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membengal
03-24-2012, 07:37 PM
Let's focus this.

I have long, LONG been a solid Homer Bailey proponent on these boards, kept advocating based on his peripherals and youth that with time and a little injury luck, he would turn the corner and be solid.

Lit up, again, today. Again. I know its the spring, but there are really no indications he has turned any corner, other than to find yet another corner for him to turn.

My patience, at least, has run thin.

Meanwhile, over in the split squad game against SD, Chapman with 5 innings of shutout ball, 5 Ks to 1 BB. A continuation of what has been a nice spring for him.

I hate, HATE the idea of Chapman in the pen. Given how much they have invested in him, I am with those that want him to start. I have been advocating for that to be in AAA, but maybe the light is on for him. The anecdotal talk from fans and pro observers is that his delivery has been much tighter this spring and the control better as a result. Is it true? Got me. And its a small sample size, but, hard not to be intrigued.

I don't want the Madson issue to derail the Reds here.

I am now firmly on board Chapman to the 5th spot, and Homer to...I guess the pen. Or dealt. Or wherever. But I think its time to turn that page from him having a spot in the rotation.

I go with Chapman.

membengal
03-24-2012, 07:52 PM
I guess Jeff Francis is a viable option in the conversation too, but not one I would be happy with.

dougdirt
03-24-2012, 11:04 PM
Spring. Training. Stats. Do. Not. Matter.

Aroldis Chapman hasn't throw a change up this spring. That matters.
Aroldis Chapman has thrown a pitch in the 7th inning as a starter during one game since becoming a professional. That matters.

He needs to be starting, but it shouldn't be with the Reds. At least not in April. He needs to show he can go 7 innings (something Bailey did 45% of the time he took the mound in 2011). He needs to show he can actually throw a third pitch against hitters. The Reds would be foolish to hand a job to someone because of what is likely to be 17 innings for Chapman this spring (He has 12 now, I assume he gets one more start this spring and 5 innings).

Hey, maybe I am crazy. But I will take Homer Bailey and his up and downs in his last few seasons over Chapman right now. I feel that a lot of the time, Homer Bailey is going to keep me in the game and not burn my bullpen. I don't feel that way about Chapman because well, he has never shown that ability in his life at any level.

757690
03-25-2012, 12:01 AM
Spring. Training. Stats. Do. Not. Matter.

Aroldis Chapman hasn't throw a change up this spring. That matters.
Aroldis Chapman has thrown a pitch in the 7th inning as a starter during one game since becoming a professional. That matters.

He needs to be starting, but it shouldn't be with the Reds. At least not in April. He needs to show he can go 7 innings (something Bailey did 45% of the time he took the mound in 2011). He needs to show he can actually throw a third pitch against hitters. The Reds would be foolish to hand a job to someone because of what is likely to be 17 innings for Chapman this spring (He has 12 now, I assume he gets one more start this spring and 5 innings).

Hey, maybe I am crazy. But I will take Homer Bailey and his up and downs in his last few seasons over Chapman right now. I feel that a lot of the time, Homer Bailey is going to keep me in the game and not burn my bullpen. I don't feel that way about Chapman because well, he has never shown that ability in his life at any level.

I agree about Chapman, but I'd rather have Francis than Bailey as the fifth starter.

Today's game was quintessential Bailey. He got into trouble early with runners in second and third with no one out, K'd the next batter, got a sac fly and had the pitcher up. He gave up a single to the pitcher, then a two run homer to the leadoff hitter.

I don't care how great his K/BB rate is, as long as he keeps melting down like that game after a game, I don't want him in the Reds rotation.

Francis has pitched fine this spring, and looks like he's refound his previous form. I'll take his experience, knowledge and his soft stuff over Bailey's hard headedness and hard stuff anyday.

RedlegJake
03-25-2012, 12:06 AM
I agree with Doug.

dougdirt
03-25-2012, 12:49 AM
I don't care how great his K/BB rate is, as long as he keeps melting down like that game after a game, I don't want him in the Reds rotation.


I don't want him to be in there either if he does that game after game. But of course, he doesn't. In 2011, Bailey had an ERA under 4 in May, August, September and October. He really struggled in July, which was actually just one game where he gave up 9 runs in 4 innings on the last day of July. So outside of one game, he threw 128 innings with a 3.94 ERA. That isn't a guy who just melts down game after game after game.

RedsManRick
03-25-2012, 01:08 AM
I don't want him to be in there either if he does that game after game. But of course, he doesn't. In 2011, Bailey had an ERA under 4 in May, August, September and October. He really struggled in July, which was actually just one game where he gave up 9 runs in 4 innings on the last day of July. So outside of one game, he threw 128 innings with a 3.94 ERA. That isn't a guy who just melts down game after game after game.

Confirmation bias is a powerful force.

dougdirt
03-25-2012, 01:16 AM
Confirmation bias is a powerful force.

It sure is. Yet if Bailey were continuously in and out of it, he wouldn't have been nearly as good as he was over the course of the season.

Don't get me wrong, I think Bailey has his issues where he loses it mentally. But it isn't every other game or close to it.

mth123
03-25-2012, 01:16 AM
I agree with Doug.

Me too.

RedsManRick
03-25-2012, 01:28 AM
It sure is. Yet if Bailey were continuously in and out of it, he wouldn't have been nearly as good as he was over the course of the season.

Don't get me wrong, I think Bailey has his issues where he loses it mentally. But it isn't every other game or close to it.

Of course, this was the same story about Cueto too. I think people just forget that a 4.20 ERA isn't 3 or 4 runs in 6 or 7 innings. If you aren't an elite pitcher, you fall apart from time to time. That's just how it works. If you have a narrative of a head case, people attribute those times to that and remember it. If you don't, well, stuff happens to everybody from time to time.

757690
03-25-2012, 01:45 AM
Confirmation bias is a powerful force.

So are facts.

