Raise your hand if you have ridden the Homer Bailey bandwagon at one time in your life, got burned by his continual disappointment and have sworn off ever drafting him again. That is what I expected, every virtual hand in the air. Bailey is that player who will probably have that breakout season just when the entire baseball and fantasy world has given up on him. But here he is again, finishing the season strong and giving us hope one last time. But is it just another tease?
Last season, after returning from a demotion to the minors, Bailey posted solid ERAs for a change in August and September at 3.70 and 3.44, respectively. He posted even better xFIPs, coming in at 3.49 and 2.89. That performance convinced me to become a fan heading into the 2011 season and even got him some sleeper love from the various fantasy sites and magazines. This year he is back to his old tricks, posting xFIP marks of 3.52 in August and 3.00 in September, though his ERAs have not been as pretty as in 2010, thanks to some poor fortune.
On the season, Bailey’s ERA has once again disappointed at 4.43, but his SIERA is just 3.63, the best mark of his career and a level that marks a fourth straight year of decline. His SwStk% is up, as is his F-Strike% and he has thrown his slider, which has been fantastic over the last two seasons, nearly double the time this year compared to last. Normally, this would look like the profile of a strong breakout candidate, but when you slap Bailey’s name on it, you probably elicit a negative reaction at this point.
One must remember that although it seems like Bailey has been around forever, he has only pitched the equivalent of about two full seasons. The fact that he has disappointed again this year, causing many to continue cursing the scouts and websites labeling him a top prospect, simply makes him an ever cheaper flyer next season.
This is a pitcher whose skills are improving and looking pretty solid right now. He plays in front of a good defensive squad and is backed by good offensive support. Before you pass on Bailey in next year’s drafts after quickly glancing at his surface stats, go the extra dollar, as 2012 may finally be his year.