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Updating the Top 100: Homer Bailey

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Cincinnati Reds v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

[Author’s note] A bunch of years ago, I wrote a series of player capsules in which I attempted to rank the top 100 players in Cincinnati Reds history. Trying to balance career totals, peak quality, and consistency of performance, I made a list and have subsequently updated that list. The most current ranking is linked here. The next several days will provide my 2018 updates, including any “honorable mention” players (think top 250 or so). Any disagreements with the existing list or current updates should be directed to Wick. [/note]

In their franchise history, the Cincinnati Reds have handed out three contracts totaling somewhere north of $100 million. One of those three currently has a plaque in Cooperstown. Another one of the three should make plans to prepare his Hall of Fame induction speech in a dozen years or so. The third guy will eventually retire with a losing record and an ERA+ under 100.

I think we have reached the point with Homer Bailey where the performances are more astonishing than they are discouraging. Discouragement infers some level of positive expectation!

Consider:

· Homer Bailey had a 1-14 pitching record with five no-decisions that the team all lost. Excluding those 20 starts the Reds were just six games under .500.

· His one win came on May 12 against the Dodgers; he gave up ten hits and two walks in five innings in that affair.

· One out of every eight fly balls surrendered by Bailey this year left the yard.

· On the occasions when Bailey lasted long enough in a game to face the opposing lineup a third time, those opposing hitters owned a batting line of .376/.431/.632.

What more can you say?

Bailey finished 2018 with a 1-14 record and a 6.09 ERA (69 ERA+) over 106.3 innings. Over twelve seasons with the team and 212 games started, he has been charged with 67 wins against 77 losses and his career ERA of 4.56 equates to an ERA+ of 89 over 1230.3 innings. His penultimate strikeout in the 2018 campaign marked #1,000 for his career. On the basis of his difficult 2018 season, Bailey falls on the all-time Reds ranking from #228 to #235. He was traded to the Dodgers in December as part of the Wood/Puig/Kemp deal and was promptly released by Los Angeles.