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OnBaseMachine
06-18-2009, 12:35 PM
Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled
June 17, 2009

When Branch Rickey described baseball as a game of inches, odds are he was talking about balls that barely clear the fence or squirt beyond an infielder's grasp.

Homer Bailey is adding another anecdote to Rickey's signature phrase. By sliding his middle finger an inch or so wider in his grip, Bailey has added a split-fingered fastball that is transforming him from just another hyped Louisville Bats prospect to the most unhittable pitcher in the International League.

Ask the Norfolk Tides.

At Louisville Slugger Field on Wednesday, the Tides became the fourth consecutive team to look utterly confused and overmatched by Bailey. He still can make the radar gun flash consistently with his magical 96mph fastball, but now he's also throwing an 88mph split-finger fastball that tumbles into the dirt as it arrives at home plate.

"The first time he threw one, my only comment was, 'Holy smokes!'" Bats manager Rick Sweet said.

Using those two pitches, plus his curveball and slider, Bailey limited the Tides to seven harmless singles in eight shutout innings in a 6-2 Louisville victory.

He started throwing the split-finger June2 at Pawtucket. He has now taunted hitters with it in four starts.

These are his statistics for those games: He has allowed one run and 24 hits (no home runs) in 311/3 innings. He has struck out 30 hitters and walked five. Opponents are batting .211 against him.

"I've had Homer three years and never seen him anywhere near as dominating, game after game after game," Sweet said. "He's controlling the best hitters in this league, absolutely controlling them with his stuff."

Credit the split-finger. Credit Bailey. But most of all, credit Bats pitcher Justin Lehr.

After four seasons of fooling nobody with his changeup, Bailey said he was charting pitches for Lehr one night. Bailey is 23, a former No.1 draft pick, a proud Texan and a guy the Cincinnati Reds expect to anchor their starting rotation. Lehr is 31, a veteran who pitched in South Korea part of last season and survives on guile.

Bailey watched Lehr confuse hitters with his split-finger pitch and asked him to show him the grip. Lehr agreed. They huddled in late May in the outfield in Scranton, Pa. When Bailey throws his fastball, he grips the ball where the seams come together. Lehr taught him to keep his index finger on the seam but move his middle finger outside the seam. That's the splitter.

Same pitching motion. Different grip. Devastating results.

"I threw one or two and (Lehr) said, 'You already have it. There's nothing to teach,'" Bailey said.

Not exactly. The folks running the Reds' farm system had to approve. Bailey said he wanted to learn it several years ago but was told that throwing the splitter could injure his shoulder or elbow. Approval denied.

Velocity has given him multiple opportunities in the big leagues, starting in 2007, but velocity was not keeping him in Cincinnati. Bailey understood he needed to deceive hitters. The splitter would be his deception.

Bats pitching coach Ted Power had to ask his supervisors for approval. Bailey said he already had made his decision.

"I said, 'Teddy, you can ask them, but I really don't care,'" Bailey said. "I'm throwing it. If they tell me, 'No,' I'm just going to throw it anyway. You can call it a changeup if you like."

We'll never know how that dispute would have been resolved. The Reds gave their OK. And now Bailey is giving hitters something to think about other than his fastball. He's also giving the Reds something to think about for their pitching rotation.

Reach Rick Bozich at (502) 582-4650 or rbozich@courier-journal.com.

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20090617/COLUMNISTS01/906170428/-1/rsslink

camisadelgolf
06-18-2009, 12:43 PM
"I said, 'Teddy, you can ask them, but I really don't care,'" Bailey said. "I'm throwing it. If they tell me, 'No,' I'm just going to throw it anyway. You can call it a changeup if you like."
I hope no one tries to turn this into a 'bad attitude' issue. I love that Bailey is so competitive. He wants to succeed about as much as anyone I've ever seen.

aubashbrother
06-18-2009, 12:47 PM
great read. thanks obm

GIDP
06-18-2009, 01:01 PM
Bailey has never really had an attitude problem from my POV.

membengal
06-18-2009, 01:04 PM
That was a delightful read, thanks for posting OBM. The splitter can be a devastating pitch, but it's not for eveyone. If fact, relatively few can really command it. If Bailey as the right build to throw that pitch well, and, now that he is a little older, perhaps throw it with fewer injury concerns, this is simply outstanding news.

