Drafted out of high school in the first round in 2004, Bailey was the team’s top prospect for years, arguably one of the top pitching prospects in baseball and started the Futures Game in 2006, lighting up the radar gun with a 98 mph fastball.
Bailey’s star seemed to drop like a 12-to-6 curveball.
After a two-hit, one-run performance in seven innings against Oakland in his third big league start, he was hammered by Philadelphia and St. Louis. His sixth outing in the big leagues still sticks with him – after giving up only two hits and a run in five innings, he was told his day was done. He’d thrown 86 pitches, probably more than he should in five innings, but he had enough to go another inning, even by the most conservative standards.
“(Then-pitching coach) Dick (Pole) told me they wanted to take me out. I knew something was not right and that day I got sent down, and I didn’t know what I did,” Bailey said. “Was I supposed to win every one? Was I that bad? I didn’t understand.”