Scouting the top prospects
With analysis by Reds broadcaster and former pitcher Jeff Brantley
Hometown: San Pedro de Marcoris, Dominican Republic
Pitches: Fastball, slider, changeup
Did you know? Signed by Johnny Almaraz for $3,500 in 2004.
Did you know II? Pitched the only no-hitter in Dayton Dragons history.
Stats: 32-21, 3.21 ERA, 366 hits, 108 walks, 426 strikeouts in the minors.
Jeff Brantley's take: "Great command of his fastball - not just for the fact he has a high-velocity fastball, but he works both sides of the plate with movement. All of those are plus activities for a fastball. He can throw a breaking ball for strikes when he's behind in the count and can also expand the zone with the breaking ball when he's ahead in the count. His changeup is a pitch that Mario Soto has not only shown him how to throw but when to throw it. I think that's a big advantage Johnny Cueto has now over the hitters that he didn't have last year. I think that's why he's being considered for that No. 3 spot."
Hometown: Barona, Dominican Republic
Pitches: Fastball, changeup, slider, curve
Did you know? His first professional at-bat came this spring. He grounded out.
Stats: Was 6-1 with a 1.41 ERA in eight Triple-A starts last year. Allowed 25 hits and struck out 66 in 51 innings. Went 3-11 with a 7.20 ERA in 80 big-league innings over three seasons.
Jeff Brantley's take: "He had opportunities with the Texas Rangers to pitch in the big leagues. The big key for Volquez is he didn't realize how good his changeup was. Now, I think with the addition of some of the other pitchers on this ballclub, he's starting to learn that a 98-mph fastball all the time isn't always good. Sometimes 90 percent is better. He's realizing he can get away with a 92-mph fastball down and away - 98, 96 inside and use his changeup in a way that sometimes it's a strikeout pitch, sometimes it's a setup for the next high fastball. The thing I've noticed deeper into camp is that he's throwing his breaking ball for strikes earlier in the count and using those two plus pitches when it's time to put a hitter away."
Hometown: La Grange, Texas
Did you know? As a freshman, he beat former Red Ryan Wagner in the Texas high school state title game.
Did you know II? His given name is David. Called Homer after his great grandfather.
Stats: 24-15 with a 3.46 ERA for the Reds in the minors.
Jeff Brantley's take: "He has the intestinal fortitude and stubbornness to pitch in this league. I think he has all the ingredients from a mental standpoint to pitch up here. But right now what is holding him back is his inability to accept the fact that he has to have a second pitch to pitch up here. Right now, he wants to go back to what got him here, and that is throwing the fastball by hitters. When you're in the minor leagues and high school, you can throw the ball by guys, you can overpower them. Right now, Homer Bailey cannot do that. He's starting to see that. What happens for him when he tries to overpower guys, his front shoulder opens up, his hands pronate and the ball sinks into the ground and ends becoming a nothing pitch. Then hitters sit on his fastball and hit it into the gap. If he does not come up with a second pitch that is a short breaking ball that he can throw with confidence when he's behind in the count, it's going to be a long road for Homer Bailey."