Lot’s of stuff in today’s Enquirer:

John Fay has an article partially about Homer Bailey and partially about the Reds attempt to develop pitchers.

Bailey’s name is at the top of the list when Reds insiders are asked about potential No. 1s.

“He’s got the big arm,” big-league pitching coach Vern Ruhle said. “He has a lot of ability. If he matures mentally and physically, he’s got that potential.”

Bailey, who was the seventh pick overall in the 2004 draft, is 5-4 with a 4.34 ERA in the low Single-A Midwest League.

His stuff is what puts him at the top of the list.

“I don’t know if I’d ever grade anyone out as a No. 1 (starter),” Ellis said. “But he has the stuff to be a frontline starter.”

The other pitchers most mentioned for having No. 1 potential are Ty Pelland and Rafael Gonzalez.

Pelland, a 21-year-old left-hander obtained in the Scott Williamson trade from Boston in 2003, is 4-6 with a 4.06 ERA at Single-A Sarasota.

Gonzalez, a 19-year-old right-hander who was the fourth-round pick in 2004, is 3-0 with a 3.29 ERA at Billings. He went 3-5 with a 9.35 ERA at Dayton before getting demoted.

So none of the three is close to the big leagues.

“We know you can’t rush things,” O’Brien said.

FWIW, while I was in Florida I heard that Howington was getting ready to get some rehab starts with the GCL Reds soon.

Fay’s Reds Insider column talks about Mercker/Weathers/the closer’s role and the “Moneyball” theory of the value of a closer.

But if Oakland general manager Billy Beane were running the Reds, he wouldn’t spend big bucks for a closer. Someone like Matt Belisle, Jason Standridge or Chris Booker probably would close in 2006.

One of the theories in the book that made Beane famous, “Moneyball,” has to do with closers. Beane, according to the book, thinks closers are overpaid because of the attention saves get. The typical save – bases empty in the ninth – is relatively easy to achieve.

“You could take a slightly above-average pitcher and drop him in the closer role, let him accumulate a gaudy number of saves, and then sell him off,” Beane said in the book.

I’d like to see Belisle in the rotation. And Fay makes no mention of Wagner, which makes you wonder if he’s being written off already as another first round bust.

The Insider also talks about someting from Baseball America:

Baseball America has an interesting report on its Web site (www.baseballamerica.com) about Major League Baseball considering radical changes for the draft and player development. MLB is considering moving back the draft and eliminating the Gulf Coast and Arizona Leagues. The reason is to cut expenses.

I can’t believe this would help develop players, in fact, it would take player’s longer to get the big leagues w/o these leagues, IMO.

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