Thursday, July 10, 2008

Do Homer Bailey and Brandon Phillips Have Anything In Common?

It's looking more and more like Homer Bailey will start for the Reds on Sunday...against CC Sabathia and the Brewers. In Milwaukee. Yikes. I ain't never were a Vegas oddsmaker, but I'm guessing you'll have to wager somewhere around $4200 to win a penny if you bet on Sabathia.

Talk about a paragraph (or at least a small grouping of sentences) I didn't see myself writing fifteen months ago. Back then Homer Bailey was a can't-miss superstar. I'm sure you remember.

But if you don't, take a look at two different questions Baseball America's Jim Callis answered in separate chats in May, 2007:

Jeremy (Sioux Falls, SD): You consider Hughes a better prospect than Gallardo, Bailey, Garza, etc?

Jim Callis: Yep. Lincecum, too. I'd go Hughes, Bailey, Lincecum at the top of my pitching prospects list. Really, though, those three are pretty interchangeable.

rob (philly): Rank the young NL arms over the next 5 years: Hamels, Cain, Lincecum, Bailey, Pelfrey.

Jim Callis: Lincecum, Cain, Bailey, Hamels, Pelfrey. And I really like Hamels.

To summarize: Just last spring Callis lumped Bailey in with S.I. cover boy Lincecum and ahead of Garza (currently 11th in the AL in ERA)...not to mention his projection that Bailey would be better than Cole Hamels over the next five years! Cole Hamels was already an established Major League stud when Callis answered this question!

So clearly, it's easy to call the well-respected Callis an idiot, as his projections have very little chance of proving true.

But what if something is wrong with Bailey? What if he's dealing with a nagging injury that nobody knows about? Maybe that's the real reason his current velocity doesn't resemble the pre-2007 scouting reports. Or maybe he's still developing, still figuring it out.

From Rob Neyer's blog Wednesday:

"Perhaps the highlight of the convention was a panel consisting of Indians GM Mark Shapiro and minor league operator Mike Veeck. Shapiro was surprisingly honest about various matters, admitting that the Indians didn't wait long enough for Brandon Phillips to develop."

Don't give up Homer Bailey just yet.

-Brad Spieser (