The Kansas City Royals could have a real steal with Homer Baile!
I know, look at his last few seasons and there is not much to be excited about. Just like any signing like this, he was cheap and available for a reason. A 6.00 ERA last year doesn’t exactly give you much confidence of future success. The Kansas City Royals gave him a Minor League contract so there is little risk if he has nothing left. Homer Bailey will probably either show some potential or be released.
Bailey at one time was one of baseballs best starting pitchers. With “Two No Hitters” under his belt, he pitched well with what was an average to bad team. The Cincinnati Reds stadium is a band box too. It’s not a great place to pitch the majority of your innings. It’s been his only home stadium for his entire career. Injuries, of course, are the reason he finds himself in the position he is in.
So the real question is, what does he have left in the tank? The Royals signed him because he was throwing 97 miles an hour according to Jeffrey Flanagan. That’s more than enough velocity to get big league hitters out.
If he can get at least one of his off speed pitches to work, he is at least a potential reliever. With at least three pitches working, he could be a quality starter who can help this team. A veteran presence which is something Royals management wants around a young and inexperienced team. An asset that could be used to obtain players in a trade, later in the year.
One of the things I like about Bailey is control has never really been a problem for him. He attacks the zone. His walk rate was up in 2017, but it was back down in 2018. He mainly left a few too many pitches out over the sweet part of the plate. That was his big problem in Cincinnati. A place where mistakes generally go over the fence.
He gave up 23 home runs last year in 106.1 innings. He should benefit greatly from the confines of Kauffman Stadium. A stronger defense will help his numbers as well. He knows how good Billy Hamilton is but will like Alex Gordon‘s work as well in the big yard.
For a player who is recovering from injuries and surgeries, it takes time. Some more than others. For pitchers, control in the zone is the hardest and the last part of recovery. The ability to put the ball within an inch or two where they want it. Not just over the plate for a strike. Some never get it back. Bailey should be at the point where that type of control should achievable.
His arm is strong enough to do the job. Working with Royals catchers will help too. Any of them. He can throw his breaking pitches down with confidence and know few will reach the backstop. They are all good at blocking pitches in the dirt and keeping runners honest.
The bottom line is this. For two years, Bailey was a excellent starter. He threw 417 innings, struck out 367 batters, ERA’s of 3.68 and 3.49 and WHIP’s of 1.24 and 1.12. If we can get anything close to that kind of production, this signing could be the best of the off season. It has the greatest upside potential.