(image by wikipedia)
The Reds' pitching was generally mediocre last year, but they were greatly improved at the end of the season.
April: 11-10, 4.11 ERA
May: 15-13, 4.08
June: 11-15, 4.02
July: 8-19, 5.58
August: 13-16, 4.13
September: 18-9, 3.04
They finished the season 15-5 in their final 20 games. One of the biggest reasons for the turnaround was that Homer Bailey emerged after a terrible start to the season. Bailey had struggled ever since he was first brought up in 2007 at age 21.
2007: 4-2, 5.76
2008: 0-6, 7.93
2009 2-4, 7.53 (pre-August 20th)
6-1, 1.71 ERA (post-August 20th)
2007-August 20th, 2009: 6-12, 7.03
August 21-end of 2009 season: 6-1, 1.71
A few years ago, Homer Bailey was considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, but maybe he was brought up a little too soon. After getting a taste of the big leagues over the past few years, he might have figured it out. Some pitchers just take a little longer, like Edwin Jackson, who was also a can't miss pitcher when he was first brought up in 2003, and he didn't have a good season until 2009.
The Reds probably aren't ready to compete regardless of what Bailey does, but Arroyo and Bailey could be a nice 1-2 punch next year, and Edinson Volquez could return strong at some point in 2010 after Tommy John surgery too.