Bailey gave up 3 runs or more in a single inning in 9 of his 22 starts last season.

Mike Leake did it 5 times in 28 starts, and even Arroyo in his terrible year last year did it 10 times in 32 starts.

Cueto allowed 3 or more runs in a game only 8 times last season in 24 starts. He allowed 3 or more runs in an inning 3 times.

No bias here, just remembering all the times it happened, because it happened all the time, much more often than with any other pitcher.

Nasty_Boy
03-25-2012, 01:52 AM
Long night for this guy with the Buckeyes game and all... But I'm with Doug on this one. I'm a Homer believer and I really feel that he is close to be a very good pitcher!

757690
03-25-2012, 01:56 AM
Long night for this guy with the Buckeyes game and all... But I'm with Doug on this one. I'm a Homer believer and I really feel that he is close to be a very good pitcher!

I too believe Homer is close to being a very good pitcher. Only this ain't horsehoes ;)

Captain Hook
03-25-2012, 01:57 AM
Homer's the man. He'll be nails this year.

dougdirt
03-25-2012, 02:00 AM
I too believe Homer is close to being a very good pitcher. Only this ain't horsehoes ;)

Of course Bailey was also better than Francis last season too, minus the amount of innings thrown.

Nasty_Boy
03-25-2012, 02:09 AM
Very true... This is were I wish this is the NFL! Homer and Chapman make the rotation and Bronson gets let go. Honestly though, there's a ton of tough decisions and different ways to go... But there is a ton of risk involved with these choices! I'm not ready to give up on Homer because I believe he's on the brink of making it big. With Madson's injury the Reds have more room to play with these guys, but the best arms should go north.

Kc61
03-25-2012, 02:21 AM
Around now you'd have to believe the Reds are getting antsy about Homer Bailey. He is either injured or ineffective most of the time. The team wants to win, he has no options, it's hard to see the Reds trotting Homer out there every fifth day.

Chapman is far from a polished pitcher, but his upside is so high that I think the Reds will give him chance after chance.

But it might serve Homer well to have a good outing next time. It migth serve him well to miss some bats, which he is supposed to be able to do.

Everyone is rooting for the guy, but patience must be wearing thin.

WebScorpion
03-25-2012, 03:36 AM
I think people get too worked up about Spring Training performances and stats. Votto sits and watches a lot of pitches that he'd normally hit and strikes out instead just to work on his pitch recognition. Some pitchers are having trouble spotting a certain pitch, so they'll go out and throw that pitch 3 or 4 times more often than they normally would just to get the feel of it and they're getting clobbered. It doesn't matter. THESE GAMES DON'T COUNT! I don't think Homer is pitching for his spot...he's been told he has a spot and he's just working on all his pitches, trying to strengthen his arm, and getting used to pitching every fifth day again. I wouldn't start worrying until the games count.
As for Aroldis, he's got so much learning to do it can't be done in Spring Training. Like dd pointed out, he doesn't even THROW his third pitch yet. He must still be working on it in bullpen sessions...he NEEDS to be in AAA where he can pitch a lot and make a lot of mistakes without hurting the big league team. You don't learn much by throwing your fastball every pitch whether they hit it or not. Relax. ;)

reds44
03-25-2012, 05:18 AM
I'm with Chapman.

mth123
03-25-2012, 08:57 AM
Chapman pitched 5 innings for the first time yesterday. Bailey is out of options and seemed to earn a spot toward the end of last year. I think Chapman needs to start regularly and get into the 6th or 7th inning routinely before he's ready for the big league rotation. The Reds don't have to cast Bailey aside by opening day. I'd give him a few starts and see what happens. Meanwhile, Chapman goes down and starts at AAA to refine his assortment and show how his stuff holds up through 7 innings. If Bailey is stinking up the joint, Chapman can be called up. I really think Chapman's injury in Winter Ball that prevented him from getting multiple starts with 6 or 7 innings under his belt really makes it difficult to go to him at the beginning of the season no matter how he has looked.

Keeping Chapman in the rotation in AAA gives the Reds the option of seeing how the pen plays out w/o Madson and how the rotation works out as well. As long as they keep him stretched out, he could be available for either role. I'd wait and see how things go before making a decision that may end up leaving the team short elsewhere. The Reds have 5 starters and a deep pen w/o Aroldis. I'd stick to the plan to convert and develop him. Opening Day is not a hard deadline to decide anything about what to do with Aroldis.

Kc61
03-25-2012, 10:01 AM
The Reds have 5 starters and a deep pen w/o Aroldis. I'd stick to the plan to convert and develop him. Opening Day is not a hard deadline to decide anything about what to do with Aroldis.

Here's where we disagree. I find no comfort in the fact that the Reds have five starters. I think Bailey and Arroyo are long shots to be successful this year.

I felt a little better about it before Homer had this miserable spring and when the bullpen appeared top notch.

Now Bailey has been terrible and the closer is out for the season.

If you send Chapman down it may be optimal for his development. But I think it leaves the major league Reds short on good pitching.

I wouldn't take that gamble. No big deal if Chapman is at AAA for a few weeks, but beyond that, I think the Reds will be making it harder to win this year. Chapman is still a higly effective pitcher, flaws and all. It would take a superior major league staff, which the Reds don't have, for me to keep him away.

membengal
03-25-2012, 10:17 AM
I am also past the point of giving Bailey a few starts up north to see if he "works it out". If the Reds are okay with that, that's fine, but it would be an area where I disagree with them.

dougdirt
03-25-2012, 10:59 AM
I am also past the point of giving Bailey a few starts up north to see if he "works it out". If the Reds are okay with that, that's fine, but it would be an area where I disagree with them.

