#44 / Pitcher / Cincinnati Reds
Nov 12, 1987
- Mike Leake, born in San Diego, California was a member of the San Diego Sting - a youth team that featured Stephen Strasburg, Brett Bochy, and Yankees farmhand Thomas Neal. Leake remembered Strasburg as "the kid who used to cry when he struck out."
- Leake attended Valley Center High School for two years before transferring to Fallbrook High School for his junior and senior years. His ERA in his final two years of high school was 1.87, where he won the Avocado League Pitcher of the Year Award both seasons.
- In 2006, Leake was drafted by the Oakland A's in the 7th round of the draft. He chose not to sign and attend school at Arizona State University. There he began his freshman season as the team's closer, but somewhat ironically, was moved from the bullpen to the rotation. As a sophomore, Leake won the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Award after going 11-3 with a 3.49 ERA, and racking up 104 Ks in 121.1 innings. In his junior year, Leake shot up draft boards by turning in one of the most dominant seasons in Arizona State history (16-1, 1.71 ERA, 162 K, 24 BB, 142 IP), and won the Pac-10 PoY award for the second consecutive year. He was no slouch at the plate either, slashing .299/.402/.485 in 97 collegiate at-bats.
- The Reds selected Leake 8th overall in the 2009 draft, and gave him a $2.3 million signing bonus. Other 2009 Reds draftees include Brad Boxberger, Billy Hamilton, Donnie Joseph, Josh Fellhauer and Tucker Barnhardt.
- In 2010, Leake won the 5th starter battle over Travis Wood becoming the 7th Reds player to skip the minor leagues. Leake was the first major leaguer to bypass the minors since Xavier Nady of the Pirates did it in 2000, and he was the first pitcher to accomplish the feat since Jim Abbott in 1989.
- Leake started the 2010 season undefeated in his first 12 starts (5-0) before tallying his first loss on June 16th against the Dodgers. He wore down as the season went on and made his last start on August 14th against the Marlins. He was placed on the DL with shoulder fatigue in late August, after two awful bullpen appearances, and was eventually shut down for the season.
- Statistically speaking, 2011 was the best season of Leake's young career, but it was not without it's share of conflict. On April 18th, Leake was arrested by the Cincinnati Police for allegedly shoplifting $59.88 worth of T-shirts from the downtown Macy's store. Leake claimed it was all a misunderstanding, and eventually pled to a lesser charge. Leake also made his first and only trip to the minors in 2011, as he was sent down to make room on the roster for Jose Arredondo. He threw 7.1 innings over two games before getting called back up to the Reds.
- In 2012, Leake posted the highest ERA (4.58) of his career. His rate stats were all right around his career norms, with the exception of his HR/FB which jumped up 3% in 2012.
- He has "gentle eyes" according to Dusty Baker
- June 9, 2009: Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1st round of the 2009 amateur draft.
- August 17, 2009: Signed with the Cincinnati Reds.
MLB Service Time: 3.00
Leake avoided his first year of arbitration by signing a one-year, $3.06 million contract in February 2013.
via The Baseball Cube
Nothing really surprising here. Leake is a finesse pitcher that gets by with command rather than stuff. The only thing preventing him from being an above average major league starter is his propensity to give up wangers. If he can manage to get his home run rate down to a more reasonable level, Leake could be a very valuable asset for the Reds.
Most of these projections came out before the Chapman decision was made public, so the IP totals are a little low for some. The Oliver system was the most optimistic of the bunch (171 IP, 3.84 ERA) while ZIPS was the most bleak (166.7 IP, 4.59 ERA). Hi, Dan!