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02-01-2011, 11:58 AM
http://www.rotoauthority.com/2011/01/position-battles-reds-5-starter.html


In what might be the most evenly matched competition in this series, I'll take a look at the last spot in the Reds' rotation. I can probably expand the list of candidates by two or three but it's unnecessary at this point. Realistically, it's a two-man race between two of the better young pitchers in the game.

Martinez does a quick breakdown of the Reds' #5 starter battle, which he says is effectively between Leake and Wood.

Benihana
02-01-2011, 12:22 PM
I would think the battle is more between Bailey and Leake, with Wood being penciled in already.

Redsfan320
02-01-2011, 12:24 PM
Martinez does a quick breakdown of the Reds' #5 starter battle, which he says is effectively between Leake and Wood.

That's bull. Wood's our #3, easy. And I ain't got any stats to back it up at the moment either. I watched him pitch last year. As I did everyone else. And there is no way in heck Travis Wood is not on the opening day pitching staff.

I'll stake my RZ reputation on it. (Which isn't much, lol.)

320

Redsfan320
02-01-2011, 12:25 PM
I would think the battle is more between Bailey and Leake, with Wood being penciled in already.

Absolutely. I would've had Volqy in there too, but with his new contract, he seems to have the 4-spot locked up.

320

Homer Bailey
02-01-2011, 12:44 PM
Thanks for posting.

For me it's Wood, and it's not really even close. I'm afraid that neither pitcher is quite as good as they performed last year, but I still trust Wood quite a bit, and I have little to no faith in Leake at this point. I don't think it's as simple as "he ran out of steam." I think he stopped getting quite so BABIP lucky, and basically stopped fooling hitters. He was getting hit very hard in May and June, if I remember correctly. He doesn't strike out nearly enough batters, and his K/BB rate scares me quite a bit. I think it would be crazy to start him at the big level this year and to have Wood (who is much more seasoned) in AAA.

I'm being somewhat cautious with my expectations with Wood, but I still do think he can be a solid #2 in the future. The guy has great control, and seems to just (cliche warning) "know how to pitch". He doesn't miss over the middle of the plate much, strikes out a decent amount of hitters, and generally does not get contact on the fat part of the bat. He benefits from a strong defense (as all Reds pitchers do), but his peripherals make me feel a lot better about his immediate future than Leake's.

I seriously hope the Reds don't plan on keeping Leake's "Never pitched in the minors" mantra alive just for the sake of keeping it alive, and I don't think they will.

REDREAD
02-01-2011, 01:09 PM
I think Leake will be an effective ML starter for a long time.
He's obviously not a Cy Young candidate (not saying anyone is claiming that), but he's got talent. I don't think Walt would've put him directly in the majors last year without seeing the kid's talent.. Walt isn't the type to just throw random players against the wall and see what sticks.

I know people are down on Leake, but I would not be disappointed to see him in the rotation next year.

I still wonder if there's going to be a trade in spring training.
The nice thing about going cheap in LF and SS is that the Reds could still make a trade for one of those positions. I'm not saying it's likely, but it could happen.

PuffyPig
02-01-2011, 02:08 PM
Assuming health, Bailey is a lock for the rotation. Out of options, not a good relief option, he'll be in the rotation.

It is indeed a battle between Leake and Wood.

PuffyPig
02-01-2011, 02:10 PM
Absolutely. I would've had Volqy in there too, but with his new contract, he seems to have the 4-spot locked up.



Wood and Bailey and Leake have a new contract too.

kaldaniels
02-01-2011, 02:14 PM
If I'm not mistaken, in this thread EV, Wood, and Homer have all been proclaimed locks, in one way or another. Sorry Mr. Leake, guess you are the odd man out.

TRF
02-01-2011, 02:23 PM
1-3, Cueto, Arroyo, Volquez.

4 Bailey or Wood

5 Bailey/Wood or Leake

The Reds will give Bailey 1st shot at the #4 spot in the rotation, but this is likely his last year to fail. Chapman to the pen all year followed by a rotation audition next year.

Kc61
02-01-2011, 02:37 PM
Lot of people going to be disappointed when Leake makes the rotation. Just don't see the Reds moving him back to AAA or bullpen.

Unless he has a bad spring, I'm confident Leake will be a regular starter.

Will M
02-01-2011, 02:39 PM
I would think the battle is more between Bailey and Leake, with Wood being penciled in already.

i agree with this assessment.

i suspect Leake will go to AAA. this is fine. depth is good & injuries do happen. an added plus: right now Leake has 1.0 years of service time. if he spends part of 2011 in AAA the Reds will control him through 2016 instead of just through 2015.

mdccclxix
02-01-2011, 02:53 PM
Who needs more starts in AAA, Leake or Wood?

