Homer Bailey Could be a Solid Upgrade to the Twins Rotation
Image courtesy of © Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY SportsRemember in 2013 when Homer Bailey had a 3.49 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and a 4.1 fWAR that led to the Reds extending him for six years/$105 million? He didn’t exactly live up to that contract, accumulating only 2.8 fWAR until 2019 when he started to get back on track with a 2.9 fWAR. My favorite year was probably 2018 when he went 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA. Anyway, enough with the awful years and time to focus on why I think Bailey could be effective this season.
Bailey was likely signed by the Twins because of how he performed after being dealt to Oakland last season. He pitched at least five innings in 11 of his 13 starts after being dealt and also allowed three or fewer earned runs in all 11 of those games. He was very consistent with a 3.65 FIP in Oakland despite one awful start against the (BANG) Houston Astros. Oh sorry, that was me slamming a baseball bat against a garbage can.
A lot of the success Bailey saw in 2019 was because of his pitch selection. He increased how often he throws his splitter by 10% to get it to 26.4% in 2019 and it was one of the best pitches in baseball. Batters were hitting just .182 with a .302 SLG and .214 wOBA against him on the splitter. Fangraphs rated his splitter as the second best last year, just a tick behind Yu Darvish. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him reach 30% with the splitter in 2020 with the Twins.
The Twins definitely signed Bailey with hopes of him keeping the same level of play he displayed in Oakland. If the Twins can unlock that for a full season then they will suddenly have a great number four starter behind Berrios, Odorizzi, and Pineda with Rich Hill waiting to return. If everything breaks right (that’s a big if), then the Twins could have a really solid rotation. Of course that still doesn’t make up for the Twins failing to land an impact arm on the same level as Berrios or Odorizzi, but we’re making do with what we have right now.
One Twins Daily writer who I know, Matthew Braun, my partner on the Leading Off Podcast, is very high on Baily. Here is a video he posted on his Twitter account of Homer Bailey throwing a splitter:
I’m interested to see what the fans think of signing Homer Bailey. Do you like the signing? Maybe it’s fine as long as the Twins go trade for someone as good or better than Odorizzi. Personally I don’t mind the signing as much as I instinctively did when I first heard the news, but it’s definitely underwhelming. Comment with your thoughts.
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