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camisadelgolf
06-09-2009, 07:21 PM
I suppose we can start an official thread for the Reds' first round selection, Mike Leake.

I just listened to an interview with Chris Buckley regarding Leake that's pretty interesting.
http://twaud.io/r6

OnBaseMachine
06-09-2009, 07:28 PM
“Mike is a very polished pitcher with a good delivery and lots of poise. He is an impressive looking athlete who has a great deal of ability and an excellent command of four pitches. We are excited to add this caliber of pitcher to our organization,” said Buckley.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/entries/2009/06/09/reds_select_righthanded_pitche.html

Mario-Rijo
06-09-2009, 07:32 PM
Mike Leake
RHP | Arizona State
Weight: 180 lbs.
Height: 6-0

Summary: Leake is a typical command right-hander, featuring a four-pitch mix (watch scouting video) without a single knockout pitch but with good life on his two-seamer and a solid-average curve. He'll pitch at 88-92 mph, with a hard, late tailing action that makes it more effective than a typical fastball with fringe-average to average velocity. His curve has a short, two-plane break and appears to pop out of his hand, with a break that accelerates as it comes toward the hitter. He throws a hard changeup around 82 mph with a slight tailing action and showed a slider around 79-80 mph with decent tilt. He commands all four pitches and throws strikes, and works very quickly. He's a good athlete who plays some outfield for ASU and fields his position well as a pitcher. Leake's delivery is compact with just a little head movement at the end as he releases the ball. His arm is quick and its path behind his body isn't long, partly due to the fact he separates his hands early as he moves them down from their peak point in his windup. His performance has put him solidly into the middle of the first round, and he should be relatively quick to the majors as a more or less finished product right now.



Player Grades
PRESENT FUTURE LOW (MPH) HIGH (MPH)
Fastball 50 50 88 92
FB Movement 50 60 -- --
Command 50 55 -- --
Control 55 60 -- --
Curveball 50 50 75 77
Slider 45 50 79 80
Changeup 50 50 80 82
Feel for Pitching 55 60 -- --

lollipopcurve
06-09-2009, 07:34 PM
Micah Owings and now Leake. In my opinion, it's clear the organization is putting a premium on guys who who are complete baseball players who compete hard. Love the pick.

OnBaseMachine
06-09-2009, 07:35 PM
I like this pick. Baseball America compares Leake to Tim Hudson because of his small frame and repertoire.

reds1869
06-09-2009, 07:41 PM
Great pick. Leake will be with the big club sooner than most of the other top pitchers on the board. As another poster mentioned, he has a high floor and is almost a lock to contribute solidly at the MLB level.

D-Man
06-09-2009, 07:46 PM
Summary: Leake is a typical command right-hander, featuring a four-pitch mix (watch scouting video) without a single knockout pitch

That's a backhanded, Jeff Austinesque compliment.

Let's hope the results are more Hudson-like or Oswaltlicious.

chicoruiz
06-09-2009, 07:47 PM
BA mentions that while he is able to dial his fastball up to 94 on occasion, he's found that it gets better movement at 88-92. Sounds like a guy who's actually had a thought or two...

Joseph
06-09-2009, 08:12 PM
Someone explain to me why this is a better TALENT pick than Crow or White. I'm ignorant when it comes to amateur ball for the most part, but this guy didn't excite me when announced. I was sure it would be Crow.

membengal
06-09-2009, 08:17 PM
The gist seems to be that he's more projectable. I like the part about the plus plus command of all four of his pitches that was in one of the write-ups. No mechanical issues.

Absolutely ridiculous good numbers in a tough Pac 10 league. 150 Ks in 132 innings tells me that he isn't a "guile" pitcher. He's nasty. The big issue seems to be his height, and, frankly, I am not one who gets bothered by that.

Blitz Dorsey
06-09-2009, 08:23 PM
I think the Reds did a good job here. I wanted Crow, but I'm happy with Leake if that makes any sense.

Rojo
06-09-2009, 08:25 PM
Guys like Leake are great pickups -- if they fall in the draft. For an early first-round, I don't like.

defender
06-09-2009, 08:30 PM
I like the philosophy of building a team with a defense that catches the ball and pitchers that don't walk batters.

