP - Through his first two professional seasons, the Reds' second-round draft pick in 2005 is 12-5 with a 3.05 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 188 2/3 innings.

7 Sean Watson, RHP - The Reds' second-round pick last year went 1-2 with a 4.23 ERA and had 25 more strikeouts than walks through 13 relief appearances and four starts at rookie-level Billings and Single-A Dayton.

8 Milton Loo, 3B - The Reds' ninth-round draft pick in 2005 did not sign until June 3, 2006, but batted .372 with six doubles, one homer and seven RBI in 14 games with the Gulf Coast League Reds.

9 Paul Janish, INF - He began the 2006 season at low-Single-A Dayton and finished at Double-A Chattanooga.

10 Chris Valaika, SS - A third-round draft pick last year, he had a 32-game hitting streak at one point with rookie-level Billings and was the Pioneer League's Most Valuable Player after finishing with a .324 batting average, eight homers and 60 RBI.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070401/SPT04/704010401/1071/SPT