Red Reposter - Is Leake ready for the Show?

CNATI - Harang has 'crap game'
Aaron Harang got knocked around pretty well in his start yesterday against Colorado. After working on his mechanics (including lengthening his stride) this winter with new pitching coach Bryan Price, Harang hopes to be able to keep the ball down more than in years past.  Yesterday, it didn't work. "He was getting the ball up today and he didn't have a real good feel on his breaking stuff," Dusty Baker said. "Everything was up. When you do that - especially against that club, because they can hit - the outcome usually isn't going to be good."  Hopefully Harang is leaving his poor games in Arizona. He'll have one more start on Tuesday before the regular season.

BREAKING NEWS: No fifth starter decision made - yet
Per Fay, Jocketty has it narrowed down to Justin Lehr, Mike Leake, Travis Wood, and Matt Maloney. I've been out of pocket the past few days, but I thought I read that Maloney was definitely going to start in Louisville. Huh. If Mike Leake were to start with the Reds, it would mark the first time in a long while a prior year draftee was on the big league team on OD.

Rob Neyer - Will Cincy's Leake make the Big Jump?
How long?  According to Rob Neyer, no prior year draftee pitcher has started with the big league team on OD since Jim Abbott.  Neyer notes that teams are perhaps too conservative with guys like Mike Leake.  For a near finished product, Neyer sees "little sense in wasting a few hundred innings in the minors and giving them that many more chances to get hurt before they help you win. Mike Leake might be one of those guys who doesn't need those few weeks or months -- let alone years -- in the minors, but I still don't think he'll get the job right now."  Baseball Daily Digest doesn't like rushing young pitchers, though they're talking about Aroldis Chapman (HT to Doug Gray).

Peter Gammons - Reds dream big with Chapman
Gammons writes a pretty solid preview of the Reds and keeps my heart aflutter about Aroldis Chapman. The buzz about his changeup is striking given that Chapman only learned the pitch a few weeks ago. Sayeth Gammons: Here is this 22-year-old kid with the body of a young Randy Moss and the wingspan of a great blue heron, and out of his hand came a changeup for a strike. Perfect arm speed, dead fish.

Doug Gray projects the Reds at 86-76
In his news and notes yesterday, Doug published his individual player projections for the Reds this year and concludes that based on their runs scored and against, the team should finish around 86-76. Most of the improvement is projected to come from the hitting, especially Jay Bruce. I sure hope Doug's right.  But I'd take the under on Hernandez, Phillips and maybe Stubbs.

Diamond Hoggers - Team shuns request for Jay Bruce interview
I've enjoyed the work done by the guys at Diamond Hoggers, so I'm sorry to hear that the team declined their request for a Jay Bruce interview.  I can understand the team's perspective that it can't grant anyone and everyone an interview request.  But it does perhaps show that the Reds are unwilling to embrace bloggers as a legitimate source of information for fans.  The Reds are certainly behind franchises like the A's when it comes to courting the new media.  

Red Hot Mama wonders about Homer Bailey's "pitch face"
If things go well for Homer Bailey, we'll be seeing a lot of his "pitch face" this season!

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