So because of how Homer has done in practice, you think he doesn't deserve a chance?

membengal
03-25-2012, 11:05 AM
Doug, come on now. Be real. His track record is much longer than this spring, but it is because of that track record that there is a much brighter spotlight on his spring starts this year. Quite simply, he hasn't earned the veteran "its just spring" pass. I wish he would have, by now, and frankly, I expected him to have long since established himself as a written in stone part of the rotation. But between in the injuries and his very uneven performances - not just game to game but inning to inning within games - over the past several years, he was one who came into spring needing to be pretty okay. And he hasn't been close to pretty okay.

Some spring performances are more important than others. Votto could go 0 for 50 and no one would care. But Homer does NOT have that same kind of leash. Or should not.

cincrazy
03-25-2012, 11:23 AM
Doug, come on now. Be real. His track record is much longer than this spring, but it is because of that track record that there is a much brighter spotlight on his spring starts this year. Quite simply, he hasn't earned the veteran "its just spring" pass. I wish he would have, by now, and frankly, I expected him to have long since established himself as a written in stone part of the rotation. But between in the injuries and his very uneven performances - not just game to game but inning to inning within games - over the past several years, he was one who came into spring needing to be pretty okay. And he hasn't been close to pretty okay.

Some spring performances are more important than others. Votto could go 0 for 50 and no one would care. But Homer does NOT have that same kind of leash. Or should not.

Homer was pretty solid last year. It's not like he was trash. I put very little into spring training stats in Arizona. I feel like Homer's proven enough to earn a rotation spot. Now has he proven enough where he can get beaten around for the first month or two of the season and still keep his spot? No. But I don't feel like a bad spring should be enough to remove him from the equation.

membengal
03-25-2012, 11:27 AM
I respect your viewpoint, cincrazy, and Doug's as well, but respectfully disagree. I don't think 130 innings with an ERA in the mid 4s as a career best is enough to have "locked" Homer into a rotation spot if he continues a very bad spring.

We would approach this differently.

It will be interesting to see how the Reds approach it.

Kc61
03-25-2012, 11:42 AM
So because of how Homer has done in practice, you think he doesn't deserve a chance?

This crystallizes the difference. Some posters are focused on giving Reds farmhands a "chance."

For this next year or two, with Latos and Marshall and Votto and, this year, Phillips, I want to see the best talent possibe on the major league team.

Sadly, Bailey and Arroyo no longer appear to be starting pitchers with top level ability. I think having the two of them in the rotation is a problem. I'd rather not give them a "chance."

I'll take Chapman, even as an underdeveloped starting pitcher.

But again, as others have said, we'll know soon enough.

Vottomatic
03-25-2012, 12:19 PM
Is this 2008 or 2009? Or 2010 or 2011? Seems like the same things were said about Bailey then.

Oh yeah.........this is the year Bailey finally puts it together. Or is it next year? I'm confused.

mth123
03-25-2012, 01:03 PM
This crystallizes the difference. Some posters are focused on giving Reds farmhands a "chance."

For this next year or two, with Latos and Marshall and Votto and, this year, Phillips, I want to see the best talent possibe on the major league team.

Sadly, Bailey and Arroyo no longer appear to be starting pitchers with top level ability. I think having the two of them in the rotation is a problem. I'd rather not give them a "chance."

I'll take Chapman, even as an underdeveloped starting pitcher.

But again, as others have said, we'll know soon enough.

I guess the major difference is that I think Chapman was a lousey starter in AAA and hasn't really gone more than a couple of innings successfully in a major league game. I'd need to see him pitch into the 6th inning (and pitch well) for a month or two before I'd call him a better bet than Arroyo or Bailey. Long term? Sure. Right now? Not really unless those guys are hurt.

757690
03-25-2012, 01:29 PM
Spring training stats aren't that important, but spring training performances are.

The actual stats gets skewed by small sample size, uneven quality of opposition, pitching in Az, the quality of the fields, etc....

However, it doesn't mean that we can't learn very valuable information from how a player performs in spring training that can help us decide on who should make the MLB 25 man roster, and where that player belongs on tne roster.

Dave Sappelt last spring is a great example. He had bright shiney stats, but when you saw him play, it was clear he had very limited fundamental baseball skills and knowledge. His performance in spring signled that he wasn't ready for the majors.

With Homer this spring, it's easy to ignore the high ERA, but it's harder to ignore the mental mistakes he keeps making, especially when they are the same mental mistakes that he has made his whole career. If he had a high ERA, but it was based on fluke hits, the hard Az ground, poor defense, or getting hit hard by true sluggers, I'd be fine with it. But that hasn't been the case. He's been the same inconsistent, buckle under pressure Homer he has always been.

I would love it if Homer turned the corner and became a decent #3-4 starter, but the evidence this spring says he hasn't.

RedsManRick
03-25-2012, 01:32 PM
Sadly, Bailey and Arroyo no longer appear to be starting pitchers with top level ability.

Firstly, Arroyo never had "top level ability." He's always had back of the rotation stuff and enough guile and durability to be a #3 guy. Secondly, Bronson is 35 years old and throws 86-87 mph when he really cranks it up. He always lived on a knife's edge. That he's fallen off it in his mid 30's is hardly a surprise.

By contrast, Bailey is just shy of 26 and sits 92-93. He's got much better stuff than Arroyo. No, hasn't been consistent with it -- and yes, he's had durability issues. But lumping these guys together is plain silly.

Let's just look at how they performed last year:



Rank among 126 starters with 130+ innings in 2011:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA FIP xFIP
Bailey 51 30 109 88 76 56
Arroyo 114 18 126 116 126 115

The 26 year old with a pedigree who hasn't lived up to the hype but has made strides was solid average. The 35 year old junk-baller with AAA velocity was among the worst in baseball.

I don't care what's happened this spring. Even if we believed that 15-20 innings of ST stats meant something, these guys don't belong in the same conversation. In fact, they almost belong in the exact opposite conversation. Arroyo is kind of guy who you cut bait on when he loses it. Bailey is the kind of guy you stick with.

