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Thread: Great article from the Reds website on Bailey/Cueto/Volquez

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Great article from the Reds website on Bailey/Cueto/Volquez

    Man I am pumped about these three kids plus Matt Maloney.

    Talented youngsters wait in the wings
    Bailey, Cueto, Volquez looking for chance at rotation
    By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

    SARASOTA, Fla. -- In an industry that constantly craves young pitchers to draft, develop or acquire, the Reds have had a rather woeful track record.

    Both Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto, the organization's top two pitching prospects, were two years from being born when Tom Browning made his big league debut for the Reds in 1984. They were in diapers in 1988, when he threw his perfect game.

    The left-handed Browning, who retired in 1995, remains the last starting pitcher drafted and developed by the Reds to have long-term success for the Reds.

    Maybe the tide is finally turning for Cincinnati.

    Bailey and Cueto, 21 and 22 respectively, are two home-grown arms battling to break into the starting rotation. So is a third young gun, 24-year-old Edinson Volquez, a promising Rangers prospect the Reds traded Josh Hamilton to get in December. Lefty Matt Maloney, also 24, was acquired in a July trade with the Phillies for would-be free agent Kyle Lohse.

    "It started when [former general manager] Dan O'Brien took over [in 2003]," Triple-A Louisville manager Rick Sweet said. "Our Drafts were good. Coming into my fourth year, I've seen us develop some pitchers. We've got some guys that are really ready. Even some of the guys we've traded for, that's a feather, too. We've picked up some pretty good pitchers. There's no doubt we've got some depth starting to build throughout the organization."

    Bailey and Volquez have good chances of being in the rotation. With just a few Triple-A starts and no big league experience at all, Cueto is viewed to have an outside shot.

    The battle tightened some more when veteran free agent Josh Fogg was signed on Thursday. Fogg will likely join Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo in the rotation. Matt Belisle has a year of starting under his belt and is a good bet for a spot. Lefty Jeremy Affeldt, who was signed over the winter and is trying to convert from a reliever to a starter, also has a strong opportunity.

    That could leave one spot, if any, for the prospects to fight over. It's a lot to expect, but not unrealistic, to think that Bailey, Cueto and Volquez could all help the Reds at some point in 2008 -- and beyond.

    "We have some very good arms out there," manager Dusty Baker said. "I'm liking what I'm seeing, not only for now but later. We may need somebody during the season. I know our pitching has been much maligned, but I see some rapid improvement from what I've heard to what I've seen."

    As he catapulted his way through the Reds system, Bailey rarely -- if ever -- struggled against Minor League hitters. Despite an impressive June debut in the Majors vs. the Indians, success hasn't been immediate. In his nine starts with Cincinnati, Bailey was 4-2 with a 5.76 ERA. He also battled a groin injury and was sent down before a late-September return.

    "Do I think I can have success? Yes," Bailey said. "No one would be here if they didn't think they could have success in this game."

    "I think any time you do anything a second time, it should be easier," said Sweet, who managed Bailey in Louisville in 2007. "The first time you experience the big leagues, it's such a different experience. You're not quite prepared for it, as much as we try to prepare them for it both mentally and physically. Once you get there, the next year should become easier."

    In the Minors, the 6-foot-4 Bailey could live on his excellent 94- to 98-mph fastball, but at times he was stubborn about using his other pitches. Control was an issue when he was with the Reds, as he walked 28 and struck out 28.

    "I think when you've had as much success as he's had, [you think], 'Why do you need to make any changes or think about making changes?' " Sweet said. "One of the reasons Homer is so successful [is] he has so much confidence and belief in what he's doing. That's a positive, not a negative."

    Many believe that Cueto, who is attending his first big league camp, has developed better stuff than Bailey. The right-handed Cueto was a combined 12-9 with a 3.07 ERA in 161 1/3 innings at Class A Sarasota, Double-A Chattanooga and Louisville. He also threw an additional 31 innings at winter ball in his native Dominican Republic, which is considered an important proving ground because of the intensity for winning.

    "The arm is there. The stuff is there. It's a matter of time," said former Reds pitcher Mario Soto, an organizational instructor who works with young pitchers in the Dominican Republic.