I'd say Leake.

Either way, I can't wait to see what happens.

membengal
02-01-2011, 02:56 PM
Kc...in place of who? I doubt they are cutting bait on bailey (nor should they) and doubt bailey is bullpen bound. As between wood and leake, for me, it's gotta be wood. Leake to AAA for some seasoning and to build on last year until the inevitable injury happens to one of the cincy starting rotation seems likely to me.

dougdirt
02-01-2011, 03:03 PM
Reds pitchers who have thrown at least 185 innings in a full season: Arroyo, Cueto, Volquez, Bailey, Wood and Maloney.Leake isn't there and that is one of the reasons he finds himself in AAA this year. That and he just isn't as good of an option as the first five guys on that list.

TRF
02-01-2011, 03:07 PM
Reds pitchers who have thrown at least 185 innings in a full season: Arroyo, Cueto, Volquez, Bailey, Wood and Maloney.Leake isn't there and that is one of the reasons he finds himself in AAA this year. That and he just isn't as good of an option as the first five guys on that list.

man i hate agreeing with doug, but this was pretty spot on.

and really, while he did have a good May, the rest of the time he was on the mound was pretty brutal. And no, he didn't hit a wall in June. He just hit a lot of bats being swung very hard.

Kc61
02-01-2011, 03:13 PM
Kc...in place of who? I doubt they are cutting bait on bailey (nor should they) and doubt bailey is bullpen bound. As between wood and leake, for me, it's gotta be wood. Leake to AAA for some seasoning and to build on last year until the inevitable injury happens to one of the cincy starting rotation seems likely to me.


My guess is Bailey goes to the pen.

Of course, this is just a guess, but I think the Reds are enamored with Leake and see him as a Maddox type young pitcher who just hit a wall last year.

If he has a decent spring, I think they keep him in the rotation and move Homer to the pen.

Just reading between the lines of some comments and my sense of the Reds' view of Leake last year. Not saying I would go this route, just a sense Reds love Mike L.

Scrap Irony
02-01-2011, 03:14 PM
Lot of people going to be disappointed when Leake makes the rotation. Just don't see the Reds moving him back to AAA or bullpen.

Unless he has a bad spring, I'm confident Leake will be a regular starter.

Want to make a sig bet on this, kc?

I'm not saying he's a lock to get his ticket punched for Louisville, but he'd have to not only outperform Bailey or Wood by a bunch, they'd have to be dealt (either), get hurt (either), or fall flat on their faces (Wood only).

Assuming health:

Bailey is in the rotation, pretty much no matter what. Volquez, too. Cueto and Arroyo are mortal locks.

The only question is another Arroyo or a LH who pretty much dominated last year.

I(heart)Freel
02-01-2011, 03:29 PM
If Bailey doesn't outpitch Leake and Wood in spring training, he'll begin his new life as a bullpen long man. Which isn't the worst idea in the world.

fearofpopvol1
02-01-2011, 03:30 PM
I may be in the minority, but I'm more comfortable today, 2/1/11, with Leake in the rotation than Volquez. It's not that I think Leake is more talented, it's that Volquez kind of scares me on the mound right now.

mdccclxix
02-01-2011, 03:46 PM
I may be in the minority, but I'm more comfortable today, 2/1/11, with Leake in the rotation than Volquez. It's not that I think Leake is more talented, it's that Volquez kind of scares me on the mound right now.

I know what you mean. A phantom injury / AAA stint is eminently possible. I still feel the thrill that he can be untouchable though, which makes for an odd, anxious feeling overall.

membengal
02-01-2011, 04:03 PM
Kc...I think they like leake a lot too, which is why I think AAA for him. Best place to help him finalize development after tasting success and failure last year. My stating that is in no manner minimizing his accomplishments w/ the team last year. Reds don't win division w/out him.

Caveat Emperor
02-01-2011, 04:05 PM
If Bailey doesn't outpitch Leake and Wood in spring training, he'll begin his new life as a bullpen long man. Which isn't the worst idea in the world.

Bailey is a lock for the rotation out of spring. Not saying he keeps his rotation spot all year if he struggles, but I don't think he goes to the bullpen if he has a rough spring.

Scrap Irony
02-01-2011, 04:07 PM
If Bailey doesn't outpitch Leake and Wood in spring training, he'll begin his new life as a bullpen long man. Which isn't the worst idea in the world.

