A phone call away
Speaking of players who have been rushed once already, it's officially time for the Homer Bailey watch to begin again.
After the Reds hastened his arrival in 2007 and saw him initially struggle, Bailey pitched well down the September stretch but was dispatched to Triple-A Louisville this spring to continue to refine his dominant stuff. The 21-year-old Texan has been doing just that, ringing up a 1.95 ERA and 22 strikeouts while walking just seven in 32 1/3 innings. The league is hitting .216 against him, he held the opposition scoreless in two of his five starts, and he's no longer trying to strike everyone out. The Reds have a young staff that get that much younger quickly.
A year away
The temptation is to put right-hander Daryl Thompson in the "Phone Call Away" category, but the Reds will likely be a little more cautious with the 23-year-old, who's tearing it up at Double-A Chattanooga. While he might be a huge surprise to those who have only looked at preseason top-prospect lists, the Maryland native has been regarded as one to watch since the Montreal Expos took him in the eighth round of the 2003 Draft. Shoulder trouble sidelined him for the second half of 2005 and virtually all of '06, and with his velocity still not all the way back in '07, he managed to go 14-5 with a 3.18 ERA. This year, the gun is lighting up in the low to mid-90s, and his 0.57 ERA over his first five starts ranks him third in the Minors. He's struck out 36 batters and walked four while limiting hitters to a .185 average.
Just a minor note - Daryl Thompson is only 22...he doesn't turn 23 until late November.