Superdude
06-18-2009, 01:07 PM
I'm pretty psyched right now. Whenever Homer comes up to the bigs, he seems to have no idea what to do or what to throw in a two strike count. If the splitter is truly a go to strikeout pitch, he's got one heck of an arsenal working.

camisadelgolf
06-18-2009, 01:07 PM
Bailey has never really had an attitude problem from my POV.
It's been said multiple times that he does, but it's also been said that he's done a 180 over the past year or so.

NorrisHopper30
06-18-2009, 01:30 PM
Very nice article. Good for Homer.

fearofpopvol1
06-18-2009, 01:30 PM
It's been said multiple times that he does, but it's also been said that he's done a 180 over the past year or so.

I think the criticism was fair in the past. He did say and do some things to make folks wince. But I agree with you, he hasn't done anything this year (including his comments above) to tell me he's reverted back to that.

Props to Lehr though. I'm glad that Homer is really trying to learn and take what he can from others. That's a good sign.

Anyone at all concerned though about the split finger affecting Homer and his health? Very few starters throw a splitter and remain healthy.

lollipopcurve
06-18-2009, 01:30 PM
I'm wracking my brain trying to think of what other starters use a split finger these days. Nobody comes to mind. I know it was a great pitch for Clemens in the latter half of his career, but I really can't think of SPs throwing now who rely on it. There must be some guys -- anybody able to help?

krm1580
06-18-2009, 01:31 PM
I know a lot of people are down on him because expectations were high and he has yet to deliver on them, but his career path reminds me a lot of Gavin Floyd.

He was #4 overall pick out of high school with a 95+ FB, a big curveball and needed a third pitch and command worked out. He never dominated any level of the minors but the Phillies needed pitching, rushed him up at 21 and he struggled. The eventually sent him packing to the White Sox where he has turned into a good starter.

So I am happy Homer is doing well and that the org has not given up on him. Hopefully he will continue to get better and become a productive member of the rotation.

camisadelgolf
06-18-2009, 01:32 PM
I'm wracking my brain trying to think of what other starters use a split finger these days. Nobody comes to mind. I know it was a great pitch for Clemens in the latter half of his career, but I really can't think of SPs throwing now who rely on it. There must be some guys -- anybody able to help?
According to Wikipedia, John Smoltz, Carlos Zambrano, Curt Schilling, Dan Haren and Rich Harden throw it.

OesterPoster
06-18-2009, 01:41 PM
Pretty sure the splitter is Brandon Webb's out pitch, as well as most of the Asian guys who come over to the US. Hiroki Kuroda throws a pretty effective one, Hideo Nomo used to. Dice K throws one too.

GIDP
06-18-2009, 01:41 PM
It's been said multiple times that he does, but it's also been said that he's done a 180 over the past year or so.

Of course you also 1st heard about how terrible of a person he was from Hal Mccoy who also once said the reason he wasnt in the majors is because he isnt a good enough guy. So take thats for what its worth.

Degenerate39
06-18-2009, 02:21 PM
How's Homer's change up?

NeilHamburger
06-18-2009, 02:30 PM
Only problem with the splitter is you are destined to see Dr. Andrews if you don't throw it just perfect. That pitch has ruined quite a few very good young arms.

dougdirt
06-18-2009, 02:42 PM
Only problem with the splitter is you are destined to see Dr. Andrews if you don't throw it just perfect. That pitch has ruined quite a few very good young arms.

Here is my question about this, and I am no doctor, but from what is said in the article, the only difference between the fastball and the split finger fastball is in inch of separation in 1 finger. What causes the injury bug with something with such a slight difference?

fearofpopvol1
06-18-2009, 02:53 PM
Here is my question about this, and I am no doctor, but from what is said in the article, the only difference between the fastball and the split finger fastball is in inch of separation in 1 finger. What causes the injury bug with something with such a slight difference?

