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Thread: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

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    Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    This is not a panic-mode-driven message. Just studying the stats as of today to see who has the hot hand. Who is missing bats, and who is not?

    Bailey is tearing it up, and I've been documented as saying he is prime for his breakout year. This is not to say he's going to take the hill today and throw a 2-hitter, but I think when his season is complete, barring another elongated stint on the DL, we're going to be very pleased with the development of Homer. Very, very pleased. (it was worth repeating.)

    We have two other pitchers who, in my opinion, have the potential to be an electrifying duo for years to come in the Leake/Wood tandem. It is not surprising in the slightest that both of them are encountering some trouble, much like Bailey did in his second year. It happens to the very best pitchers who have ever taken the mound, including hall of fame pitchers. It's no reason to worry, no reason to complain...it's actually natural and expected. We fans just get impatient, that's all.

    Right now, even though Wood pitched a decent game yesterday, he's getting beat up pretty regularly. Opponents are hitting .315 off him, so he's not fooling anyone. Leake's peripherals are better than Wood's. His WHIP is lower and batters are hitting .260 off him - 0.55 better than Wood.

    I'm not just blowing smoke when I say both of these pitchers have the potential to have outstanding careers. I'm basing this argument on a statistical comparison to the first three years of established TOR starters and both of their stat lines compare favorably. I'm in no way throwing in the towel on either of these guys, but right now, the Reds are in a unique situation:

    There is a glut of starting pitching. I'd say there are eight candidates vying for five spots currently. If the Reds were inclined to award these five slots strictly based on stats up to this point, I'd argue the rotation should look like this:

    Bailey
    Willis
    Volquez
    Arroyo
    LeCure

    That leaves out Cueto, Leake, and Wood. Three pitchers I consider central to the core of Cincinnati's rotation over the next several years.

    Cueto is the wild card here. His stats aren't that impressive yet, but he's shown he can dominate MLB batters when he is on. I'd like to see him start two or three more games in the minors since the Reds can actually afford that luxury - but they've already determined he's starting on Sunday.

    That said, I'd really like to see them start Willis on Sunday instead of Cueto. Although Dontrelle was roughed up a bit in his most-recent start, he's put together a very, very nice start to the season. His strikeout total is high, his walk total is low, and batters are hitting only .241 against him. Not only would that allow him to prove he can get MLB hitters out (or disprove) but it would buy more time for Cueto.

    LeCure is doing a good job of proving me wrong. I never considered him starter material for this club, lumping him in with Matt Maloney. What has he done? He's stepped up to the task and gotten batters out, that's what. Opponents are hitting only. 238 off him and his K/9 ratio is 7.89 (matches his hits/9.) The guy is growing on me and if the Reds are able to get that kind of production out of a #5 starter all year, this team is going to be FINE.

    As for Maloney, I've said this since I watched him pitch a game for the Bats in Toledo last season: I'm not sold on him, and in my opinion, the Reds have far too much talent and depth to continue giving him opportunities on the big club. Maybe he'll develop into a quality pitcher at Louisville this season, and then become a useful and effective addition to the pen in the coming years, but there is no room for him as a starter unless the Reds suffer an ungodly amount of injuries.

    Speaking of the pen: Using the same, statistical approach, the relievers should shake out like this: (in no particular order)

    Coco
    Chapman
    Arrendondo
    Bray
    Ondrusek
    Fischer
    Masset

    Jordan Smith is getting utterly rocked. Opponents are hitting a whopping .348 off him and he's trending in the wrong direction. He's allowed 23 hits in 17 innings - while striking out only 11. Again - we have too much depth to continue trotting him to the mound. I like the guy, actually, and think he could blossom when he "clicks" - but right now, he's stalling.

    Masset gets a pass from me right now. Like Cueto, he's proven he can dominate MLB hitting, and his start this season is eerily similar to last year. He's a guy who CAN miss bats, and can be an incredibly valuable arm at the back of the pen.

    CoCo is pitching likely his final year for the Reds, and to his credit, he's doing everything he's asked to do right now. No, I don't think he's our most dominant reliever, but he has a closer's mentality. All you have to do is take a look at yesterday's performance by Brandon Lyon to count your lucky stars that we have someone like CoCo to take the mound in the 9th. Ryan Franklin is another example. Yes, Coco will blow a save now and then - but so will just about ANYONE you run to the mound 40-50 times a year to close a game.