Disagree. Three reasons:

1) Physically, as has been stated numerous times on the board, Bailey takes a long time to warm up. Relievers have to get warm quickly. That's just asking for an injury.
2) A bullpen demotion would kill his trade value. And, if Bailey truly isn't in the plans, make no mistake, he's trade fodder.
3) Spring Training numbers mean next to nothing, especially for starters who've "proven" they belong in the major leagues. (Say what you will about Bailey, he's at least proven that much.) Working on a new pitch, the thin air of Arizona, a dead arm brought about by a new technique or just one bad day-- there are just too many variables.

If Bailey does struggle and both Wood and Leake shine... If Jocketty likes the futures of Leake and Wood more than the future of Bailey... If Bailey struggles to find any consistency, takes a step back in stuff, and had attitude problems... If no one would even want him because of all this soap opera crap... maybe Jocketty would DL him.

Maybe.

TheNext44
02-01-2011, 05:14 PM
I would trade Bailey. He's going to be expensive next year and still has good trade value. Plus I don't see him ever putting it all together for a full season.

IslandRed
02-01-2011, 05:35 PM
I think Leake will be an effective ML starter for a long time. He's obviously not a Cy Young candidate (not saying anyone is claiming that), but he's got talent.

Yep.

Not saying this is all an exact science, but a guy doesn't hang up a 1-something ERA in the Pac-10, get taken #8 overall, skip the minor leagues and pitch competently in the majors unless he has some serious ability. He's not going to be Greg Maddux and he's probably not the phenom skipping the minors would imply, but I don't get the counter-notion that he's some sort of fringe guy either.

With a little more pro seasoning -- I would not object to his logging some AAA innings -- his command, movement and repertoire will play nicely for quite some time.

kaldaniels
02-01-2011, 06:20 PM
Baileys not gonna be expensive in 2012, FYI.

TheNext44
02-01-2011, 08:13 PM
Baileys not gonna be expensive in 2012, FYI.

First year of arbitration, I believe. I guess it depends on what you mean by expensive.

kaldaniels
02-01-2011, 08:18 PM
First year of arbitration, I believe. I guess it depends on what you mean by expensive.

That's true, expensive is a relative term. Up to this point I think he'd be lucky to get 3 MM, very lucky. He has yet to put a solid season together...and I'm not down on him...i just don't see him commanding much at all in 2012.

kaldaniels
02-01-2011, 08:31 PM
nm

camisadelgolf
02-01-2011, 09:07 PM
That's true, expensive is a relative term. Up to this point I think he'd be lucky to get 3 MM, very lucky. He has yet to put a solid season together...and I'm not down on him...i just don't see him commanding much at all in 2012.
Volquez had an all-star appearance under his belt for his first year of arbitration and couldn't even get $2MM. I'd be very surprised if Bailey got more than that.

OnBaseMachine
02-01-2011, 09:17 PM
I think Edinson Volquez will be the Reds best starting pitcher this season. I really think he's going to have a great season, similar to his 2008 season. I thought his stuff post Tommy John Surgery was even better than pre-TJ surgery. His changeup and fastball have always been plus pitches, but his curveball was above average to plus after the surgery whereas it was an average at best pitch before. He'll be close to 20 months removed from surgery come April, so his control should start returning to where it was before...which wasn't great but it wasn't as bad as he showed at times last season. I'm projecting close to 200 innings out of Volquez with an ERA in the 3.25-3.60 area and 200+ K's with a BB/9 around 4.0.

With his stuff, he can get by with a BB/9 around 4. I love his talent...if he can ever cut that walk rate down to around 3.0 or 3.2 he could be one of the top 5-7 pitchers in all of baseball, IMO. His stuff is that good.

kaldaniels
02-01-2011, 09:17 PM
Volquez had an all-star appearance under his belt for his first year of arbitration and couldn't even get $2MM. I'd be very surprised if Bailey got more than that.

Absolutely. I was erring on the side of caution. Point being, I would not let Bailey's 2012 salary affect my decision for this years rotation in the slightest.

PuffyPig
02-01-2011, 10:51 PM
If Bailey doesn't outpitch Leake and Wood in spring training, he'll begin his new life as a bullpen long man. Which isn't the worst idea in the world.


Bailey wouls have to be absolutely putrid to not get a chance in the roation.

There is no real spot in the bullpen for him, and since he's out of options, he'll get every chance.

Plus he has as much upside as any pitcher on the team not named Chapman.

TheNext44
02-01-2011, 11:03 PM
Absolutely. I was erring on the side of caution. Point being, I would not let Bailey's 2012 salary affect my decision for this years rotation in the slightest.

