Reds pick Texas high school pitcher

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 8, 2004

CINCINNATI - David ''Homer'' Bailey, who had a minuscule 0.49 earned run average while winning all 14 games he started this year as a high school senior in Texas, was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the first round of Monday's baseball draft.

''I'm as excited as I could be,'' said Bailey, the seventh pick overall in the draft taken from La Grange High School.

Bailey, 18, also had two saves and struck out 187 in 85 2/3 innings this season. He walked 15 batters and hit 17. Opponents batted just .106 (30-for-238).

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''You always want a pitcher like this,'' said Terry Reynolds, conducting his first draft as Cincinnati's director of amateur scouting.

Reynolds said Bailey's fastball averages 92 to 96 mph and he has a sharp breaking pitch.

General manager Dan O'Brien said he saw Bailey pitch in a tournament game about three weeks ago.

''It was a man playing with boys,'' O'Brien said.

It is the second year in a row that the Reds took a Texas pitcher with their first pick.

Last year, the Reds picked University of Houston closer Ryan Wagner in the first round. Wagner made just nine minor-league appearances before making his major league debut last July 19.

As a Yoakum High School senior in 2001, Wagner was beaten by then-freshman Bailey in a Class 3-A regional final. La Grange went on to win the Class 3-A championship that year.

''La Grange and Yoakum aren't very far apart,'' said Bailey, whose nickname ''Homer'' is the name of his great-grandfather. ''We always play them once or twice a year.''

''As a freshman, he wasn't afraid to compete against older guys,'' Reynolds said.