Just pretend these guys are on somebody else's team and let's ignore salary for a minute (since those are sunk costs anyway). You wouldn't want anywhere near Arroyo. You'd be wanting to buy low on Bailey.

I think Bailey got himself a narrative as a headcase early on and because his ERA hasn't improved with his peripherals, it's easiest to stick to the narrative that he just doesn't have it, hasn't made progress and never will. Now, there are legitimate reasons to be wary of Bailey, his health history chief among them. But the focus on ERA as predictive of future performance supported by a narrative around his being a head case just doesn't compute.

He doesn't leave fewer guys on base than average. His HR rate is elevated a bit, like you'd expect in GABP, but that's actually new in 2011. In terms of him blowing up, he only allowed 5+ runs 3 times last year. Mike Leake had 4. Johnny Cueto had 2. Arroyo had 10. One of these things is not like the other...

Bailey may or may not ever be the guy we all hoped he would be when he first came up. But acting like he's junk just doesn't make sense.

As for Jeff Francis, he's basically a LH Arroyo with groundball tendencies instead of flyball ones. You could make a case he's better than Arroyo, but not Bailey.

RedsManRick
03-25-2012, 01:34 PM
With Homer this spring, it's easy to ignore the high ERA, but it's harder to ignore the mental mistakes he keeps making, especially when they are the same mental mistakes that he has made his whole career. If he had a high ERA, but it was based on fluke hits, the hard Az ground, poor defense, or getting hit hard by true sluggers, I'd be fine with it. But that hasn't been the case. He's been the same inconsistent, buckle under pressure Homer he has always been.

I'd really like to see a guy with an ERA between 4.00 and 4.50 who's consistent and really solid under pressure. I'm curious what that looks like in comparison to Bailey.

Kc61
03-25-2012, 01:44 PM
Firstly, Arroyo never had "top level ability." He's always had back of the rotation stuff and enough guile and durability to be a #3 guy. Secondly, Bronson is 35 years old and throws 86-87 mph when he really cranks it up. He always lived on a knife's edge. That he's fallen off it in his mid 30's is hardly a surprise.

By contrast, Bailey is just shy of 26 and sits 92-93. He's got much better stuff than Arroyo. No, hasn't been consistent with it -- and yes, he's had durability issues. But lumping these guys together is plain silly.

Let's just look at how they performed last year:



Rank among 126 starters with 130+ innings in 2011:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA FIP xFIP
Bailey 51 30 109 88 76 56
Arroyo 114 18 126 116 126 115

The 26 year old with a pedigree who hasn't lived up to the hype but has made strides was solid average. The 35 year old junk-baller with AAA velocity was among the worst in baseball.

I don't care what's happened this spring. Even if we believed that 15-20 innings of ST stats meant something, these guys don't belong in the same conversation. In fact, they almost belong in the exact opposite conversation. Arroyo is kind of guy who you cut bait on when he loses it. Bailey is the kind of guy you stick with.

Just pretend these guys are on somebody else's team and let's ignore salary for a minute (since those are sunk costs anyway). You wouldn't want anywhere near Arroyo. You'd be wanting to buy low on Bailey.

I think Bailey got himself a narrative as a headcase early on and because his ERA hasn't improved with his peripherals, it's easiest to stick to the narrative that he just doesn't have it, hasn't made progress and never will. Now, there are legitimate reasons to be wary of Bailey, his health history chief among them. But the focus on ERA as predictive of future performance supported by a narrative around his being a head case just doesn't compute.

He doesn't leave fewer guys on base than average. His HR rate is elevated a bit, like you'd expect in GABP, but that's actually new in 2011. In terms of him blowing up, he only allowed 5+ runs 3 times last year. Mike Leake had 4. Johnny Cueto had 2. Arroyo had 10. One of these things is not like the other...

Bailey may or may not ever be the guy we all hoped he would be when he first came up. But acting like he's junk just doesn't make sense.

As for Jeff Francis, he's basically a LH Arroyo with groundball tendencies instead of flyball ones. You could make a case he's better than Arroyo, but not Bailey.

Mischaracterize away. I'm not "acting like he's junk." Nor am I comparing Bailey and Arroyo.

I'm saying that a potential pennant winning team shouldn't have two spots in the rotation that are long shots to succeed. The Reds do. Bailey and Arroyo.

The two are very different. But neither gives me any comfort level whatever going into this season.

BTW, anyone wondering if Bailey is healthy? His numbers this spring don't reflect a healthy pitcher of Bailey's usual quality.

mth123
03-25-2012, 01:59 PM
Mischaracterize away. I'm not "acting like he's junk." Nor am I comparing Bailey and Arroyo.

I'm saying that a potential pennant winning team shouldn't have two spots in the rotation that are long shots to succeed. The Reds do. Bailey and Arroyo.

The two are very different. But neither gives me any comfort level whatever going into this season.

But calling for a change to Chapman is assuming that the lottery ticket is going to be a winner. Until yesterday, Chapman had 4 outings of 3 innings or less, all with 5 days rest. We already knew he could come in for short stints a couple times per week. Yesterday, against the weakest offense in the league, with its probable numbers 2 and 3 hitters not with the team, was the first time he's given an indication that starting may work out

Its not about Bailey or Arroyo. Its about Chapman IMO and he needs multiple outings going through line-ups multiple times before I stick him in the major league rotation. It why this team should have strecthed him out last August when it was obvious the season was lost. If he'd gotten 6 or so starts at the end of last year, I'd say its more realistic for him to bump somebody. Now he needs to get those starts in AAA for a while IMO.

