Bryan Smith, who recently wrote SI.coms top 75 prospects list had this to say to response of an email he recieved
Bryans responseHow can you rank Homer Bailey ahead of Phillip Hughes. Looking at their statistics side by side, Hughes' numbers are better in every respect. And if you say that it's the stuff that defines the greater prospect, the difference in stuff between Hughes and Bailey is minimal with Bailey having slightly more velocity although Hughes has a heavier ball. Further, if it is stuff that defines the prospect than I'm certain you can find a myriad of prospects who have the same stuff as Bailey and Hughes. The key than must be the marriage between stuff and control that translates into success and therefore the better prospect. Isn't that the embodiment of Phillip Hughes? The remarkable maturity (pitching knowledge), super stuff, and superior control all combine to create one of the best pitching prospects we've ever seen. The part of that equation that Homer Bailey holds is super stuff and improving control. Taking into account the previous argument, you can only conclude that Phillip Hughes is indeed the better pitching prospect.
By a power of about eight million, this type of question (dealing with these two prospects) was the most popular I received, speaking to the fabulous intensity of Yankee fans. Still, its funny, because the difference between the two players is totally negligible. Both prospects are generational, both are top tier, and both project as aces in the Major Leagues (the only two in the minors). So, I don't really think the individual ranking is important, but I will do Bailey the hnor of defending him, since he was ultimately my choice.
As far as "stuff" goes, I disagree with the question, I don't think you can find other stuff like Bailey's or Hughes' in the minor leagues. Someone like Jason Neighborgall might have impressive raw stuff, but it doesn't compare to these two players, as he has no idea where it is going. Say what you will about Homer Bailey's command, but it hardly had an adverse effect on his performance in 2006. In the end, I decided to label the Reds prospect with the minors best stuff, and I again, I disagree with the e-mail about how he labels their fastballs. I would not say that Hughes has more life than Bailey, but instead more sink, as Bailey's exploding four-seamer has plenty of life. I love Hughes' two-seamer, however, so the fastball difference is about as negligible as their overall ranking.
But, again, why Bailey? What overcomes Hughes' edge in command? Two things: breaking ball and health. Now, let me remind, I'm not claiming Hughes is poor in either category at all. His curveball is fantastic, but my reports of Bailey's hook were phenomenal. The pitch might be a 75 on the 20-80 scouting scale soon, and it should generate a lot of swings-and-misses at the Major League level. While Hughes is long removed from past shoulder soreness, he is still more susceptible for future injury than Bailey.
Now listen: I believe Philip Hughes will not only pitch in the Majors in 2007, but I believe he'll start admirably in the playoffs. I believe he will anchor the Yanks' rotation for years to come. And I also believe the same for Homer Bailey's, who has enough star power to reinvigorate the city of Cincinnati.