Blitz Dorsey
06-09-2009, 08:34 PM
Guys like Leake are great pickups -- if they fall in the draft. For an early first-round, I don't like.

Who would you have taken then? Crow?

Caveat Emperor
06-09-2009, 08:39 PM
His scouting report reads like a guy who has already reached his ceiling.

In no way does this read like "best player available" -- it reads like "player who will make it to the bigs quickest."

Superdude
06-09-2009, 08:40 PM
150 Ks in 132 innings tells me that he isn't a "guile" pitcher. He's nasty.

The scouting report definitely doesn't sound "nasty". Solid, but not nasty.

Caveat Emperor
06-09-2009, 08:41 PM
The scouting report definitely doesn't sound "nasty". Solid, but not nasty.

Aside from the "great athlete" part, it reads like what someone might write about Aaron Harang.

I like Aaron Harang a lot, but I'm not sure I'd draft the college version of Aaron Harang and hope his stuff holds up on the road to the bigs.

The "no out pitch" line worries the hell out of me. That was the knock on Sean Wastson coming out of college as well, and it's held through his entire amateur career.

membengal
06-09-2009, 08:42 PM
Pac 10.

He did that in the Pac 10.

There are other scouting reports on him that are more glowing. Try not to fixate on just that one.

membengal
06-09-2009, 08:45 PM
Here's another scouting report:


Biographical Data
Player Name: Mike Leake
Position: Starting Pitcher
School: Arizona State University
School Type: College
Academic Class: Junior
Birthdate: 11/12/87
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 180 lbs.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Report Date: 02/26/09
Game: Missouri


Focus Area Comments
Fastball: Leake threw his fastball from 88-94 mph. It sat comfortably around 91 mph.
Fastball movement: There was above-average sink and plenty of side-to-side movement, with some run to it. He changes arm angles for different looks.
Slider: It's a hard, downward slider, thrown 79-82 mph.
Curve: An average offering ... not an out pitch. He can throw it for strikes in the 73-76 mph range.
Changeup: Close to a plus pitch and he'll throw it at any point in the count.
Control: He has plus, plus command, perhaps a 70 on the scouting scale.
Poise: It's a plus, plus attribute. He has the presence to pitch in the big leagues right now. He's more of a lead-by-example guy -- soft-spoken, but confident.
Physical Description: Leake is an undersized righty, but is athletic and strong, kind of like a Tim Hudson type.
Medical Update: Healthy.
Strengths: Four pitches that are all usable and the ability to command all of them extremelly well. He's extremely durable, having thrown as many innings as just about anyone in the class over the past few seasons.
Weaknesses: There's a little hip turn in his delivery, but it doesn't affect him. There will be those who'll be concerned about his size.
Summary: As a six-foot righty, people may want to overlook Leake as a big-time pitching prospect, but they might be missing the boat. He can throw four pitches for strikes and his poise is off the charts. He may not be that big, but he's athletic, strong and durable with an extremely efficient delivery. He's done nothing but perform with the Sun Devils and whoever looks past his size could have themselves a steal.

OnBaseMachine
06-09-2009, 08:45 PM
Baseball America says Leake has wicked stuff. His slider and changeup are above average to plus pitches. He has an out pitch.

membengal
06-09-2009, 08:46 PM
So, no. I don't reflexively hate it. He looks like a guy who has performed and performed well against top competition. With plus stuff.

Superdude
06-09-2009, 08:46 PM
The "no out pitch" line worries the hell out of me. That was the knock on Sean Wastson coming out of college as well, and it's held through his entire amateur career.

That's what scares me too. Polish and command is nice, but you'd like a pitcher inside the top ten to have at least one major put away pitch.

membengal
06-09-2009, 08:48 PM
He reportedly has an "out" pitch. Perhaps two.

Superdude
06-09-2009, 08:53 PM
Has anyone heard more about his slider? Hard downward movement just sounds like a generic description of a slider. If that pitch is at least close to plus, I guess I would like the pick a little more. "wicked" sounds like a major overstatement though.

Caveat Emperor
06-09-2009, 08:54 PM
Baseball America says Leake has wicked stuff. His slider and changeup are above average to plus pitches. He has an out pitch.