Why shouldn't it? The Reds have three young starters with very similar projections for the future, with two slots available. I would use every distinction between them to help me decide what to do with all of them. It's even more important to look at the future considering that Chapman likely joins them in 2012. Barring injury, at least one of has to go in the next year.

Homer will be making the most money the quickest between all of them, and he is the closest to free agency. That's a good reason to consider trading him.

kaldaniels
02-02-2011, 12:15 AM
Why shouldn't it? The Reds have three young starters with very similar projections for the future, with two slots available. I would use every distinction between them to help me decide what to do with all of them. It's even more important to look at the future considering that Chapman likely joins them in 2012. Barring injury, at least one of has to go in the next year.

Homer will be making the most money the quickest between all of them, and he is the closest to free agency. That's a good reason to consider trading him.

Why shouldn't it? Simple. I don't let 1-2 Million in payroll in 2012 stop me from putting forth my top 5 guys in the rotation for 2011.

Now you have put forth the opinion that you don't think Homer will put it all together...I can understand that. But I don't see how you let his 2012 salary dictate what the Reds do this year.

Now I have to ask since you brought it up...Bailey and Leake have similar projections? I don't see that myself.

WVRedsFan
02-02-2011, 12:35 AM
I will be certainly chastised, demonized, and laughed at for this, but here goes. And it has nothing to do with the length of his hair or his flat hat or any other excuse to show I'm an idiot and malcontent. I firmly believe that before the season is over, we'll see both Wood and Leake in the rotation and Edinson an afterthought. It's not that he doesn't have the talent, because he surely does, but I see a stuggle for him next year. Maybe it's the healing process from his surgery (I thought he came back a little early) or it's the maturity factor, but I do not expect him to come out gangbusters like many do.

Now, I would be thrilled if he does what everyone wants him to do. I'd rejoice and be happy, but this old brain just doesn't see it in 2011. Maybe in 2012, but I saw enough of him last year, in the little time he pitched, to see that he is struggling a little. Maybe he'll get it together in ST and go on from there, which is preferable, but I have my doubts. That's all. It's best for this club if he does, so I root for him, but if not, I have a feeling that Leake and Wood are going to be the guys that we'll be glad are with us. If not, then we need to make a deal that is advantageous to us.

TheNext44
02-02-2011, 03:24 AM
Why shouldn't it? Simple. I don't let 1-2 Million in payroll in 2012 stop me from putting forth my top 5 guys in the rotation for 2011.

Now you have put forth the opinion that you don't think Homer will put it all together...I can understand that. But I don't see how you let his 2012 salary dictate what the Reds do this year.

Now I have to ask since you brought it up...Bailey and Leake have similar projections? I don't see that myself.

The Reds are, barring major injury, going to have move someone in the next year. It's not just about putting the best five pitchers in the rotation.

Concerning Bailey and Leake, one has a better arm, one is smarter and more mature. Odds are about the same in my book that.either one becomes an above average starter.

Ron Madden
02-02-2011, 04:04 AM
Lot of people going to be disappointed when Leake makes the rotation. Just don't see the Reds moving him back to AAA or bullpen.

Unless he has a bad spring, I'm confident Leake will be a regular starter.

I'd be thrilled if Leake earns a spot in the rotation. I just happen to believe Travis Wood and Homer Bailey have better stuff than Mike Leake does right now.

Doesn't mean I don't like Leake.

bucksfan2
02-02-2011, 08:34 AM
I will be certainly chastised, demonized, and laughed at for this, but here goes. And it has nothing to do with the length of his hair or his flat hat or any other excuse to show I'm an idiot and malcontent. I firmly believe that before the season is over, we'll see both Wood and Leake in the rotation and Edinson an afterthought. It's not that he doesn't have the talent, because he surely does, but I see a stuggle for him next year. Maybe it's the healing process from his surgery (I thought he came back a little early) or it's the maturity factor, but I do not expect him to come out gangbusters like many do.

Now, I would be thrilled if he does what everyone wants him to do. I'd rejoice and be happy, but this old brain just doesn't see it in 2011. Maybe in 2012, but I saw enough of him last year, in the little time he pitched, to see that he is struggling a little. Maybe he'll get it together in ST and go on from there, which is preferable, but I have my doubts. That's all. It's best for this club if he does, so I root for him, but if not, I have a feeling that Leake and Wood are going to be the guys that we'll be glad are with us. If not, then we need to make a deal that is advantageous to us.