This is exactly what I was wondering too.

DTCromer
06-18-2009, 02:53 PM
We'll see about this. I'm very cautious, as usual.

It doesn't really help if can't throw anything for strikes at the MLB level.

medford
06-18-2009, 02:57 PM
I'm no doctor either doug, but I'd say just run a quick test on yourself, hold your fingers apart like your growing to throw a 2 seamer, then move your middle finger open another fraction of an inch. You can feel the extra tension it causes in your forarm, running up the elbow. Its slight, but I imagine when you try to do it at 90+ mph 40 times in a ball game, plus however many extra times in warmups, etc.. and you can see how the extra stress would add up if you weren't throwing it correctly, causing tightness in the forarm, leading to tightness in the eblow and eventually TJ surgery from Doc Hollywood.

Probably even more pronounced for a younger kid that hasn't had the time/programs to build up arm strength.

lollipopcurve
06-18-2009, 03:15 PM
Probably even more pronounced for a younger kid that hasn't had the time/programs to build up arm strength.

What I was thinking, too. Consider also that they've left Homer out there for 124 and 117 pitches in his last two starts.

So, since the organization formerly rejected Bailey's request to throw the split, is their reversal now an indication that they value his short-term success more highly than his long-term health? Do they have him on the trading block? Or does the current regime feel differently about the hazards of the pitch? We shall see...

traderumor
06-18-2009, 03:32 PM
I also am very concerned about the splitter's association with arm troubles. I can recall posts from WOY about Roger Craig and the Giants in the '80s and the arm problems it caused. I'd hate to see it done at the long-term expense of an arm injury for the short-term benefit up until the arm injury occurs.

redsmetz
06-18-2009, 03:57 PM
Only problem with the splitter is you are destined to see Dr. Andrews if you don't throw it just perfect. That pitch has ruined quite a few very good young arms.

That's the question I wondered. I know the splitter has a long history now and I wonder what they've learned to help guys throw it without experiencing the significant damage that has occurred with some pitchers.

dougdirt
06-18-2009, 04:10 PM
I'm no doctor either doug, but I'd say just run a quick test on yourself, hold your fingers apart like your growing to throw a 2 seamer, then move your middle finger open another fraction of an inch. You can feel the extra tension it causes in your forarm, running up the elbow. Its slight, but I imagine when you try to do it at 90+ mph 40 times in a ball game, plus however many extra times in warmups, etc.. and you can see how the extra stress would add up if you weren't throwing it correctly, causing tightness in the forarm, leading to tightness in the eblow and eventually TJ surgery from Doc Hollywood.


I get that, but at the same time with the way Bailey throws his curveballl (knuckle curve grip) it causes the same type of extra 'tension' in my forearm. Sure, he isn't throwing it at hard, but his arm is moving at the same rate of speed as when he throws his fastball. Again, not any kind of doctor, just very curious as to what makes that pitch some evil arm ruining pitch by simply moving a finger an inch.

Mario-Rijo
06-18-2009, 04:22 PM
How's Homer's change up?

Trashed according to the article.

dougdirt
06-18-2009, 04:24 PM
Trashed according to the article.

Which is worth noting, the announcers yesterday made note of a few 'change ups' during the game. Whether they actually were change ups or not is another thing.

Superdude
06-18-2009, 05:51 PM
Announcers never seem too reliable on pitch type. I'm guessing it was the splitter

LoganBuck
06-18-2009, 10:24 PM
Which is worth noting, the announcers yesterday made note of a few 'change ups' during the game. Whether they actually were change ups or not is another thing.

It can still be an effective pitch if shown a few times a game, to make hitters know it is there. Doesn't have to be a top quality pitch. Just a change of pace.