Kc61
03-25-2012, 02:07 PM
But calling for a change to Chapman is assuming that the lottery ticket is going to be a winner. Until yesterday, Chapman had 4 outings of 3 innings or less, all with 5 days rest. We already knew he could come in for short stints a couple times per week. Yesterday, against the weakest offense in the league, with its probable numbers 2 and 3 hitters not with the team, was the first time he's given an indication that starting may work out

Its not about Bailey or Arroyo. Its about Chapman IMO and he needs multiple outings going through line-ups multiple times before I stick him in the major league rotation. It why this team should have strecthed him out last August when it was obvious the season was lost. If he'd gotten 6 or so starts at the end of last year, I'd say its more realistic for him to bump somebody. Now he needs to get those starts in AAA for a while IMO.

Sometimes a fifth starter doesn't need to throw 200 innings or even 180 innings. A fifth starter can have his turn skipped when there are off days. He can usually pitch 6 innings and take a shower.

I know Chappy's situation isn't ideal. Still, if he is sufficiently "stretched" to go five or six innings, I think he can do so very effectively.

I don't see how it makes sense financially or strategically to "go for it" in 2012 and yet have one of your best arms in the minor leagues. Chapman is no novice, he's had time in the majors, the minors, before that in Cuba. He's not an experienced starter, but he's not a raw beginner either.

Ideal situation, no, surely. But right now I think the Reds need to favor the shorter term solution as opposed to the longer term solution.

RedsManRick
03-25-2012, 02:26 PM
Mischaracterize away. I'm not "acting like he's junk." Nor am I comparing Bailey and Arroyo.

I'm saying that a potential pennant winning team shouldn't have two spots in the rotation that are long shots to succeed. The Reds do. Bailey and Arroyo.

The two are very different. But neither gives me any comfort level whatever going into this season.

BTW, anyone wondering if Bailey is healthy? His numbers this spring don't reflect a healthy pitcher of Bailey's usual quality.

Really?

"Sadly, Bailey and Arroyo no longer appear to be starting pitchers with top level ability. I think having the two of them in the rotation is a problem. I'd rather not give them a "chance."

"neither gives me any comfort level whatever going into this season"

Those are not comparisons? Or at minimum an equivalencies? You're treat them as equals. If it's not technically a comparison, it is functionally one for all intents and purposes.

Maybe "junk" was an overstatement, but not much of one. And forgive me if I'm a little skeptical if the solution to the guy who can't stay healthy and give us enough innings is one who hasn't thrown 100 innings in the majors and who was injured himself last year (and didn't tell the coaching staff about it). But if he can go 5 innings a start, that's good enough for you? I just don't follow your logic; there's seems to be an awful lot of "grass is greener on the other side" going on.

I absolutely want Chapman in the rotation in the long run. But if your complaint about the guys he'd replace is that they aren't reliable... I don't see how he's the solution.

_Sir_Charles_
03-25-2012, 02:27 PM
In regards to Bronson, something to keep in mind with regards to spring stats, this is what he said about his last start....


Bronson Arroyo is trying to break in a new pitch — a one-seam sinker like Mike Leake throws. He’s having a little trouble taming it.

That led to the five walks Friday in the 5-2 loss to San Diego. Arroyo didn’t walk more than three in a start last year.

“It’s got great movement,” Arroyo said. “I’m having a hard time keeping it on the plate. It’s just moving so much. I’ve been tooling it with since last year really. It’s a different grip. It’s always moves — every time, which is great. But it moves a lot.

“I’m having a hard time telling myself to throw the ball to the middle of the plate and let it run to the outer half. I’m used to throwing it to the outer half and letting it move a little bit.”

Arroyo hopes to get the pitch down.

“I’m trying to make it my everyday sinker,” he said. “You know it will always move. My old sinker, some days, it’s great. Some days, it stays straight. This one always moves. But it moves so much it’s been hard for me to dial it in. That’s why I couldn’t get the ball over the plate.”

Arroyo was pleased with the way he felt Friday — despite allowing five runs on six hits in four innings.

“I felt strong,” he said. “My stuff was good, the way I wanted it to be. I was able to cut the ball consistently for the first time in a long time. It felt like a real ballgame. You don’t want to give up five runs in four innings no matter what. But I feel good about having two more starts here. I feel primed for the season.”


Take it for what it's worth. But it is something to remember about ST...numbers aren't always what they appear to be.

mth123
03-25-2012, 02:36 PM
Sometimes a fifth starter doesn't need to throw 200 innings or even 180 innings. A fifth starter can have his turn skipped when there are off days. He can usually pitch 6 innings and take a shower.

I know Chappy's situation isn't ideal. Still, if he is sufficiently "stretched" to go five or six innings, I think he can do so very effectively.

I don't see how it makes sense financially or strategically to "go for it" in 2012 and yet have one of your best arms in the minor leagues. Chapman is no novice, he's had time in the majors, the minors, before that in Cuba. He's not an experienced starter, but he's not a raw beginner either.

Ideal situation, no, surely. But right now I think the Reds need to favor the shorter term solution as opposed to the longer term solution.

He's gone 5 innings once. Lets see how he bounces back next time. Lets see how his stuff holds up going 7. Lets see him do it against guys who get multiple cracks at him during a game and not the rotating line-ups of Spring Training.

His ability to go 150 or so innings is a whole different question (which is also going to be an issue) but for now its more about going 6 consistently without being last year's version of Edinson Volquez. What he's done this spring just hasn't sold me. None of the 2 or 3 inning outings mean much to me. Let him get ready in AAA while we take more time to evaluate Homer. We already know that Arroyo isn't going anywhere.

_Sir_Charles_
03-25-2012, 02:42 PM
I agree with Mth. No matter how good Chapman's looked in ST, it's still just ST. He needs more time starting. And on the flip side, I'm not going to base my roster decision for Homer or Bronson based on ST stats. Career stats tell me that either Bronson struggled due to illness last year, or he's beginning to decline. Either way, he's the only one I'm even remotely concerned with, but with his contract...he's not going anywhere except "maybe" the pen. And I highly doubt even that. The only way Aroldis makes the opening day roster is as a reliever...and I hope that it doesn't happen either. He needs to start, and he needs to do that in L'ville.

