PDA

View Full Version : Bailey hunts for his chance to rejoin Reds



OnBaseMachine
04-08-2009, 01:06 PM
Bailey hunts for his chance to rejoin Reds

By Michael Grant mgrant@courier-journal.com April 8, 2009

Hunting has taught Homer Bailey the value of patience.

In the offseason, the Cincinnati Reds prospect and current Louisville Bats pitcher took a break from baseball to enjoy his other favorite pastime. He relaxed by bow hunting for deer in South Dakota, Kansas, Canada and Texas. Sometimes he would wait more than a week, sitting from sunrise to sunset and never having a chance for a kill.

Bailey never gets anxious. He is always alert.

A hunting trip can be "a long time if you think about it," the 23-year-old Texan said. "It's been a couple of weeks at times where I've never drawn back (the bow), but you're always mentally in it. You're always expecting things. At any minute it's going to happen, like that. If you're not alert, it will pass you right by."

After biding his time in nature, Bailey is biding his time in the minor leagues. He was demoted from Cincinnati last weekend after being beaten out for the fifth spot in the Reds' rotation by fellow right-hander Micah Owings. He'll be the opening-day starter for the Bats at Louisville Slugger Field tomorrow when they take on the Columbus Clippers.

It seems like a long time since Bailey was the organizational hotshot. He was named the top overall prospect by Baseball America from 2005 through '07 and has been a much-ballyhooed fireballer since being baseball's No. 7 draft choice in '04.

In the big leagues, however, Bailey's outings have been unspectacular. He was 0-6 with a 7.93 ERA with Cincinnati last year and 4-2 with a 5.76 ERA in '07.

Being patient in the wild is one thing. Being patient in the minors is another.

"I'm not patient at all with that," Bailey said. "But the only thing I can do here is do my job: get people out. Whatever happens happens. It's a real pain but there's nothing you can do about it. I don't see myself getting traded. Hopefully, things will turn out OK."

Bailey isn't bitter but instead sounds confident and eager for a promotion -- and Reds farm director Terry Reynolds doesn't disagree.

In the past the organization expressed concerns about Bailey's breaking pitches and his ability to hold runners. But Reynolds said Bailey's recent demotion had more to do with Cincinnati's depth of starting pitching.

In spring training Bailey had a 2.61 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 202/3 innings.

"He's over the hump," Reynolds said. "I think he's a major league-ready pitcher. It's just going to take a spot in Cincinnati for him to get that. He pitched very well this spring. I think everybody is excited about him. I think he's there."

Bailey's major league problem has been an inability to put hitters away. According to the 2009 Baseball Prospectus, National League batters hit .185 with two strikes last year. But Bailey allowed opponents to hit a staggering .391 with two strikes, with a .638 slugging percentage. In a 5-1 loss to Colorado he allowed 15 hits -- the most by a Reds right-hander since 1982.

But Bailey believes an adjustment in his mechanics will help. Working with University of Texas pitching coach Skip Johnson, Bailey corrected a delivery flaw.

"I was keeping my weight over my foot and not swinging my left leg," he said. "It was throwing me off-balance. (This change) just helps you be more consistent with your pitches."

Pitching with the Bats wasn't a problem in 2007, when Bailey was 6-3 with a 3.07 ERA. Last year he went 4-7 with a 4.77 ERA. He knows the best case he can make for a call-up will be pitching well.

The hunter is waiting and ready for something to happen.

"I have to keep staying the course, or whatever the generic term is," he said. "Keep pushing forward."

Michael Grant can be reached at (502) 582-4069.

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20090408/SPORTS/904080476/1002/SPORTS

GIDP
04-08-2009, 01:22 PM
For all the trash talked on Bailey his quotes have always seemed like the really understands a lot about baseball.

He does sound like he wouldnt be too upset about getting traded though.

AmarilloRed
04-08-2009, 02:22 PM
He's out of options now, so a trade is a realistic possibility. This will be a make or break year for Bailey.

OnBaseMachine
04-08-2009, 02:32 PM
I highly doubt the Reds trade Homer Bailey now. He's finally showing signs of breaking out. If he reaches his ceiling, it gives the Reds three top-of-rotation caliber starters 25 years old or younger.

Caveat Emperor
04-08-2009, 02:37 PM
I highly doubt the Reds trade Homer Bailey now. He's finally showing signs of breaking out. If he reaches his ceiling, it gives the Reds three top-of-rotation caliber starters 25 years old or younger.

This where the rubber meets the road for scouting and statistical analysis -- your baseball people have to tell if you Bailey is ready to break out, or if this is a mirage and he needs to be moved as soon as people start believing his stock is back on the rise.

I'm rooting for him, though -- because the Reds can *really* put something special together if Volquez, Cueto, Bailey and Owings all arrive at the same time.

Kingspoint
04-08-2009, 03:25 PM
Daryl Thompson is going to be hunting for his chance, too.

Don't look over your shoulder, Homer. Someone may be passing you (again).

lollipopcurve
04-08-2009, 03:38 PM
Daryl Thompson is going to be hunting for his chance, too.

Don't look over your shoulder, Homer. Someone may be passing you (again).

The one who needs to mind his shoulder is Thompson -- it's not healthy. I fully expect Thompson's career to fizzle for health reasons. Hope I'm wrong.

LoganBuck
04-08-2009, 04:37 PM
Daryl Thompson is going to be hunting for his chance, too.

Don't look over your shoulder, Homer. Someone may be passing you (again).

Daryl Thompson's arm is made of bubblegum, beef jerky, and duct tape.

medford
04-08-2009, 04:54 PM
Daryl Thompson's arm is made of bubblegum, beef jerky, and duct tape.

Mmmmmm.... Beef Jerky

Degenerate39
04-08-2009, 09:17 PM
Could the Reds go with a 6-man rotation?

Harang
Volquez
Arroyo
Cueto
Owings
Bailey

camisadelgolf
04-09-2009, 01:34 PM
Could the Reds go with a 6-man rotation?

Harang
Volquez
Arroyo
Cueto
Owings
Bailey
In a word, no. Even if it were a good idea, it's just too outside-the-box.

gedred69
04-09-2009, 07:17 PM
It is beyond my comprehension that the Reds have so much starting pitching, that a former phenom who appears to be finally "getting it", is sitting at AAA waiting for somebody to falter or an injury to open up a spot for him. Wow. I never thought I'd see the day............