    Arrendondo is another guy who excites me. I like guys who miss bats, obviously. His sample size is small this year, but his stuff leaves no doubt. For whatever reason, he's had the propensity to allow a higher-than-expected number of home runs. I'm hoping he works his way out of that, because his strikeout total is impressive. Exactly what you want to see from a reliever. I'd like to see him replace Jordan.

    Fischer is living on borrowed time. He's pitched well on the big club so far this season, and I'd rather see him take the mound than Jordan right now, but he's had many chances to prove his MLB worthy and hasn't really capitalized on that. Maybe this is his year. If he can improve his control that would help greatly. He gets a decent number of Ks, so there is definitely potential there.

    Once things shake out this year, I would expect to see a mid-July rotation of:

    Volquez
    Bailey
    Wood
    Arroyo
    Cueto

    This, unless Willis somehow returns to his early-career form. If that happens, you simply cannot remove him from the rotation. I'm not counting on it, but anything is possible. I give Wood the nod over Leake simply because he's a lefty.

    Dreaming for a second, could you imagine our rotation if ALL of the following were pitching up to their hype (and were starters)?

    Chapman
    Volquez
    Willis
    Bailey
    Cueto

    Holy crap that would be a lot of strikeouts....but back to reality....

    Leake has never spent time in the minors and I think he needs to mature and develop there. Eventually, he will replace Arroyo in the rotation, which will be one of the youngest and most promising in the league. In the meantime, the Reds would be VERY lucky if Bailey, Cueto, and Volquez all survive the season without another trip to the DL, so that's where Willis, Leake and LeCure are such valuable pieces to this puzzle. Other clubs should be drooling over the type of depth on the Reds.
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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Great post. A few thoughts in reaction:

    1. Maloney and Willis appear to be much better against minor league hitters... Willis did not fare so well aginst major competition in Spring training... will he face the same problems if we call him up as Maloney? Perhaps, the AAA minors just dont have a lot of good hitters vs Reds LHP right now.

    2. Wood is turning into an enigma. I cannot find a pattern for when he is "On" or off.

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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by Brisco View Post
    Great post. A few thoughts in reaction:

    1. Maloney and Willis appear to be much better against minor league hitters... Willis did not fare so well aginst major competition in Spring training... will he face the same problems if we call him up as Maloney? Perhaps, the AAA minors just dont have a lot of good hitters vs Reds LHP right now.

    2. Wood is turning into an enigma. I cannot find a pattern for when he is "On" or off.
    Wood like many pitchers is very good when he keeps the ball down, and like many pitchers he's very bad when he gets the ball up.

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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by Brisco View Post
    Great post. A few thoughts in reaction:

    1. Maloney and Willis appear to be much better against minor league hitters... Willis did not fare so well aginst major competition in Spring training... will he face the same problems if we call him up as Maloney? Perhaps, the AAA minors just dont have a lot of good hitters vs Reds LHP right now.

    2. Wood is turning into an enigma. I cannot find a pattern for when he is "On" or off.
    EDIT: I just read where the Reds sent Jordan to Louisville to make room for Bailey. I'm entirely convinced Walt read this thread and based his decision on my advice.

    I agree with point number 1 about Willis. The difference between Maloney and him is that Willis has had success at the major league level in the past. To me, it's worth a look to see if he has magically regained that form. If he comes up and struggles, the Reds can cut him loose and re-insert Wood, Leake, or LeCure. There is some risk with this experiment, but the potential reward is too tempting to ignore.

    I am not worried about Wood, nor am I really that puzzled, to be honest. Like I said, pitchers in the early part of their careers (first three years) are going to struggle. There are extremely few exceptions to this rule with regard to pitchers who have enjoyed long, successful MLB careers. I've done the research and the numbers are very revealing. If this were Wood's 5th or 6th year in the Majors and batters were hitting .315 off him, then I'd be worried.

    Same goes for Leake. I really think these two could become this decade's version of Maddux and Glavine as they mature. I also don't expect either one of them to really blossom until the 2014 season and beyond.
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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    I am completely baffled by people's love affair with Homer Bailey. While he has shown brief and limited ability during his time with the Reds, as of right now, long term I see better potential out of both Leake and Woods over Homer.

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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by brm7675 View Post
    I am completely baffled by people's love affair with Homer Bailey. While he has shown brief and limited ability during his time with the Reds, as of right now, long term I see better potential out of both Leake and Woods over Homer.
    How can you be sold on any of them? Leake and Wood both have less than a year of time in the majors. Leake has to paint the zone becase he doesn't have the stuff to throw it down the middle of the plate. Sometimes he's gonna get the calls and sometimes not. Wood I like. I think he's gonna work things out. I think he's just been getting the ball up in the zone. Bailey, I like his bulldog mentality and he can bring it at 95mph if he needs to. He just needs to trust his stuff and get his changeup going.