His fastball (sitting 91) seems fairly pedestrian, though, for a top-10 pick. We'll have to see what he looks like once he starts facing real competition -- sometimes you can sneak 90-91 MPH stuff by hitters if your secondary offerings are off the charts.

11larkin11
06-09-2009, 08:55 PM
The changeup is Plus. Command is plus plus. Poise is plus plus. Guy knows HOW to pitch, and has the stuff to do it

KoryMac5
06-09-2009, 08:55 PM
Don't love the pick but don't hate it either, I guess I will take a wait and see approach.

Blitz Dorsey
06-09-2009, 08:56 PM
I'd say his change-up sure sounds like an "out pitch." He will throw it anytime.

Good command with all his pitches sounds real good to me as well.

Plus, he flat-out dominated a good baseball conference like the Pac-10. 16-1 with an ERA of 1.79 with more Ks than IP.

DTCromer
06-09-2009, 08:57 PM
Guy knows HOW to pitch, and has the stuff to do it

If true, that's something the Reds have been missing since. . .well, . . .it's been a loong time.

Caveat Emperor
06-09-2009, 08:58 PM
Don't love the pick but don't hate it either, I guess I will take a wait and see approach.

Same boat here. I'm decidedly underwhelmed by the scouting reports, but he sounds like a guy that's got the whole "sum is greater than the parts" thing going on.

Blitz Dorsey
06-09-2009, 08:58 PM
If true, that's something the Reds have been missing since. . .well, . . .it's been a loong time.

Since Cueto came up last year?

DTCromer
06-09-2009, 08:59 PM
Don't love the pick but don't hate it either, I guess I will take a wait and see approach.

When you look at past MLB drafts and the fail rate of most of these players, I'm not sure how anyone could hate or love a pick right away unless there are things that are so obvious to ignore.

DTCromer
06-09-2009, 09:01 PM
Since Cueto came up last year?

Hmmm, I think he's still learning and improving as his HR's given up this year seemed are down a bit. Not there yet.

Joseph
06-09-2009, 09:29 PM
So are we looking at a #2 pitcher here?

Superdude
06-09-2009, 10:03 PM
So are we looking at a #2 pitcher here?

I'd say that's a best case scenario. The consensus seems to be a #3

bucksfan2
06-09-2009, 10:11 PM
If he is a command ground ball pitcher, like the reports I have seen, then I really like the pick. Good sinker ball pitchers don't have great velocity, they keep the ball down the zone, throw strikes, dont allow HR's, and are very good pitchers. I haven't heard anyone describe Brandon Webb as a pitcher who blows you away with stuff. What I have heard said about him is that he throws a heavy ball. At GABP I will take a heavy ball.

LawFive
06-09-2009, 10:29 PM
anyone hear an ETA?

M2
06-09-2009, 11:01 PM
What I like about Leake is the easy stroke on his pitches. That can make your fastball look faster and disguise a changeup something fierce. He destroys timing.

Nothing's guaranteed, but I really liked this guy before the draft.

Caveat Emperor
06-09-2009, 11:22 PM
I haven't heard anyone describe Brandon Webb as a pitcher who blows you away with stuff.

Yet he sports a 7.3 k/9 for his career -- so he's clearly blowing quite a few people away with his stuff.

I watched the MLB.com clip of Leake, and the commentary was "Good competitor, good command, around the plate all the time, but not going to be a high strikeout pitcher." I'm rarely (read: never) in favor of using a high pick on a pitcher who doesn't project to be high-strikeout / power pitcher material. Get your finesse guys later in the draft.

Joseph
06-09-2009, 11:24 PM
So this is one of those picks that might be a hit, but reading between the lines it sounds like we drafted for signability and safety. He's likely to be solid, but not awe inspiring.

Caveat Emperor
06-09-2009, 11:31 PM
So this is one of those picks that might be a hit, but reading between the lines it sounds like we drafted for signability and safety. He's likely to be solid, but not awe inspiring.

Pretty much my read on the situation. I don't think Leake was the best player available, but he was probably the best combination of "likely to sign at slot" and "likely to reach the majors in some capacity." The better players all had a little more risk attached or a few more dollar signs behind their names.