GOYA
06-19-2009, 12:36 AM
Announcers never seem too reliable on pitch type. I'm guessing it was the splitter

I've seen Homer's splitter. I don't anyone would mistake it for a change. It dives hard.

corwinator3407
06-19-2009, 02:41 AM
I'm no doctor either doug, but I'd say just run a quick test on yourself, hold your fingers apart like your growing to throw a 2 seamer, then move your middle finger open another fraction of an inch. You can feel the extra tension it causes in your forarm, running up the elbow. Its slight, but I imagine when you try to do it at 90+ mph 40 times in a ball game, plus however many extra times in warmups, etc.. and you can see how the extra stress would add up if you weren't throwing it correctly, causing tightness in the forarm, leading to tightness in the eblow and eventually TJ surgery from Doc Hollywood.

Probably even more pronounced for a younger kid that hasn't had the time/programs to build up arm strength.


I can't imagine the splitter being thrown 40 times a game. When I read this it made me think Homer finally might have an out pitch (which would be thrown 10-15 times a game) and thought of Clemens' splitter as someone already pointed out.

medford
06-19-2009, 08:59 AM
OK, 40 times a game might be an exageration, but if he's throwing it 10-15 times in the actual game, I'd have to figure he'd throw it an additional 10-15 times b/w warm ups and b/w inning warmup pitches, so perhaps 20-30 times in a game.

GIDP
06-19-2009, 09:50 AM
The splitter is fine if you throw it like a fastball. Its when guys get off the seams and let it slip out of their fingers to get that extra movment that causes some problems.

kaldaniels
06-19-2009, 10:22 AM
If Homer does turn out to be something magical...you could argue his up/down from the majors to AAA could be beneficial to the Reds. Instead of controlling him from 2007-2012 (aprox.) his arb clock has been pushed back the good part of 1.5 years. Who cares if we had him in 07 or 08...the Reds were not in contention. Also...he is nearing or at the point where his arm does not need to be babied anymore. I'm just trying to look at the bright side of things here...don't get on me too hard.

schmidty622
06-19-2009, 10:34 AM
If Homer does turn out to be something magical...you could argue his up/down from the majors to AAA could be beneficial to the Reds. Instead of controlling him from 2007-2012 (aprox.) his arb clock has been pushed back the good part of 1.5 years. Who cares if we had him in 07 or 08...the Reds were not in contention. Also...he is nearing or at the point where his arm does not need to be babied anymore. I'm just trying to look at the bright side of things here...don't get on me too hard.

Shoot, I'd be happy if Homer turned out to be a #3 starter at this point.

redsfandan
06-19-2009, 10:44 AM
If Homer does turn out to be something magical...you could argue his up/down from the majors to AAA could be beneficial to the Reds. Instead of controlling him from 2007-2012 (aprox.) his arb clock has been pushed back the good part of 1.5 years. ...
Seriously? If that's true that's pretty cool and something I can be happy about.

camisadelgolf
06-19-2009, 11:36 AM
If he stays with the Reds, Bailey will be eligible for arbitration in either 2012 or 2013.

debra
06-19-2009, 11:49 AM
Homer Bailey is a great young man!!! He will be in the Bigs..Go Reds!!!

kaldaniels
06-19-2009, 02:06 PM
If he stays with the Reds, Bailey will be eligible for arbitration in either 2012 or 2013.

Like I said...thats the bright side. Had he come up in 2007 and stuck...he would have been arb-eligible in 2010 or 2011.

corwinator3407
06-19-2009, 02:52 PM
"I've had Homer three years and never seen him anywhere near as dominating, game after game after game," Sweet said. "He's controlling the best hitters in this league, absolutely controlling them with his stuff."

That statement, and Maloney's inability to keep balls in the park is all I need to give my opinion that Homer should get these starts until Volquez is back. Not gonna know how good the splitter is until its thrown up here.

fearofpopvol1
06-19-2009, 03:07 PM
"I've had Homer three years and never seen him anywhere near as dominating, game after game after game," Sweet said. "He's controlling the best hitters in this league, absolutely controlling them with his stuff."

That statement, and Maloney's inability to keep balls in the park is all I need to give my opinion that Homer should get these starts until Volquez is back. Not gonna know how good the splitter is until its thrown up here.

Yeah...Maloney has had a real shot with a whopping 3 starts this year at The Show.

dougdirt
06-19-2009, 03:19 PM
Yeah...Maloney has had a real shot with a whopping 3 starts this year at The Show.