I really can't disagree with anything you said here. If I had to do a confidence ranking on the Reds pitchers Edinson would finish dead last. He may go and light the world on fire next season or he may go and get lit up. My pitcher rankings would be

Arroyo
Cueto
Wood
Bailey
Leake
Volquez

edabbs44
02-02-2011, 08:55 AM
I think Edinson Volquez will be the Reds best starting pitcher this season. I really think he's going to have a great season, similar to his 2008 season. I thought his stuff post Tommy John Surgery was even better than pre-TJ surgery. His changeup and fastball have always been plus pitches, but his curveball was above average to plus after the surgery whereas it was an average at best pitch before. He'll be close to 20 months removed from surgery come April, so his control should start returning to where it was before...which wasn't great but it wasn't as bad as he showed at times last season. I'm projecting close to 200 innings out of Volquez with an ERA in the 3.25-3.60 area and 200+ K's with a BB/9 around 4.0.

With his stuff, he can get by with a BB/9 around 4. I love his talent...if he can ever cut that walk rate down to around 3.0 or 3.2 he could be one of the top 5-7 pitchers in all of baseball, IMO. His stuff is that good.

I have a feeling that you will be somewhat disappointed. I hope I am wrong, but I have nowhere near the level of confidence that you have. He has talent but he just seems like he'll be a guy that frustrates us as long as he is on the team.

Now I'm not saying that he'll be a flop, he could easily be an asset either way. But I just don't see him as a guy who will put it all together any time soon.

REDREAD
02-02-2011, 09:49 AM
First year of arbitration, I believe. I guess it depends on what you mean by expensive.

Yep, unless Bailey takes a huge step forward, he's not going to be making much money in 2012.. Bray is a pretty good comp.. Bray had enough time to go to arb, but only ended up with around 600k, because his resume is kind of thin now.

Maybe I am in the minority, but I feel that the Reds will go with what they feels gives them the best chance of winning. IMO, the battle for the last spot in the rotation is probably between Leake and Homer. Homer might have a slight advantage with being out of options, but he needs to win that spot.
As others said, the Reds might play a game and start Volquez on the DL or something like that as well.

Ghosts of 1990
02-02-2011, 09:58 AM
Assuming health, Bailey is a lock for the rotation. Out of options, not a good relief option, he'll be in the rotation.

It is indeed a battle between Leake and Wood.

While I hope you are right about his future being in the role of starting pitcher, why is Bailey a poor relief option?

I have heard some scouts say that if the Reds made Bailey a closer-type he has the potential to be dominant. He has the stuff and when a guy has the stuff you ride the stuff.

Again, I like him better as a starter and I like the flashes we've seen from him. I like him a lot better than Leake. But when I was at the playoff game 3 when Bailey was used in two innings of relief he was dominant out of the pen. It just felt and looked like it could eventually work. I wouldn't rule him out being in the pen.

IslandRed
02-02-2011, 10:43 AM
The Reds are, barring major injury, going to have move someone in the next year. It's not just about putting the best five pitchers in the rotation.

It's not a problem that has to be solved now. The Reds, like most every team most every year, will probably need more than five starters to get through the season. With Volquez/Wood/Bailey/Leake, there's just enough doubt in each of them that it doesn't make sense -- today -- to say, if we move one the other three are rock-solid. I don't see any harm in letting this season play out. If we get to next offseason and we still have six good pitchers + Chapman, then okay, it'll be time to do something about the logjam. But like the other guys said, I don't see where that has to affect how the 2011 team is constructed.

OnBaseMachine
02-02-2011, 12:36 PM
Homer Bailey's peripherals last season were very good and point to a potential breakout this season. 8.26 K/9, 3.20 BB/9, .315 BABIP against. His K-rate was strong and his walk rate was more than acceptable. I'm personally not a big fan of using FIP, but I see people using it, mostly to point out when a Reds pitcher has outperformed their FIP but I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere that Bailey actually underperformed his FIP by quite a bit last season. His actual ERA was 4.46 while his FIP was 3.74.

I look at Bailey's K/9 and BB/9 and see a guy who is improving each year. Take a look at his K/9 and BB/9 since he entered the major leagues in 2007:

2007: 45.1 IP, 5.56 K/9, 5.56 BB/9
2008: 36.1 IP, 4.46 K/9, 4.21 BB/9
2009: 113.1 IP, 6.83 K/9, 4.13 BB/9
2010: 109 IP, 8.26 K/9, 3.30 BB/9

His K/9 continues to rise while his BB/9 is decreasing. That's a very good sign. If he stays healthy, I think he's going to finally put it together this season. It may seem like he's been around forever but he's still only 24 years old (turns 25 in May). I think Bailey could give the Reds 175-200 innings this season with an ERA around 3.50 and a K/9 around 8.0.