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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by Cant Touch This View Post
    This is not a panic-mode-driven message. Just studying the stats as of today to see who has the hot hand. Who is missing bats, and who is not?

    Bailey is tearing it up, and I've been documented as saying he is prime for his breakout year. Bailey
    Willis
    Volquez
    Arroyo
    LeCure

    Speaking of the pen: Using the same, statistical approach, the relievers should shake out like this: (in no particular order)

    Coco
    Chapman
    Arrendondo
    Bray
    Ondrusek
    Fischer
    Masset

    .
    Tearing it up? Where, when? Bailey has pitched well against bottom feeders in the bigs and vs. AAA hitters, where else has he torn it up?

    And Willis? Really you can not be serious? Yes early in his career he did well, but that is way in his past. At best he is a situation middle inning reliever right now, at worse he is an independent league pitcher.

    Leaving Chapman in the bullpen is the greatest waste of talent maybe ever in major league baseball. You have a kid with an incredible arm who just needs some work on arm strength and the ability to throw a thrid pitch for a strike and you want him in the bullpen throwing an inning here and an inning there every other day or every 3rd or 4th day?

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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by SidneySlicker View Post
    How can you be sold on any of them? Leake and Wood both have less than a year of time in the majors. Leake has to paint the zone becase he doesn't have the stuff to throw it down the middle of the plate. Sometimes he's gonna get the calls and sometimes not. Wood I like. I think he's gonna work things out. I think he's just been getting the ball up in the zone. Bailey, I like his bulldog mentality and he can bring it at 95mph if he needs to. He just needs to trust his stuff and get his changeup going.
    Because both are young and are pitchers who have already shown they can pitch and pitch very well on the major league level. Yes both are still probably a season or so away from being 17+ win a year pitchers, but their upside is so far ahead of Homer right now it's not funny. Rememeber Greg Maddux wasn't a hard thrower, he knew "how" to pitch and the same can be said for Cliff Lee and others. It's great if you can throw 95+, but if you can't get hitters out what good is it and as of now Homer has not shown the ability to do it on a consistant basis...

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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by brm7675 View Post
    Because both are young and are pitchers who have already shown they can pitch and pitch very well on the major league level. Yes both are still probably a season or so away from being 17+ win a year pitchers, but their upside is so far ahead of Homer right now it's not funny. Rememeber Greg Maddux wasn't a hard thrower, he knew "how" to pitch and the same can be said for Cliff Lee and others. It's great if you can throw 95+, but if you can't get hitters out what good is it and as of now Homer has not shown the ability to do it on a consistant basis...
    With all due respect there is no way you can compare Leake to Maddux. From a pitching skillset I guess you can compare him, but Greg Maddux is pretty much without argument, the best location pitcher of all time. After success he got even more calls in his favor. I'm not saying Leake isn't going to be a good pitcher, but I'm not sold that he's a top of the rotation pitcher.

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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by brm7675 View Post
    Because both are young and are pitchers who have already shown they can pitch and pitch very well on the major league level. Yes both are still probably a season or so away from being 17+ win a year pitchers, but their upside is so far ahead of Homer right now it's not funny. Rememeber Greg Maddux wasn't a hard thrower, he knew "how" to pitch and the same can be said for Cliff Lee and others. It's great if you can throw 95+, but if you can't get hitters out what good is it and as of now Homer has not shown the ability to do it on a consistant basis...
    What made Maddux so great was his exceptionally low career BB/9 of 1.80. Same thing for Cliff Lee -- check his BB/9 over the past four years, when he's been really effective. Lee is possibly a very good comp for Wood, as both are fly-ball pitchers that feature a slightly above average K/9. To reach somewhere around Lee's level, though, Wood is really going to have to keep his walks at around his 2010 level (2.28 BB/9), if not lower, considering he pitches in GABP, and he's going to give up quite a few HRs each year.

    Another big problem with Wood is that when people do make contact, they're hitting it hard. His LD% was 21.4% last year, and it's 26.8% this year. I suspect this is due to leaving it up whenever he misses his spots. If he doesn't fix this problem, he's going to get shelled every time he's having even slight problems with control (which is what has happened multiple times this year). Leake sort of has the same problem, which is expected of guys who don't have great stuff. When their control is off, their pitches are going to get killed much more than if a guy like Edinson Volquez leaves his pitches up in the zone.