I am all for giving Maloney his shot, but his issues in the minors seem to be the same ones people feared in the Majors. That he would be prone to lots of HR's. Still, if Bailey is rocking it, he needs his chance today. Maloney has options. Bailey is out of them after September. Honestly, its a tough break if it were to go down like that for Maloney, but at the same time Homer got 1 shot this year in the Majors and it was his worst game in about 12 starts. If Maloney had had his first shot this year, but pitched like he did the other night, would he have been sent back down? Who knows, but I bet he would have been. Fact is, the Reds must know if Bailey is ready before this year is up. They don't need to know that with Maloney.

RedlegJake
06-19-2009, 04:11 PM
Maloney is a guy I'd be shining up for a trade. I have no doubt he'd be a solid starter for San Diego, Seattle, the Nats etc. but getting half his starts in a homer friendly park is going to be dicey for an extreme fly ball guy. I like how he's pitched so far, but the homers are going to be a big liability for him in GAB. I'd bring Bailey back and let him try his new arsenal on the majors, and option Maloney back to AAA to keep winning and help his value stay high while I looked long and hard at what one of these pitchers park teams have that might be helpful.

fearofpopvol1
06-19-2009, 04:51 PM
I am all for giving Maloney his shot, but his issues in the minors seem to be the same ones people feared in the Majors. That he would be prone to lots of HR's. Still, if Bailey is rocking it, he needs his chance today. Maloney has options. Bailey is out of them after September. Honestly, its a tough break if it were to go down like that for Maloney, but at the same time Homer got 1 shot this year in the Majors and it was his worst game in about 12 starts. If Maloney had had his first shot this year, but pitched like he did the other night, would he have been sent back down? Who knows, but I bet he would have been. Fact is, the Reds must know if Bailey is ready before this year is up. They don't need to know that with Maloney.

I actually don't really disagree with that...but rather, the other poster made it sound like this has been a problem for a long time. It's been 3 games.

I'd still like Homer to spend a little more time in the minors...but that's just me.

dougdirt
06-19-2009, 04:55 PM
I actually don't really disagree with that...but rather, the other poster made it sound like this has been a problem for a long time. It's been 3 games.

I'd still like Homer to spend a little more time in the minors...but that's just me.
I am with you. I don't really think we need to make the Bailey move to the majors tomorrow or anything, but before the end of the season its something the Reds need to do. Before September, when he faces 1-8 MLB hitters. I mean really though, Maloney has been pretty good besides the HR rate. Strong walk rate, solid K rate, just lots of HR's.

SMcGavin
06-19-2009, 05:12 PM
I am all for giving Maloney his shot, but his issues in the minors seem to be the same ones people feared in the Majors. That he would be prone to lots of HR's. Still, if Bailey is rocking it, he needs his chance today. Maloney has options. Bailey is out of them after September. Honestly, its a tough break if it were to go down like that for Maloney, but at the same time Homer got 1 shot this year in the Majors and it was his worst game in about 12 starts. If Maloney had had his first shot this year, but pitched like he did the other night, would he have been sent back down? Who knows, but I bet he would have been. Fact is, the Reds must know if Bailey is ready before this year is up. They don't need to know that with Maloney.

Maloney's FB rate has shot through the roof in the bigs. His struggles have been 100% because of that. The other fear, that his stuff wouldn't translate and we'd see a major K/9 drop, has not happened. His K/BB has been very good, better than Johnny Cueto actually. But he has gone from a slight fly ball type in the minors to a flyball machine giving them up at a Milton-like rate. Obviously, that needs to stop for him to succeed. Even with those struggles, his xFIP is 5.04 - I think that's pretty close to what people expected from him, and it's better than both Owings and Arroyo. Not that Maloney is pitching awesome or anything but he's been decent, especially for a guy making his first career starts.

I am extremely excited about Bailey's recent results but I would not call on him right now. The Reds have been yanking him around forever. He just got called up a month ago and got destroyed. It's been a couple of years since Homer really dominated, so let him dominate AAA and refine this new splitter. I agree that he needs up by the end of the year so the Reds can see what they've got but it's mid-June, there's plenty of time for that later.