757690
03-25-2012, 03:58 PM
I'd really like to see a guy with an ERA between 4.00 and 4.50 who's consistent and really solid under pressure. I'm curious what that looks like in comparison to Bailey.

A pitcher whose consistent, and decent under pressure wouldn't have an ERA around 4.50 like Bailey has had the last three seasons, it would be lower.

Remember, the steroid era is over. 4.50 ERA's are below average these days, and not desired. Especially when they are over less than 150 IP a season.

And much more important than ERA, is the ability to keep his team in the game. as I said before, Homer has a three run or more inning in almost half of his games. Also, half of the runs that he gave up over the last two seasons came immediately after the Reds scored. Just another sign of his mental weakness, and inability to keep his team in the game.

And btw, Arroyo has been at 87-88 all spring, while hitting 90 when he's needed to. The same velocity he had before he had mono.

dougdirt
03-25-2012, 04:07 PM
And much more important than ERA, is the ability to keep his team in the game. as I said before, Homer has a three run or more inning in almost half of his games. Also, half of the runs that he gave up over the last two seasons came immediately after the Reds scored. Just another sign of his mental weakness, and inability to keep his team in the game.


Take out July 28th from last season and Homer Bailey had a 3.94 ERA in his other 21 starts. I would imagine that is considered keeping your team in the game, right? He went 7 or more innings in a higher rate of his starts than Mike Leake did last year. Guys aren't going that deep if they aren't keeping their team in the game.

Caveat Emperor
03-25-2012, 04:09 PM
Nothing I've seen from Chapman indicates he has the makeup to be a starting pitcher. He can prove me wrong by going to AAA and keeping his wildness under control while pitching deep into games.

I'm not going to hold my breath. I wouldn't be surprised if Chapman is a member of another team this time next year. The best way to maximize his value to the Reds may be shipping him to someone who will overpay in the belief that they can make him an effective starter.

RedsManRick
03-25-2012, 04:40 PM
A pitcher whose consistent, and decent under pressure wouldn't have an ERA around 4.50 like Bailey has had the last three seasons, it would be lower.

Remember, the steroid era is over. 4.50 ERA's are below average these days, and not desired. Especially when they are over less than 150 IP a season.

And much more important than ERA, is the ability to keep his team in the game. as I said before, Homer has a three run or more inning in almost half of his games. Also, half of the runs that he gave up over the last two seasons came immediately after the Reds scored. Just another sign of his mental weakness, and inability to keep his team in the game.

Never once have I said we should desire a 4.50 ERA. Nor I have said we be happy with it. I have said that I care about what Homer's ERA is next year, not what is was last year. These are not the same thing. There has been a TON of study around predicting ERA and we know that the best way to predict ERA is to look at peripherals. Look at all of the professional projection systems -- they've got him down for an ERA around 4.00 in 2012.

But the argument goes, Homer is special. Compared to most pitcher's, he lacks mental fortitude. He just can't handle tough situations. But the mental weakness is a classic. Every player who's ERA is different than his peripherals gets the exception label by somebody. This guy is mentally weak. That guy knows how to bear down when it matters. But at the end of the day, the vast majority of guys who have an ERA notably different than their FIP/xFIP see that ERA regress back to the ERA their peripherals suggest. Could Homer be one of the rare exceptions? Sure. But his BABIP is normal. The amount of guys he leaves on base is normal. So what's the deal?

Well, last year, the problem was that he allowed homers with men on base. With men on base, his HR rate was nearly 4x what it was when it was empty. There's our smoking gun. Right?

Well, if this is a mental thing, it's safe to assume it's been going on for awhile, right?



HR rate when bases are empty, with men on, with runners in scoring position.

Empty On SPos
2011 0.59 2.11 1.76
2010 1.05 0.73 0.56
2009 1.13 0.78 0.31

Well, no... And of course, his HR/FB rate with guys on was double his career average. But that's just a sign of guys destroying the ball, I suppose. Maybe he's just grooving fastballs and get hit hard in general. Let's look at LD%.



Empty On SPos
2009 22.1 19.0 17.7
2010 20.8 21.6 21.0
2011 22.7 21.7 19.7

Hmm, if anything it looks like he improves with guys on.... That can't be right. I thought he was grooving pitches with guys on base. I'm confused. I'm open to ideas. I did notice that his IFH% spiked big time with men in scoring position in 2010. If only he had the mental fortitude to not allow so many infield hits with men in scoring position. But that was back to normal in 2011. Grrr.

Maybe, just maybe, Homer Bailey has
a.) improved as a pitcher over the last two years and
b.) been unlucky with men on base with ground ball hits (2010) and the timing of HRs (2011) -- ways that are not necessarily indicators of a repeatable skill (or weakness)

If it's simply about a guy having that ERA, let's just say ERA and be done with it. Why does it have to be about "mental weakness"? Are you suggesting that every pitcher with a 4.50 ERA is mentally weak? And if weakness makes your ERA 0.50 higher than your FIP, why did he have a 4.50 ERA when his FIP was 4.41 in 2009. Is the mental weakness a new thing. Did he get mentally weak as he improved his control, thus offsetting the gains in his peripherals? Maybe those things are linked...

Lastly, let's have some context for the 3 run innings thing. How common are 3 run innings among guys with ERAs like his? Is he exceptional in that regard? And should we care? If he's allowing a lot of 3 run innings, doesn't that mean he has more 0 run innings than most guys? Why is that combination worse than spreading out the runs? Are 3 run innings more harmful than three 1 run innings? I'm just trying to understand what makes Bailey's earned runs more harmful than say, Mike Leake's. Because the difference between them is 1 run every 3 starts. (1 run per 18 innings).

I'll stop now. I really am open to the possibility that Homer doesn't have "it" mentally. I'd just like a little more understanding about how that connects to his actual pitching performance and why it doesn't appear to be consistent. We know ALOT about the link between a guy's peripherals and his ERA. Suggesting that a guy breaks the mold carries with it the burden of proof in my book.

