For those who feel it’s taken Homer Bailey a long time to get to where many, including myself, think he’s going to go…
Someone asked Bill James on his website about Tom Glavine’s slow major league start in relation to other 300 game pitching winners.
Tom Glavine, ages 21-24, first four seasons, 33-41, 89 ERA+
Walter Johnson, ages 19-21, first three seasons, 32-48, 122 ERA+
Tim Keefe, ages 23-25, first three seasons, 41-59, 108 ERA+
Nolan Ryan, ages 19-24, first five seasons, 29-38, 98 ERA+
Gaylord Perry, ages 23-26, first four seasons, 24-30, 97 ERA+
Don Sutton, ages 21-23, first three seasons, 34-42, 95 ERA+
Early Wynn, ages 19-28, first eight seasons, 72-87, 92 ERA+
Lefty Grove, ages 25-26, first two seasons, 23-25, 126 ERA+
Randy Johnson,ages 24-25, first two seasons, 10-13, 88 ERA+
James’s quote: “A slow start is at least as much the rule as the exception for a 300-game winner.”
Current Reds pitchers in comparison:
Homer Bailey, ages 21-24, first four seasons, 16-16, 83 ERA+
Edinson Volquez, ages 21-23, first three seasons, 3-11, 65 ERA+
Johnny Cueto, ages 22-24, first three seasons, 32-32, 98 ERA+
And for some recent Reds pitchers, albeit not 300 game winners:
Mario Soto, ages 20-22, first three seasons, 6-8, 79 ERA+
Jose Rijo, ages 19-22, first four seasons, 19-30, 83 ERA+
Jim Maloney, ages 20-22, first three seasons, 17-20, 98 ERA+
Jeff Russell, ages 21-23, first three seasons, 13-29, 84 ERA+
No one’s promising that Bailey — or Cueto or Volquez — is going to win 300 games, much less 100, and, yes, it could be said that I was cherry picking the ages, but that’s the nature of what I’m saying. Anything can happen with these guys since they have real pitching ability. I think the potential is there and management has to rely on their talent scouts to make the best call. The Reds have an excess of young pitching, and it’s tempting to deal it away, but Pete Rose was recently quoted as saying to Reds owner Bob Castellini “Once you get to the point where you think you’ve got a lot of pitching, go out and get some more. That’s what wins. You never have too much pitching.” I also believe that Bob Howsam’s dealing of excessive young pitching talent in the 1970’s is actually what brought a premature end to the Big Red Machine.
I much prefer to deal away young pitching talent like the Atlanta Braves used to deal it away…overstate the value and get something in return, like they did with Rob Bell to the Reds, Bruce Chen to the Phillies, Ruben Quevedo to the Cubs, and Damian Moss and Merkin Valdez to the Giants. Walt Jocketty has already pulled one of these off in last year’s Scott Rolen for Zach Stewart/Josh Roenicke/Edwin Encarnacion deal. After all, all relief pitchers start in a rotation sometime before going to the pen and there’s nothing to prevent them from re-entering the rotation at a later date.