Don’t be fooled by Homer Bailey‘s “breakout” 2012 season. Yes, he finally lasted a full season, topping 200 innings for the Reds. And yes, his 3.68 ERA was 33 points lower than the 4.01 major league average. But on a per-inning basis Bailey hasn’t developed much over the last three years. His strikeout rate, walk rate, OBA, BABIP, WHIP, and HR/9 were almost identical in 2011 and 2012, and his FIPs over the last three years have all been very similar.
Chalk the breakout up to luck and increased workload — anyone’s going to look better if they throw 208 average innings versus 132 average innings — and The Great American Ballpark is still a hellacious place to play.
At a Glance
Strengths: IP, QS, BB
Neutral: W, L, ERA, WHIP, K, OBA
Best-case scenario: Jarrod Parker (OAK)
Likely scenario: Josh Beckett (LAD), Edwin Jackson (CHC), Jonathon Niese (NYM)
Worst-case scenario: Joe Blanton (LAA)
Homer Bailey 2013 Fantasy Projection
My Bailey bashing in the intro might be a bit misleading. We actually like Bailey. We even like him enough to put him in our top 200, meaning we think he should be drafted in leagues of any format. He has the durability to pitch over 200 innings, and he doesn’t walk many batters, which should help keep him out of trouble when the long ball inevitably strikes in his home ball park. He’s still a little bit on the hittable side, though, and that’s going to prevent him from putting up an above average WHIP.
Cincinnati looks like a very good team this year, and Bailey goes deep into games. That should mean a lot of win chances, and the Reds have a great bullpen which should help him keep a lot of those win chances in tact. There’s definitely value in a pitcher who throws 200 innings, even if those innings are only slightly above average, and Bailey will make either a good frequent free agent add or back of the fantasy rotation starter throughout 2013.