Homer returns to Dayton – 2005 flashback
Monday night marks the return of Homer Bailey to the Dayton Dragons and Fifth Third Field. The Cincinnati Reds’ former top prospect is returning to Dayton as a part his rehabilitation assignment for an inflamed right shoulder.
Bailey was drafted with the seventh overall pick in the first round in the June 2004 amateur draft. After six games with the Gulf Coast League Reds in 2004, he joined the Dragons to start the 2005 season.
In 28 games during his only season in the Midwest League, Bailey went 8-4 for the Fire Breathers with 125 strike outs and a 4.43 ERA. He was twice named the league’s pitcher of the week.
Throughout the 2005 season, Bailey held opposing batters to a .232 batting average. Following the season, Baseball America named him the second-best prospect in the Midwest League.
Over the next two seasons, Bailey started moving up the ladder in the Reds’ organization. He spent 2006 with the Sarasota Reds and then the Chattanooga Lookouts. That same season Bailey was the winning pitcher in Major League Baseball’s 2006 All-Star Futures Game in Pittsburgh.
Bailey’s big performance in the futures game was just the start of the accolades Bailey received that season. He went on to win Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award as Cincinnati’s Minor League Player of the Year and that season was voted by Baseball America as the top prospect in both the Southern League and Florida State League.
The hurler received the call-up to the major leagues on June 7, 2007. He would split time between Cincinnati and the Triple-A Louisville Bats over the next two seasons before finally earning a permanent play in the Reds’ starting rotation this season.