I have Felix Hernandez on my fantasy team and thought I'd throw this out for discussion. For those of you who may not know who he is, he's a 21 pitcher for the Mariners who has a lot of the same expectations that Homer Bailey does. They are only a month apart in age.
Seattle brought him up in 2005 at age 19 for 12 starts and he was on the major league ballclub the entire 2006 season and had 31 starts and pitched 191 innings. Had a decent year last year with a 12-14 record, 4.52 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Not bad for a 20 year old. The hope was this year would be his break out year. His first two starts were outstanding giving up 0 runs in 17 innings with 18 Ks. Since then he has suffered a forearm injury that required a stint on the DL and after his third start back, last night left the game with tightness in his back.
In my opinion, I seriously questioned the Mariners even bringing him up in 2005 and giving him that many starts last season, for the same reasons I don't think the Reds should be bringing up Homer this season. Now, I'm not saying it's a fact that Hernandez's injuries this season is a result of being overused at 20 years old, but I think it's a very real possibility. What did having Hernandez on the major league club really accomplish last season? Seattle never competed for the playoffs. Why not just keep Hernandez in the minors where his workload can be more controlled? Build his arm up to where it is ready for the rigors of major league pitching.
For me, this is exactly why I don't think a pitcher of the age of 20 or 21 should be pitching close to 200 innings a season, especially on a team that is going nowhere. I'm not saying it's a certainty that Bailey would run into the same problems as Hernandez has if given a similar route, but I just don't think it's worth a risk. What does everyone else think?