Shawn_RedsFan
06-19-2009, 05:55 PM
I am extremely excited about Bailey's recent results but I would not call on him right now. The Reds have been yanking him around forever. He just got called up a month ago and got destroyed. It's been a couple of years since Homer really dominated, so let him dominate AAA and refine this new splitter. I agree that he needs up by the end of the year so the Reds can see what they've got but it's mid-June, there's plenty of time for that later.


Why not now?? It would be nice to see if could keep a spot in the rotation before the All star break because then that would open up a trade of Arroyo/Harang...preferrably Arroyo.

bubbachunk
06-20-2009, 05:48 PM
Seems like we may see Homer against Cleveland sat with Maloney getting sent down. Strange that Homer always gets his shot against the Indians.

GIDP
06-20-2009, 05:49 PM
Yep they have no days off in AAA so it lines up.

Kingspoint
06-20-2009, 07:18 PM
Here is my question about this, and I am no doctor, but from what is said in the article, the only difference between the fastball and the split finger fastball is in inch of separation in 1 finger. What causes the injury bug with something with such a slight difference?

I watched Roger Craig (whom Dusty also watched) ruin a whole staff during the early/mid '80's, but it did get them to the playoffs. Craig learned it through the Dodgers' pitching staffs when he pitched for them. Again, Dusty was a part of that.

If you're willing to sacrifice some careers, it can get you to the playoffs. It puts too much stress on the elbow. Holding the fingers further apart causes that stress on the elbow. The release at the end puts a whole different stress on the elbow than a fastball does when the fingers are spread further apart like that.

You get 3 very effective years from a pitcher this way, but then that's it.

RedsManRick
06-21-2009, 03:20 PM
I watched Roger Craig (whom Dusty also watched) ruin a whole staff during the early/mid '80's, but it did get them to the playoffs. Craig learned it through the Dodgers' pitching staffs when he pitched for them. Again, Dusty was a part of that.

If you're willing to sacrifice some careers, it can get you to the playoffs. It puts too much stress on the elbow. Holding the fingers further apart causes that stress on the elbow. The release at the end puts a whole different stress on the elbow than a fastball does when the fingers are spread further apart like that.

You get 3 very effective years from a pitcher this way, but then that's it.

Aren't there a number of power pitchers who use it (or have used it) as an out pitch for years? Clemens, Smoltz, Schilling, Haren, Zambrano. I think Jack Morris threw it too and had was renown for his durability.

I don't doubt the claim that it is more stressful, but asserting that it's a ticking time bomb for a pitcher's elbow is a bit much. Pitching is an unnatural act that given enough time will lead to injury of some sort. Why some pitchers last 20 years and others last 3 is certainly way more complicated than the use of any single pitch.

gonelong
06-21-2009, 06:59 PM
If you're willing to sacrifice some careers, it can get you to the playoffs.

I know what you mean and have always thought the same thing. I'd rather have a good 3 year career than no career at all. You'd have to think a front office would be hesitant to sign those guys to anything but a one or two year deal.

GL

TC81190
06-21-2009, 07:14 PM
I really do hope that the splitter is what turns Homer around and makes him ready for the majors.

But I have to say, at this point I'm skeptical. It seems like there's always something with Homer that he's done that's supposedly got him over the curve. That he's using his breaking pitches more, that he's taken back some power on the fastball to spot it better, now he's throwing more breaking balls, wait now his velocity is back, ok now less breaking balls, alright let's pick the curveball back-up, hey that slider is pretty nice, he's completely changed his attitude around. And in that whole sequence, a lot of those changes have gotten good results for Homer...except for with the Reds. It just seems like the new splitter is another adjustment in an already long list of adjustments he's made through out his career.

I hope my skepticism is unfounded though. I'd like nothing better than to see Homer come up and have a "Volquez '08" year for the major league club.

Pony Boy
06-22-2009, 03:29 PM
Aren't there a number of power pitchers who use it (or have used it) as an out pitch for years? Clemens, Smoltz, Schilling, Haren, Zambrano. I think Jack Morris threw it too and had was renown for his durability.

