Reds pitcher Homer Bailey hasn't lived up to expectations this season. After taking a huge step forward in 2013, there was hope Bailey had finally realized his full potential. That hasn't happened. Through 51 1/3 innings, Bailey has posted a less-than-stellar 5.44 ERA. While Fantasy owners may want to cut bait, there are reasons to believe he can figure things out.
The biggest problem Bailey has faced thus far is left-handed hitters. Take a look at how Bailey has performed against righties and lefties this season.
* The "BF" column represents batters faced.
Against righties, Bailey has been fairly dominant. In fact, those are virtually the same rates Bailey posted against right-handers last year. Aside from a higher-than-normal slugging percentage, which is a result of a poor home run rate, Bailey has been dominant against righties.
The elephant in the room is the "lefties" row. Bailey has only faced 97 left-handers thus far, but he's been terrible against them. It's tough to pinpoint the exact reason for these struggles. His pitch usage has been similar against lefties over the past two years. Bailey is using his four-seam fastball slightly more in 2014. That's come at the expense of his splitter. Looking at last year's numbers, the change makes sense. Lefties hit .310 off Bailey's splitter in 2013, according to BrooksBaseball.net. They hit just .248 on his four-seam fastball. This year, the fastball has been useless against left-handers. Lefties are hitting .417, with three home runs on Bailey's heater thus far.
It's pretty clear that this has become a legitimate problem. At the same time, there are some reasons to believe he'll get a handle on the issue. Bailey has never had these types of struggles against lefties in the past, so it doesn't make sense for him to suddenly stink against them now. On top of that, his BABIP and home run rate should drop against them as the season goes on. That's not to say Bailey's struggles are a result of bad luck. He's been awful against left-handers for reasons that I can't explain while looking over his stats. But given his history, and some of the underlying numbers, there's reason to think he'll get things sorted out. Don't bail on him yet.