The premise of the article:
Every season there seem to be at least one rookie who comes from out of nowhere and gives his team a boost down the stretch or in the postseason. Last season, Bobby Jenks didn't pitch in his first Major League Baseball game until July 6, but ended the season pitching in 32 of Chicago's last 80 games, racking up six saves and a 2.75 ERA along the way. During the playoffs, he served as White Sox closer, saving four of the White Sox's 11 wins en route to a World Series title.
Four years ago that player was Francisco Rodriguez, who came up in September, pitched in just five games in the regular season, and ended up winning five games in the playoffs as the Angels surged to their first ever World Series victory.
Now that the trade deadline has passed, calling up prospects will be the only practical way for teams to potentially add an impact player; see the Andruw Jones saga for a primer on the folly of trying to pass a star through waivers. As I noted in last week's column, projecting minor leaguers and prospects is an iffy proposition, but nonetheless, here are five young guys whom you might not have heard of (so no Jered Weaver, who's a victim of his own early success, in this case) who could be one of this season's breakout rookies.http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...he-next-k-rod/Homer Bailey, SP, Cincinnati Reds
OK, so he's the long shot pick here. I could have gone with Philip Hughes or Craig Hansen here, but Homer Bailey has simply been a better player this season and will at least tempt the Reds with the idea of using him to solidify their bullpen in September. The hard-throwing right hander has been putting together a monster season that stands up to the one being notched by the more heralded Hughes.
After dominating Single-A to open the season, Bailey has shown no signs of letting up at Double-A, which is traditionally a hard jump for prospects to make. Rather than struggling, Bailey has put up a 1.51 ERA in 35.2 innings, to go along with 35 strikeouts, just eight walks and a miniscule one home run allowed. Bailey's 97-mile-per-hour fastball and power curve should play anywhere, and Baseball America's #11 pitcher coming into the season could shine if given a chance to come out of the bullpen and dominate for an inning.
Funny stuff. Discuss.