For the second time in as many years, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey has thrown a no-hitter. While this puts him with some historic company, it is still debatable whether Bailey stands as a top pitcher in MLB today.
His latest victim was the San Francisco Giants Tuesday.
Bailey earned his fifth win of the season by striking out nine batters and walking only one en route to his no-hit bid.
This no-hitter puts Bailey with some special company.
Homer Bailey has a pair of no-hitters in which he walked only 1 hitter. That puts him in exclusive company pic.twitter.com/pPFSMWtnes— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 3, 2013
After the game was complete, Twitter had much to say in the way of congratulating Bailey.
Congrats to Homer Bailey on his second career no-hitter! pic.twitter.com/oXeOoSpJMM— MLB Fan Cave (@MLBFanCave) July 3, 2013
Congratulations, Homer Bailey. Wow!— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 3, 2013
This no-hitter begs the question though as to where Bailey stands currently as a top pitcher in the league. Has he turned the corner and made his way onto the path towards greatness?
Bailey wasn't always throwing no-hitters. He was a first-round draft pick in 2004 and struggled to meet expectations.
Steven Goldman of SB Nation writes that Bailey may be starting to show signs of progress:
Having selected him with the seventh-overall pick of the 2004 draft, the Reds spent more than five years giving Bailey major-league auditions and hoping for consistency. They didn't get it until roughly the midway point of last season, when Bailey settled in for a strong second half climaxed by his September 28 no-hitter against a Pittsburgh lineup so weak that it brings to mind the Bob Dylan composition "I'm Not There."
While Bailey has accomplished something few pitchers in baseball history have, it seems hard to put him in the same conversation as Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw.
Bailey has only won more than 10 games one time in his six years. He also has struggled giving up the long ball at times.
This is not to say that Bailey isn't a good pitcher or that he isn't starting to show signs that he is deserving of being the seventh-overall pick in the 2004 draft. Bailey's work up to this point just doesn't put him in the elite category.
Edwin Jackson, Matt Garza and Philip Humber have all thrown a no-hitter or perfect game in the past three years. It is safe to say that none of these pitchers are in the elite category either.
What Bailey has done is nothing short of magical. Throwing no-hitters in back-to-back seasons is something to be more than proud of.
The 27-year-old pitcher will have to put a few strong seasons together though and become the ace of his own staff before he can be considered elite.
All stats, unless otherwise indicated, come from ESPN.com