I don't doubt the claim that it is more stressful, but asserting that it's a ticking time bomb for a pitcher's elbow is a bit much. Pitching is an unnatural act that given enough time will lead to injury of some sort. Why some pitchers last 20 years and others last 3 is certainly way more complicated than the use of any single pitch.

I think that the splitter is only a ticking time bomb if you use it all of the time. Scott Willamson comes to mind.

pedro
06-22-2009, 03:43 PM
I think Bailey's at the point that if he wants to have any sort of career in the majors at all he has to do something. If this is it, fine. Better to have a good five years than none at all.

corwinator3407
06-22-2009, 10:27 PM
I think that the splitter is only a ticking time bomb if you use it all of the time. Scott Willamson comes to mind.

I'm hoping he starts on Saturday so I can see how many times he throws it. After a 7 inning, 6 hit, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K night, I think we'll be seeing him in Cleveland.

Kingspoint
06-23-2009, 07:04 PM
Aren't there a number of power pitchers who use it (or have used it) as an out pitch for years? Clemens, Smoltz, Schilling, Haren, Zambrano. I think Jack Morris threw it too and had was renown for his durability.

I don't doubt the claim that it is more stressful, but asserting that it's a ticking time bomb for a pitcher's elbow is a bit much. Pitching is an unnatural act that given enough time will lead to injury of some sort. Why some pitchers last 20 years and others last 3 is certainly way more complicated than the use of any single pitch.

True. Morris was always one of my favorite pitchers. Threw a lot of junk, but would usually outhink his opponents and he always pitched "well enough" to win the game. He could win 8-7 or 1-0. Arroyo's got that in him. Most people (probably 99.5 percent of baseball fans) forget that Clemens had an arm injury at the very beginning of his career that "should have" ended his career right there and then. We know his secret now, but back then he certainly stopped throwing any kind of a split-finger fastball. His best pitch always was the straight high-heat. He drew his strength from his legs as is well known.

The bottom line is there are very few pitchers who can throw the split-finger fastball for more than 3 years without substantially shortening their careers. It's just not physically possible for the human arm to have any other result than that.

Kingspoint
06-23-2009, 07:12 PM
I am all for giving Maloney his shot, but his issues in the minors seem to be the same ones people feared in the Majors. That he would be prone to lots of HR's. Still, if Bailey is rocking it, he needs his chance today. Maloney has options. Bailey is out of them after September. Honestly, its a tough break if it were to go down like that for Maloney, but at the same time Homer got 1 shot this year in the Majors and it was his worst game in about 12 starts. If Maloney had had his first shot this year, but pitched like he did the other night, would he have been sent back down? Who knows, but I bet he would have been. Fact is, the Reds must know if Bailey is ready before this year is up. They don't need to know that with Maloney.

Doug, question. I haven't talked to you about Harang before, but you bring up something here I feel is Harang's biggest problem.

I've watched Harang repeatedly for the last 2 years now (the last half of '07 to now) gamble too many times per game. What I call gambling is "thinking you can get a pitch past a hitter which that hitter has home-run power with." Like the Strat-O-Matic game, if you want to think of it that way. Every player has certain pitches in certain areas where they have home-run power. Harang is way too much of a gambler and throws that pitch way too often. It's flat-out stupidity on Aaron Harang's part if you ask me. Some might call it obstinance, pride, or just that he's got an inflated opinion of his pitches, but I call it stupidity.

Here's my question: Is Maloney's propensity to give up homeruns similar to this, or is it that he gives up homeruns to opponents where their hitting the homeruns on pitches where they don't normally hit homeruns? In other words, his stuff just isn't that good.

Harang's stuff is that good, and he shouldn't be giving up the homeruns and doubles that he does. He needs a catcher that's going to put him in check and not let him throw certain pitches in certain situations and when they go over every hitter during pre-game warmups, Dusty or Pole need to be adamant with Harang about not throwing those pitches. There's no excuse for Harang's opposing OPS to be where it's been the last 2 seasons. It should be anywhere from .655 to .680.