Obviously, this is all moot if the guy can't stay healthy. That's what we should really be worried about, not his mental strength.

757690
03-25-2012, 05:12 PM
Again, if it's simply about ERA, just say ERA and be done with it. Why does it have to be about "mental weakness"? Are you suggesting that every pitcher with a 4.50 ERA is mentally weak? That 3 run innings more harmful than three 1 run innings? I'm just trying to understand what makes Bailey's earned runs more harmful than say, Mike Leake's. Because the difference between them is 1 run every 3 starts

The difference between a .300 hitter and a .220 hitter is one hit every three games. So I guess there's not much difference between the two. ;)

Bailey's performance the last three seasons has told the same narrative. I'll continue to expect that narrative until he starts to tell a new one. I was hoping this spring, he would start telling a new one, but so far, I've been disappointed.

kaldaniels
03-25-2012, 05:22 PM
To me the elephant in the room with Bailey is as follows.

Made his major league debut in 2007. Has yet to log 133 IP in one season. (2nd best yr had 113 IP). No excuses as to why needed. He has had four seasons to do it and hasnt done it yet. I want him in the rotation. But like I said, it is simply the elephant in the room with him.

kaldaniels
03-25-2012, 05:26 PM
And in regards to the above post I am of course talking about big league innings.

dougdirt
03-25-2012, 05:43 PM
To me the elephant in the room with Bailey is as follows.

Made his major league debut in 2007. Has yet to log 133 IP in one season. (2nd best yr had 113 IP). No excuses as to why needed. He has had four seasons to do it and hasnt done it yet. I want him in the rotation. But like I said, it is simply the elephant in the room with him.

Hasn't done it in the Majors. In a split between the minors and Majors he has topped 200 innings in a season.

Edit: Just saw the second post....

RedsManRick
03-25-2012, 05:49 PM
The difference between a .300 hitter and a .220 hitter is one hit every three games. So I guess there's not much difference between the two. ;)


3 starts is 10% of a starters season. 3 games is 2% of a hitter's season. That's a little bit different in my book. ;)


Bailey's performance the last three seasons has told the same narrative. I'll continue to expect that narrative until he starts tEo tell a new one. I was hoping this spring, he would start telling a new one, but so far, EI've been disappointed.

If you define performance based off of ERA and only ERA, sure. Congrats, you've told a nice story about what happened the last 3 years. But if you want to talk about his performance next , you have to look beyond his ERA to tell a compelling story about what next year's ERA is likely to be. Why is that hard? His ERA the past 3 years only matters in this discussion in so far as it tells us something about what his ERA is likely to be this year. And we have better ways to do that than by looking at just his ERA.

I'd like to hear your story about Johnny Cueto. Clearly he should be a favorite for the Cy Young, right? His ERA has gone from 4.41 to 3.64 to 2.31 -- we must be looking at a Pedro '90 type season in 2012.

And Spring Training stats don't belong in the narrative at all. If they do, why aren't we talking about Mike Leake's horrible season on the way (5.73 ST ERA)? He had a 7.29 ERA in spring training last year, for what it's worth. Ian Kennedy had a 4.71 ERA in ST last year, just ahead of Cliff Lee's 4.74. What bout Cueto's regression this year -- his ERA is up over 2 runs from last year! Heck, Sean Gallagher has a 0.00 ERA; I guess we found our closer. Or does ST only count if it supports the narrative we already have and like?

Vottomatic
03-25-2012, 05:59 PM
Take out July 28th from last season and Homer Bailey had a 3.94 ERA in his other 21 starts. I would imagine that is considered keeping your team in the game, right? He went 7 or more innings in a higher rate of his starts than Mike Leake did last year. Guys aren't going that deep if they aren't keeping their team in the game.

Aahhh yes. The selective stats argument to support the guy you're in love with.

Desperation is well and alive when selective stats appear. :D

......and Joey Votto would have won the batting title if we'd eliminate 100 of his at-bats where he made an out.

757690
03-25-2012, 06:01 PM
Only if you base your narrative off of ERA and only ERA.

It's partly based on ERA, IP, and the number of mistake pitches he's thrown in crucial situations, just to name the big ones. And ERA is easily the least important of those top three factors. It's a narrative, it's based on an overall view of the big picture.

Vottomatic
03-25-2012, 06:04 PM
I wish the Reds would bite the bullet, trade BP for Hamels, and move Arroyo to the bullpen as long guy.

I have no faith in BA or HB this year.

dougdirt
03-25-2012, 06:08 PM
Aahhh yes. The selective stats argument to support the guy you're in love with.

Desperation is well and alive when selective stats appear. :D

......and Joey Votto would have won the batting title if we'd eliminate 100 of his at-bats where he made an out.

The argument was that he doesn't keep his team in games. And Bailey's 4 innings that day would be more like taking away 18 at bats away from Votto rather than 100.

Taking one game out and looking at the other 97% of his innings fits the point that he does keep his team in games.

dougdirt
03-25-2012, 06:11 PM
It's partly based on ERA, IP, and the number of mistake pitches he's thrown in crucial situations, just to name the big ones. And ERA is easily the least important of those top three factors. It's a narrative, it's based on an overall view of the big picture.

How do you know it is a mistake pitch? Because someone hit it hard?

757690
03-25-2012, 06:22 PM
How do you know it is a mistake pitch? Because someone hit it hard?

Because it's in tne middle of the plate with no movement. It's pretty easy to spot a mistake pitch as soon as it leaves the pitchers hand.

But even if you change it to, "getting hit hard in crucial situations," it's the same narrative. In the second half of last season, I would bet my friends during games, when Homer would give up runs. I made a lot of money. His narrative has been very consistent.

