2006 Lookouts Pitcher, Homer Bailey, Makes Spring Training Appearance
by Tim Evearitt
posted March 1, 2007
We have our first Spring Training report on Homer Bailey coming from his performance during an intrasquad game in Sarasota. Baseball fans (and scouts) who watched Bailey at BellSouth Park last summer hadnít seen anyone like the 6-4 Texan since Mark Prior was throwing for West Tennessee in 2002. Bailey was 7-1 in 13 starts for Chattanooga finishing with a 1.59 ERA.
Many thought he would have been called up to the Reds last summer; he might have been if Cincinnati was still in the race for the post-season playooffs.
The Reds watched Bailey, whom Baseball America ranks as the top prospect in the Cincinnati organization, perform in front of fans at Ed Smith Stadium. He left them (and teammates) impressed.
"He's so smooth it just seems like half of the pitch gets on you a lot quicker than it looks," said fellow Texan Adam Dunn, one of four hitters Bailey faced in his one-inning outing.
The 20-year-old Bailey didn't make a big to-do of his performance. While he admitted he tried to impress people, he also wanted to work on some things. In his case, that meant working on his offspeed pitches.
Nobody questions the high-octane fastball Bailey possesses, because it's the pitch that had long drawn raves from scouts. But to get to the big leagues, he'll need more than one pitch to survive, which is why he's been working on his offspeed stuff.
It's that pitch that will decide how quickly he goes from prospect to a Major Leaguer. But like any pitcher in the early days of Spring Training, Bailey is trying to find his groove. He's working on mechanics and location. His strength is there, and so is his fastball.
"But that doesn't mean I have to go out there and try to throw 97 every pitch," Bailey said.
And he didn't try to do that either, which perhaps explains why his outing was as uneventful as it was: four hitters, one walk, no runs.
Not a bad box score for a pitcher fresh from the college ranks. His work performance showed people plenty, particularly Dunn.
"He looked good," Dunn said of Bailey. "I'm on the bandwagon."