Jun 29, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey (34) smiles after pitching a complete game shutout against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. The Reds won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Homers (and more) are Hurting Homer Bailey in 2014

One of my favorite players in fantasy has been Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds after I was able to draft him last year fairly late and enjoy a fantastic season in 2013.  I have always been impressed with his stuff and figured he would be able to repeat last year, but I may have been wrong about that.

I compared some of Homer Bailey’s numbers from 2013 to 2014, and here is what I examined:

 
ERA
FIP
xFIP
BABIP
K/9
BB/9
GB%
LOB%
HR/FB%
20133.493.313.34.2848.572.3346.1%73.7%10.2%
20144.213.913.54.3128.032.9149.9%74.4%13.3%

My conclusions from these numbers are that Homer Bailey has regressed from his 2013 form, but it is only partially due to bad luck.

Homer’s ERA and FIP have both taken a pretty major hit, but his xFIP has only jumped .2.  This indicates that Bailey’s struggles are accurate, but it also shows that he probably has given up a lot of home runs because his xFIP is .37 lower than his FIP.

If we check out his HR/FB%, then we see it has jumped from 10.2% in 2013 to 13.3% in 2014.  The league average is probably somewhere close to 10.5% because xFIP uses 10.5% for their statistic as what they consider the league wide rate.  Homer Bailey started giving up more homers this season in a great irony due to his name, but I would expect that number to regress to the mean as the season continues.

The major jump in BABIP from .284 to .312 shows that he has lost the little bit of luck that helped propel him last season, but the negative jump in many other numbers show that the 4.21 ERA and 1.33 WHIP are more than just bad luck.

His strikeouts are down and his walks are up, so these two stats further indicate slight deterioration of his skills.  Based on season totals from 2013 and 2014, it is very fair to say that Homer Bailey is a worse pitcher this year.

While the decline may have disappointed his many fantasy owners and myself who were expecting big things, there is a silver lining.

Since his start on May 23rd, Homer Bailey has turned the corner.  Take a look for yourself:

ERA
FIP
xFIP
BABIP
K/9
BB/9
GB%
LOB%
HR/FB%
3.26 3.273.43 .2808.012.7148.9%75.3%8.2%

The walks and strikeouts are still not at the level they were back in 2013, but the luck has returned (BABIP is .280 now) and the HR/FB% has plummeted.  These numbers are what everyone has expected from what should have been their third starting pitcher on most teams.

From a purely fantasy perspective, Homer Bailey owns a 3.26 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 59 strikeouts, 5-2 record, and six quality starts in his last ten starts.  Even though the season long numbers are still disappointing, all that matters is going forward in fantasy.  I think it is now fair to say that Homer Bailey is back and safe to deploy every start even with decreased strikeout and walk rates.

Tags: Cincinnati Reds Homer Bailey MLB Starting Pitchers

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