757690
03-25-2012, 06:30 PM
3 starts is 10% of a starters season. 3 games is 2% of a hitter's season. That's a little bit different in my book

Okay, one less hit every 15 games drops a .300 hitter to a .275 hitter. Or a .275 hitter to a .250 hitter. That's meaningful in my book. ;)

RedsManRick
03-25-2012, 07:06 PM
Okay, one less hit every 15 games drops a .300 hitter to a .275 hitter. Or a .275 hitter to a .250 hitter. That's meaningful in my book. ;)

Is it enough of a difference that you would have confidence in one guy and want to kick the other out of your lineup?

Ron Madden
03-25-2012, 07:24 PM
The Reds had a chance to win almost every game Homer Bailey started last season and some people act as if he was beat like a drum.

RedsManRick
03-25-2012, 07:50 PM
The Reds had a chance to win almost every game Homer Bailey started last season and some people act as if he was beat like a drum.

I'm not a fan of this whole line of argument, but to this point, here's how the team performed when each guy started (excludes the 6 total starts from LeCure, Maloney, Reineke)


Team-W Team-L Team Win% ERA (As starter)
Cueto 16 8 67% 2.31
Leake 15 11 58% 3.86
Bailey 12 10 55% 4.43
Arroyo 15 17 47% 5.07
Wood 7 11 39% 5.08
Volquez 8 13 38% 5.71
Willis 4 9 31% 5.00

Either Bailey's teammates really picked him up after he pitched them out of the game or there really wasn't anything special about his mid 4's ERA and it's affect on the team's ability to win games.

Vottomatic
03-25-2012, 07:59 PM
The Reds had a chance to win almost every game Homer Bailey started last season and some people act as if he was beat like a drum.

Bailey is an average pitcher. We've been counting on his "potential" for a long time now.

RedsManRick
03-25-2012, 07:59 PM
Bailey is an average pitcher. We've been counting on his "potential" for a long time now.

Calling him average would be a BIG step up from what some are describing him as.

Caveat Emperor
03-26-2012, 12:19 AM
Jon Heyman:
https://twitter.com/#!/JonHeymanCBS/status/183965463720628225

Scout says chapman should be in pen even tho he's been stretched out. "A thrower, not a pitcher." W/bray, marshall would have best lefty pen

Vottomatic
03-26-2012, 08:21 AM
With the cuts they made, I'm pretty sure the Reds are going to stick Chapman in the bullpen.

Not what I was hoping to see.

LegallyMinded
03-26-2012, 08:35 PM
Spring. Training. Stats. Do. Not. Matter.

Aroldis Chapman hasn't throw a change up this spring. That matters.
Aroldis Chapman has thrown a pitch in the 7th inning as a starter during one game since becoming a professional. That matters.

He needs to be starting, but it shouldn't be with the Reds. At least not in April. He needs to show he can go 7 innings (something Bailey did 45% of the time he took the mound in 2011). He needs to show he can actually throw a third pitch against hitters. The Reds would be foolish to hand a job to someone because of what is likely to be 17 innings for Chapman this spring (He has 12 now, I assume he gets one more start this spring and 5 innings).

Hey, maybe I am crazy. But I will take Homer Bailey and his up and downs in his last few seasons over Chapman right now. I feel that a lot of the time, Homer Bailey is going to keep me in the game and not burn my bullpen. I don't feel that way about Chapman because well, he has never shown that ability in his life at any level.


In general, I agree about spring stats, but Mike Podhorzer, at Rotographs, just wrote an article (http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/spring-training-stats-that-matter/) describing how there might be a couple exceptions to that rule. In particular, he notes K rate and BB rate are good indicators of regular season success and failure.

This seems especially relevant for the 5th starter debate: So far, Chapman has struck out 12 and walked 2 in 12 innings. Bailey has struck out 6 and walked 7 in 14.2 innings. Just on spring performance, then, it seems Chapman would be expected to fare much better this season.

As for the other issues concerning Chapman starting-- his ability to pitch deep into games and his pitch repertoire-- I'm a bit more ambivalent. I'll note, for instance, that Alexei Ogando was pretty successfully converted to a starter last season without once pitching more than 4 innings in a spring appearance, and so perhaps Chapman could have similar success without necessarily pitching 7+ innings before he gets a real start. At the same time, you can point to Daniel Bard as a recent example of a reliever-turned starter experiment that was aborted because Bard couldn't expand his pitch repertoire. Basically, there are arguments for and against starting Chapman, but I wouldn't totally discount his spring performance.

Incidentally, by the way, Jeff Francis has struck out 8 and walked none in 13 innings this spring-- perhaps neither Bailey nor Chapman is the answer as 5th starter then?

dougdirt
03-26-2012, 09:51 PM
Of course, as the article also notes, the projection systems are 50% more predictive of walk and strikeout rates than spring stats are.

LegallyMinded
03-26-2012, 10:22 PM
Of course, as the article also notes, the projection systems are 50% more predictive of walk and strikeout rates than spring stats are.

True, although the projection system in question, Marcel, is based exclusively on Chapman's previous performance, all of which was accumulated as a reliever. It also has a very low reliability for Chapman (.4) compared to its reliability for other players. If we want to get an idea of how Chapman might fare as a starter, his spring K and BB rates are at least worth a look. I don't mean to say they're a great predictor, but I think they add something to the debate.

dougdirt
03-26-2012, 10:27 PM
True, although the projection system in question, Marcel, is based exclusively on Chapman's previous performance, all of which was accumulated as a reliever. It also has a very low reliability for Chapman (.4) compared to its reliability for other players. If we want to get an idea of how Chapman might fare as a starter, his spring K and BB rates are at least worth a look. I don't mean to say they're a great predictor, but I think they add something to the debate.

I will take a whole lot more from Chapmans other 170 professional innings over 12 in spring training as an indicator of where his control lies.

SirFelixCat
03-26-2012, 10:58 PM
Jeff Francis getting lit up like a pinada tonight. Oof.