Interesting to note: second straight year the Reds have drafted a player on the fast track to the bigs at a spot on the diamond where there is a logjam of talent. Though, in their defense, it's never a bad thing to have too much pitching.

Mario-Rijo
06-09-2009, 11:35 PM
Yet he sports a 7.3 k/9 for his career -- so he's clearly blowing quite a few people away with his stuff.

I watched the MLB.com clip of Leake, and the commentary was "Good competitor, good command, around the plate all the time, but not going to be a high strikeout pitcher." I'm rarely (read: never) in favor of using a high pick on a pitcher who doesn't project to be high-strikeout / power pitcher material. Get your finesse guys later in the draft.


I like Leake but Leake would have looked a whole lot better with a high ceiling guy with our bonus selection in the supplemental round. What does he do goes and drafts a back of the rotation starter/MR 40 players into the draft! Wow!!?!

fearofpopvol1
06-09-2009, 11:39 PM
The one thing that is starting to annoy me, I must admit, is folks assuming this was a "signability" pick. Unless you have firsthand knowledge (which really most if not all of you naysayers don't), you should knock off the signability claims.

Superdude
06-09-2009, 11:42 PM
I like Leake but Leake would have looked a whole lot better with a high ceiling guy with our bonus selection in the supplemental round. What does he do goes and drafts a back of the rotation starter/MR 40 players into the draft! Wow!!?!

That's what pissed me off. Leake was definitely not my favorite pick, but I thought they were going to use the money and go after someone big in the supplemental round...and then we drafted a guy named Boxberger over Scheppers? It's just frustrating to know that Crow and Scheppers could both have been had if we weren't so cheap.

Caveat Emperor
06-09-2009, 11:47 PM
The one thing that is starting to annoy me, I must admit, is folks assuming this was a "signability" pick. Unless you have firsthand knowledge (which really most if not all of you naysayers don't), you should knock off the signability claims.

No one is claiming any "insider" knowledge -- just doing some speculation based on the available information. It seems like, if signability was no concern, the logical pick would've been Crow -- who is almost universally rated as having better stuff than Leake and is slightly more advanced than Leake in terms of development (having pitched outside of college last year).

bubbachunk
06-09-2009, 11:47 PM
That's what pissed me off. Leake was definitely not my favorite pick, but I thought they were going to use the money and go after someone big in the supplemental round...and then we drafted a guy named Boxberger over Scheppers? It's just frustrating to know that Crow and Scheppers could both have been had if we weren't so cheap.

Ok I am sick of hear this, why can't it be that the people in the organization just liked the makeup of those guys better?! Everyone has their own opinion and the Reds FO may have a different one than yours. Look back in 4-7 years and then bash them but many people in this thread are being far far to rash.

RedlegJake
06-09-2009, 11:49 PM
Boxberger is actually similar to Leake - build/projectability, a bit better fastball, less command, not quite as good secondary pitches but still usable, while Leake is probably best case #2-realistic#3 Boxberger looks to me like a best case#3, realistic 4 or 5 with a good chance he ends up a middle reliever. The main knock on him seems to be whether he can maintain his stuff late in games, he did better at it this year but there have been problems with it in his past

fearofpopvol1
06-09-2009, 11:50 PM
No one is claiming any "insider" knowledge -- just doing some speculation based on the available information. It seems like, if signability was no concern, the logical pick would've been Crow -- who is almost universally rated as having better stuff than Leake and is more advanced (or, at least simialrly advanced) than Leake in terms of development.

This is completely subjective. Many mock drafts had the Reds previously taking Leake. His numbers for the tough PAC 10 in a hitters park are very impressive. I think the speculation has gotten out of control. And I'm usually pretty critical.

RedsManRick
06-09-2009, 11:51 PM
Put me in the camp that likes the pick. Unless there's an absolute no-brainer stud, I'd much prefer the high floor guy over the high ceiling one. Four legitimate pitches. Great command. Clean injury history. Works for me.