    "I saw him pitch in the Dominican -- he was pretty good," said new closer Francisco Cordero, who also is from the Dominican Republic. "I believe he's good, because every time we try to trade for someone, they always ask for Cueto. Something's going on."

    Cueto senses how close he is to getting to the Majors.

    "I feel already like I can be in the big leagues now," Cueto said through interpreter and teammate Jerry Gil. "I feel 100 percent with everything -- my pitches, anything. I think I have a good chance."

    Listed at 5-foot-10 and 183 pounds, Cueto isn't a prototypical, big-statured pitcher like Bailey or Harang. What he lacks in size, though, he makes up with his pitches.

    "There's a lot of guys -- Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux -- that aren't that big," Sweet said. "There are a lot of guys that have had success that are average size. To me, Cueto is so free and easy. That's not something to be concerned about."

    Few Reds fans were familiar with Volquez when he came over in the Hamilton deal. However, team scouts had been tracking him for a while and rated him as highly as Bailey and Cueto. After the trade, Soto watched Volquez at the Reds' Dominican academy and in some winter games.

    "He has a really good fastball -- 95, 96 mph -- and a really good changeup," Soto said. "His curveball isn't bad, but he told me he fell in love with his fastball-changeup. The changeup is a really, really good pitch for him."

    Combining his stats from Class A, Double-A and Triple-A, Volquez was 14-6 with a 3.67 ERA and 166 strikeouts over 144 2/3 innings. With Texas he was 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts. He also had small tastes of the Majors in 2005-06.

    "I didn't believe it. I was surprised," Volquez said of being traded. "I didn't think they were going to trade me, because I had one of my best years last year. But that's going to happen."

    Exactly when Bailey, Volquez and Cueto will get to establish themselves in the Majors is up in the air. Baker has been known to favor veterans, and some of the recent transactions indicate that Cincinnati is not fully ready to turn it over to the kids just yet.

    "Every manager prefers veterans because of their experience," Bailey said. "Being a young player, it's one of those deals that you have to earn their trust and respect. It doesn't come during one Spring Training. Sometimes it doesn't come for years. When he hands me the ball, I'll do my best. That's all I can do."

    For much of this decade, the Reds have been known as a "hit first, ask questions about the pitching later" kind of team. They also haven't had a winning record since 2000. With three young starters poised for the Majors, and more on the way, the club could be on to a better formula for success.

    No guarantees, of course.

    "It's a work in progress for all of us," Bailey said.

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/...=.jsp&c_id=cin

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    Party like it's 1990 Blitz Dorsey's Avatar
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    Re: Great article from the Reds website on Bailey/Cueto/Volquez

    Good read. I like the situation we're in. We have a possible starting rotation of all veterans with Harang, Arroyo, Belisle, Affeldt and Fogg (the last three being very suspect of course). And then we have a host of young power arms like Bailey, Volquez and Cueto, with another young lefty in the fold with Maloney. We're in the best shape we've been in many years with our rotation, which doesn't mean it will be good, but I feel pretty good about it.

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    Kmac5 KoryMac5's Avatar
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    Re: Great article from the Reds website on Bailey/Cueto/Volquez

    I am really happy to see Soto turn his attention to some of the young guys like Cueto and Volquez. Haven't heard Mario mention Bailey much yet.
    If you have a losing record at Reds games, please stop going.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Great article from the Reds website on Bailey/Cueto/Volquez

    I just played a game of MLB 2006: The Show on my PS2. The Reds rotation was Milton, Harang, Hudson, Williams, Claussen. This just seemed relevant.

    Arroyo > Milton
    Harang > Harang
    Belisle > Hudson
    Fogg/Affeldt >= Williams
    Bailey/Volquez/Cueto > Claussen
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Re: Great article from the Reds website on Bailey/Cueto/Volquez

    There is some video interviews with Matt Maloney and Edinson Volquez currently on the Reds website for those interested.

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=cin

    Just click on one of those videos listed under 'sight and sounds' and it will bring up a list of videos of Reds players. The most recent are of Francisco Cordero, Matt Maloney, and Edinson Volquez. I was surprised at how well Volquez speaks English.