Mario-Rijo
06-23-2009, 10:55 PM
True. Morris was always one of my favorite pitchers. Threw a lot of junk, but would usually outhink his opponents and he always pitched "well enough" to win the game. He could win 8-7 or 1-0. Arroyo's got that in him. Most people (probably 99.5 percent of baseball fans) forget that Clemens had an arm injury at the very beginning of his career that "should have" ended his career right there and then. We know his secret now, but back then he certainly stopped throwing any kind of a split-finger fastball. His best pitch always was the straight high-heat. He drew his strength from his legs as is well known.

The bottom line is there are very few pitchers who can throw the split-finger fastball for more than 3 years without substantially shortening their careers. It's just not physically possible for the human arm to have any other result than that.

Clemens was throwing that Splitter as an Astro as I recall. I remember the 1st time we faced him as an Astro I believe we beat him and someone said (Welsh IIRC) that Jr. had given a good scouting report to the other Reds to lay off his splitter, as a result he walked a lot of guys that day in Houston.

Griffey012
06-23-2009, 11:18 PM
Well then let Bailey have 3 good years for us, ship him out for a nice package of talent, let someone else pay him and then let him be hurt for someone else. After all, baseball is a business and the goal is to win, not to see how much a player can do for you over 10 years, but how many titles and playoff appearances you go to. So give me 3 potentially good to great years with the splitty, instead of 10 below average to average without the splitter.

gilpdawg
06-24-2009, 07:34 AM
You can't say, "don't throw that, you may get hurt." Pitching in general isn't good for your arm. The injury rate is basically 100%. You gotta throw what gets guys out or you're not going to last anyway, so might as well go all out while you can and if you blow it out eventually, well, surgery works wonders nowadays.

traderumor
06-24-2009, 09:11 AM
You can't say, "don't throw that, you may get hurt." Pitching in general isn't good for your arm. The injury rate is basically 100%. You gotta throw what gets guys out or you're not going to last anyway, so might as well go all out while you can and if you blow it out eventually, well, surgery works wonders nowadays.Tell that to the guys who have had to scrap certain pitches in their career because they caused an injury.

kaldaniels
06-24-2009, 09:17 AM
Is Bailey gripping his splitter the same as those before him who had shortened careers? The article mentions he slid his finger over one inch...is that inch going to ruin his arm? Granted, I'm not an orthopedist so I don't have a clue about this.

membengal
06-24-2009, 10:25 AM
I think Bailey's at the point that if he wants to have any sort of career in the majors at all he has to do something. If this is it, fine. Better to have a good five years than none at all.

This is it in a nutshell.

Best of luck to Bailey. He's plenty old enough now to make a decision based on known risks and proceed forward.

Benihana
06-24-2009, 10:34 AM
This is it in a nutshell.

Best of luck to Bailey. He's plenty old enough now to make a decision based on known risks and proceed forward.

Yep, even Bailey realizes it's now or never for him, and I don't think he wants to end up like Ty Howington- even if it means getting surgery 4-5 years from now.

dougdirt
06-24-2009, 11:37 AM
Yep, even Bailey realizes it's now or never for him, and I don't think he wants to end up like Ty Howington- even if it means getting surgery 4-5 years from now.

Well he has already surpassed Howington and I don't really get the relation of the two. Howington never made it past AA and blew his arm up. Bailey has been to the majors and actually pitched well from time to time there (but overall, no). I also doubt that Bailey realizes its now or never, because well, its not. Bailey will be on someone's MLB roster next April short of his arm blowing up. The main question is, will it be the Reds or not.

Kingspoint
06-24-2009, 07:18 PM
Well then let Bailey have 3 good years for us, ship him out for a nice package of talent, let someone else pay him and then let him be hurt for someone else. After all, baseball is a business and the goal is to win, not to see how much a player can do for you over 10 years, but how many titles and playoff appearances you go to. So give me 3 potentially good to great years with the splitty, instead of 10 below average to average without the splitter.

AKA, Dwight Gooden.