BearcatShane
06-09-2009, 11:51 PM
To me, Leake sounds like a very safe pick. I love that, look at the drafts over the last ten years, there is usually 5-9 players who were drafted in round 1 that really did anything. So I think it is smart to take a guy who has a very good chance of being a solid #3 starter over a guy who might be a 1 if he can stay healthy and get better control. Not sure I made sence here but in my own mind I did. ;)

KoryMac5
06-09-2009, 11:53 PM
Personally I think they drafted Leake because they know he has a good chance to be ready by 2011. With Harang and Arroyo being dealt this season you are going to need some movers to take their places in the middle of the 2011 rotation. The only pick I think that was a true signability pick was Matzek, and after listening to his interview with Mlb TV I can see why some teams stayed away.

RedlegJake
06-09-2009, 11:58 PM
Myself I don't mind skipping Crow with his dangerous mechanics, or Scheppers with his shoulder. Those guys weren't signability - they were, imo, simply too high risk for Buckley. Matzek was asking ridiculous money, especially for a high school kid. If he goes Gruler on Colorado that's a ton of cash down the tubes - and its a better bet he flops than he doesn't.

Looks to me the Reds went safe on pitchers and took the gamble on the HS athlete/uber tools but raw Billy Hamilton. The more I look at it the more I like the picks.

jojo
06-09-2009, 11:59 PM
His scouting report reads like a guy who has already reached his ceiling.

In no way does this read like "best player available" -- it reads like "player who will make it to the bigs quickest."

Reading between the lines- "innings eater".

Caveat Emperor
06-10-2009, 12:04 AM
Reading between the lines- "innings eater".

Meet Bronson Arroyo v. 2.0?

Can he play guitar?

jojo
06-10-2009, 12:06 AM
Meet Bronson Arroyo v. 2.0?

Can he play guitar?

Bronson with ground ball tendencies perhaps.

Mario-Rijo
06-10-2009, 12:06 AM
The one thing that is starting to annoy me, I must admit, is folks assuming this was a "signability" pick. Unless you have firsthand knowledge (which really most if not all of you naysayers don't), you should knock off the signability claims.

Why should we? It's a perfectly acceptable thing to assume and or discuss. You want to shut us up, come with a compelling argument that we are wrong. Last year is last year and since it ended we have played it extremely tight to the vest fiscally speaking. Being a bit more conservative is fine in this economy but there are still games to be played and won and they should have spent more or spent those limited funds more wisely.

Blitz Dorsey
06-10-2009, 12:09 AM
Personally I think they drafted Leake because they know he has a good chance to be ready by 2011. With Harang and Arroyo being dealt this season you are going to need some movers to take their places in the middle of the 2011 rotation. The only pick I think that was a true signability pick was Matzek, and after listening to his interview with Mlb TV I can see why some teams stayed away.

Easy there big boy. Reds are still in the race this year and if they can get Votto and Volquez back they are going to be buyers at the deadline, not sellers.

Mario-Rijo
06-10-2009, 12:10 AM
Ok I am sick of hear this, why can't it be that the people in the organization just liked the makeup of those guys better?! Everyone has their own opinion and the Reds FO may have a different one than yours. Look back in 4-7 years and then bash them but many people in this thread are being far far to rash.

Makeup is a great asset but drafting that high it should be accompanied by premium talent. Leake is solid but again taking a back of the rotation starter/MR guy 40 picks in is incomprehensible.

Cedric
06-10-2009, 12:17 AM
Good pick. He was my favorite. It's not the "flashy" pick maybe, but still the best, IMO. I like the reports on the guys makeup and clean delivery. He doesn't waste energy in his delivery either, that's fairly obvious in watching his film.

Ga_Red
06-10-2009, 12:17 AM
Why should you?

maybe because you're beating this horse to death?

:rolleyes:We got your slant a dozen posts ago.

fearofpopvol1
06-10-2009, 12:23 AM
Why should we? It's a perfectly acceptable thing to assume and or discuss. You want to shut us up, come with a compelling argument that we are wrong. Last year is last year and since it ended we have played it extremely tight to the vest fiscally speaking. Being a bit more conservative is fine in this economy but there are still games to be played and won and they should have spent more or spent those limited funds more wisely.

You can continue to speculate and look like someone uninformed. It's annoying to see speculative and baseless rants that don't present facts, but it's your choice.