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    Re: Great article from the Reds website on Bailey/Cueto/Volquez

    The more and more I read about Volquez the more I think of how great that trade was, especially after reading the comments from Baker, Pole, and especially Mario Soto. Josh Hamilton was/is an awesome player and I loved the guy, but I think that deal of Hamilton-for-Volquez will go down as Wayne Krivsky's best move. Call me an optimist or whatever but I love what this kid brings to the table. I think 2008 is going to be a big breakout season for him. He's already got two plus pitches and a decent to solid curveball that he doesn't have enough confidence to throw consistently yet (and he admits to it in the above article).

    I've already got Volquez penciled into the rotation. Scratch that - I've got him marked down in permanent marker in the Reds Opening Day rotation behind Matt Belisle as the No. 4 starter. By the end of the year though, I think he will be viewed as the No. 2 starter pushing Arroyo down to number three.

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    Re: Great article from the Reds website on Bailey/Cueto/Volquez

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    I've already got Volquez penciled into the rotation. Scratch that - I've got him marked down in permanent marker in the Reds Opening Day rotation behind Matt Belisle as the No. 4 starter. By the end of the year though, I think he will be viewed as the No. 2 starter pushing Arroyo down to number three.
    I want to see him in person during Spring Training, then watch his first few full starts in April first, but I think I'm with you across the board on this one. A little added mental sharpness, and the continued improvement in control of both primary and secondary pitches, and this guy becomes one of the highest ceiling pitchers this organization has had since a young Jose Rijo. It's a little hard to be excited about a pitcher whose arrival resulted in the loss of my favorite player from 2007 (Hammy), but I simply can't wait to watch Volquez pitch his way up the ladder in this rotation.

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    Re: Great article from the Reds website on Bailey/Cueto/Volquez

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormy View Post
    I want to see him in person during Spring Training, then watch his first few full starts in April first, but I think I'm with you across the board on this one. A little added mental sharpness, and the continued improvement in control of both primary and secondary pitches, and this guy becomes one of the highest ceiling pitchers this organization has had since a young Jose Rijo. It's a little hard to be excited about a pitcher whose arrival resulted in the loss of my favorite player from 2007 (Hammy), but I simply can't wait to watch Volquez pitch his way up the ladder in this rotation.
    Good to see you around here! Great avatar btw. Love it.

    Agreed with you on Hammy. Last Sunday evening Sportscenter aired a little 15 minute story on Hamilton about his battles with drugs and while they were interviewing him I kept thinking how enjoyable it was to watch him last season and how much I was going to miss him this season...however, as much as I'll miss him, I would still do that trade over again. That's nothing against Josh it just shows how high I am on Volquez.

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    All dyslexics must untie!
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    Re: Great article from the Reds website on Bailey/Cueto/Volquez

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    There is some video interviews with Matt Maloney and Edinson Volquez currently on the Reds website for those interested.

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=cin

    Just click on one of those videos listed under 'sight and sounds' and it will bring up a list of videos of Reds players. The most recent are of Francisco Cordero, Matt Maloney, and Edinson Volquez. I was surprised at how well Volquez speaks English.

    Watch the video then try and tell me that Maloney doesn't look like the actor who played the Tin Man.

    O
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    Last edited by gm; 02-24-2008 at 01:34 AM.
    Never overlook the obvious

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    Re: Great article from the Reds website on Bailey/Cueto/Volquez

    --Baker on left-hander Matt Maloney: “Not only does he have good breaking stuff, he has deceptively quick late movement on his fastball. He’s not afraid to throw the ball inside to right-handers, which is one of t he toughest things to teach a left-hander to do because they don’t really trust that pitching area because it creeps back over the plate. Most of the left-handers I didn’t like to face were (threw inside to right-handers). If he can throw it inside like that, it means he can peel that plate – peel it like a banana.”

    --Baker on Edinson Volquez: “He has an excellent arm. Whoever scouted him in this trade did an excellent job. He’s got a real good change-up. We’ve got to tighten up his breaking ball. Hopefully, he can continue to show improvement in his command. When you’ve got that kind of stuff, the next step is command. If you get command with that stuff, you’re going to be a heck of pitcher and make this trade look great.”

    http://frontier.cincinnati.com/blogs/redsinsider/


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