    Bailey has the most potential of the three, I think anyone in baseball will tell you that. The difference is that Wood and Leake have the higher floor. I've zero doubts in my mind that Wood and Leake will be effective back-end rotation guys, with a slight possibility to make it up to a #2 starter or so (Wood could even become a #1, if he can get his walks down to Lee and Maddux levels, and gets that GB% to around 40% instead of 30%). With Bailey, there's definitely a possibility he never even becomes a legit back-end rotation guy, due to inconsistency, but there's also a good chance (at least, better than for Wood, and especially better than Leake) of him becoming a legit top-of-the-rotation guy.

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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by signalhome View Post
    What made Maddux so great was his exceptionally low career BB/9 of 1.80. Same thing for Cliff Lee -- check his BB/9 over the past four years, when he's been really effective. Lee is possibly a very good comp for Wood, as both are fly-ball pitchers that feature a slightly above average K/9. To reach somewhere around Lee's level, though, Wood is really going to have to keep his walks at around his 2010 level (2.28 BB/9), if not lower, considering he pitches in GABP, and he's going to give up quite a few HRs each year.

    Another big problem with Wood is that when people do make contact, they're hitting it hard. His LD% was 21.4% last year, and it's 26.8% this year. I suspect this is due to leaving it up whenever he misses his spots. If he doesn't fix this problem, he's going to get shelled every time he's having even slight problems with control (which is what has happened multiple times this year). Leake sort of has the same problem, which is expected of guys who don't have great stuff. When their control is off, their pitches are going to get killed much more than if a guy like Edinson Volquez leaves his pitches up in the zone.

    Bailey has the most potential of the three, I think anyone in baseball will tell you that. The difference is that Wood and Leake have the higher floor. I've zero doubts in my mind that Wood and Leake will be effective back-end rotation guys, with a slight possibility to make it up to a #2 starter or so (Wood could even become a #1, if he can get his walks down to Lee and Maddux levels, and gets that GB% to around 40% instead of 30%). With Bailey, there's definitely a possibility he never even becomes a legit back-end rotation guy, due to inconsistency, but there's also a good chance (at least, better than for Wood, and especially better than Leake) of him becoming a legit top-of-the-rotation guy.
    Look at where Leake and Wood are at their points in their Careers and look at that exact same point in the careers of both Lee and Maddux. Not saying that Leake and Wood will be that good, but I like their chances alot more then Homer because as of yet Homer has yet to show the ability to "pitch".

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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by signalhome View Post
    With Bailey, there's definitely a possibility he never even becomes a legit back-end rotation guy, due to inconsistency, but there's also a good chance (at least, better than for Wood, and especially better than Leake) of him becoming a legit top-of-the-rotation guy.
    what in the time Homer has been with the Reds on any level leads you to believe that?

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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by SidneySlicker View Post
    With all due respect there is no way you can compare Leake to Maddux. From a pitching skillset I guess you can compare him, but Greg Maddux is pretty much without argument, the best location pitcher of all time. After success he got even more calls in his favor. I'm not saying Leake isn't going to be a good pitcher, but I'm not sold that he's a top of the rotation pitcher.
    I made that comparison for him while he was still pitching college ball, and still can see it. You think Maddux got those calls early on too, or had that location down pat from day one? I still think Leake will impress and surprise you one day, as he gets experience, continues to learn, etc..I think Wood and Leake have the most promise still of anyone on our staff.
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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    You talk about at this point in their career. Let me remind you.

    Bailey 25 Birthday May 3, 1986
    Wood 24 Birthday Feb. 6, 1987
    Leake 23 Birthday Nov. 12, 1987

    So Bailey regaurdless of how long he's been in the majors is only 8 months older than Travis Wood and is only 18 months older than Mike Leake. So it's not as though Bailey is a finished product. Bailey himself is still learning to pitch at the major league level, and I thought at the end of last year he was making some strides.

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    Re: Excited about Bailey. Conflicted about Leake/Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by SidneySlicker View Post
    You talk about at this point in their career. Let me remind you.

    Bailey 25 Birthday May 3, 1986
    Wood 24 Birthday Feb. 6, 1987
    Leake 23 Birthday Nov. 12, 1987

    So Bailey regaurdless of how long he's been in the majors is only 8 months older than Travis Wood and is only 18 months older than Mike Leake. So it's not as though Bailey is a finished product. Bailey himself is still learning to pitch at the major league level, and I thought at the end of last year he was making some strides.
    age and experience are 2 totally different things though. I agree Bailey isnt a finished product either, but even though close in age, he has years of experience over Leake now.
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