Thursday, September 3, 2015

Meet a Prospect: Andrew Bailey

One of the latest September call ups to come out of the Yankees farm system was right-handed relief pitcher Andrew Bailey. Bailey’s story is one of triumph and overcoming adversity as he hasn’t reached the Major Leagues in over two full seasons now as he battled back from a shoulder injury. Bailey has been inside the Yankees organization since early on in the 2014 season and the team has been extremely patient while rehabbing him back onto the mound. The Yankees patience and Bailey’s hard work has finally paid off as he’s back on the mound and back in the majors with the New York Yankees so it’s finally time to meet a prospect, veteran Andrew Bailey.

Andrew Scott Bailey was born on May 31, 1984 in Voorhees, New Jersey where he spent his high schools days at Paul VI High School in Haddon Township, New Jersey. Bailey stayed local for his college years as well when he attended Wagner College in Staten Island, New York where he played college baseball. Bailey did enough to garner the attention of MLB scouts while at Wagner and was selected in the sixth round, 188th overall, in the 2006 MLB First Year Players Draft by the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics wasted no time getting Bailey acclimated to his professional career as the team immediately started him in Double-A fresh out of the draft. A season and a half later the Athletics had Bailey representing them in the Arizona Fall League as a member of the Phoenix Desert Dogs and by 2009 he was pitching out of Billy Beane’s bullpen on Opening Day.

Bailey once again wasted no time putting himself on the map as he represented the Athletics in the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis while breaking the Athletics rookie save record with his 24th save of the season. Bailey finished his rookie campaign with 26 saves and a 1.84 ERA earning the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year Award in November. Bailey’s name was on the map, which is never a good sign for a young player on a team run by Billy Beane, and he was traded to the Boston Red Sox before the 2012 season along with Ryan Sweeney for Josh Reddick and two minor league players. Bailey lasted until April of 2012 before learning that he would require reconstructive surgery on his right thumb. That thumb kept Bailey out of action until August 14, 2012 limiting the right-hander to just 15.1 innings.

Bailey was injured once again for Boston in 2013 but this time he suffered a shoulder injury that would cost him the entire 2013 season after getting into just 30 games and compiling eight saves. Bailey had torn his capsule in his shoulder and damaged the labrum in his throwing shoulder which sent him for an immediate surgery to repair the arm on July 24th. The Red Sox non-tendered Bailey making him a free agent after 2013 and the New York Yankees came calling on February 22, 2014 signing Bailey to a minor league deal for not only the 2014 season but the 2015 season as well. Signing a player to a two year minor league deal was relatively unheard of at the time but New York apparently had confidence in his shoulder and his ability to work himself back from the career threatening injury.

Bailey suffered numerous setbacks in 2014 which kept him out of the entire season forcing New York to sign him to a new minor league deal for the 2015 season. Bailey was invited to spring training and almost made Joe Girardi’s bullpen out of spring training before another set of setbacks forced him back down to the minor leagues. Bailey is finally healthy and finally ready to show himself, the team that took a waiver on him and the rest of the league that he’s back and back with a vengeance. Welcome back Andrew and welcome to the Yankees family, officially. We’re glad to have you. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)