I'd point you in the direction of Alonso last year (who did have noted high financial demands last year) and the Latin draft last year (Duran and Rodriquez last season where the Reds spent quite a bit of coin). How about JC Sulbaran? Wasn't that $500K for a 35th rounder? That was way above slot. The Reds signed most of their draft picks last year and I didn't see any knowledgeable commentator/website citing signability or frugality for the Reds picks.

Now, let's hear your argument for how the Reds have been frugal with the draft(ing), particularly with some facts.

Cedric
06-10-2009, 12:25 AM
You can continue to speculate and look like someone uninformed. It's annoying to see speculative and baseless rants that don't present facts, but it's your choice.

I'd point you in the direction of Alonso (who did have noted high financial demands last year) and the Latin draft (Duran and Rodriquez last season where the Reds spent quite a bit of coin). How about JC Sulbaran? Wasn't that $500K for a 35th rounder? That was way above slot. The Reds signed most of their draft picks last year and I didn't see any knowledgeable commentator/website citing signability or frugality for the Reds picks.

Now, let's hear your argument for how the Reds have been frugal with the draft(ing), particularly with some facts.

I'd say the Reds made the right choice today. Leake is a darn good pitcher and he will probably sign for slot. Now you can go and spread your money around later and get some talented players to sign late. That is a way to get a depleted system stocked fast.

Mario-Rijo
06-10-2009, 12:28 AM
You can continue to speculate and look like someone uninformed. It's annoying to see speculative and baseless rants that don't present facts, but it's your choice.

I'd point you in the direction of Alonso (who did have noted high financial demands last year) and the Latin draft (Duran and Rodriquez last season where the Reds spent quite a bit of coin). How about JC Sulbaran? Wasn't that $500K for a 35th rounder? That was way above slot. The Reds signed most of their draft picks last year and I didn't see any knowledgeable commentator/website citing signability or frugality for the Reds picks.

Now, let's hear your argument for how the Reds have been frugal with the draft(ing), particularly with some facts.

Nice try to spin it into something it isn't/wasn't. I said this year they are being frugal, that's all.

Cedric
06-10-2009, 12:31 AM
Nice try to spin it into something it isn't/wasn't. I said this year they are being frugal, that's all.

How would you know what the Reds are going to do late in this years draft? If they sign some players late above slot than I would say that this is not a signability draft.

I'd say there is no way to judge Leake or anyone else as a signability pick at this point. Just wait to see if they go above slot again this year.

fearofpopvol1
06-10-2009, 12:31 AM
Nice try to spin it into something it isn't/wasn't. I said this year they are being frugal, that's all.

And I'm asking you to back it up or prove it. The only thing you throw out is Crow. That's it. There's no basis to your argument. And if Crow was so great, why wasn't he picked right after the Reds picked? Or 2 or 3 or 4 picks after? I don't believe for a second that it was 100% signability. There were plenty of teams picking after the Reds that have money.

dougdirt
06-10-2009, 12:37 AM
I am trying to figure out the difference between Mike Leak, Aaron Crow and Tyler Matzek.

Fastball - Crow gets the edge here, but Leak and Matzek currently throw the same velocities.
Offspeed pitches - Leake wins easily here with two above average to plus pitches, followed by Crow and then Matzek who has one offspeed pitch thats inconsistent right now but shows itself as a potential plus pitch (which would match Crow's one and fall behind Leake's 2).
Control - Leake wins in a landslide. Crow probably goes second with Matzek a close third.
Projectability - Matzek, then Crow and last would be Leake, but is it because Leake doesn't have a high ceiling or is it because he is just a much better pitcher than the other two guys right now (especially Matzek)?

So those who aren't in favor of Leake because we 'passed' on other guys (in particular the two examples above), please chime in with what I am missing here.

Caveat Emperor
06-10-2009, 12:39 AM
And if Crow was so great, why wasn't he picked right after the Reds picked? Or 2 or 3 or 4 picks after?

Reds picked 8th. Crow was drafted 12th.

So yes, he was drafted 4 picks after.

fearofpopvol1
06-10-2009, 12:41 AM
Reds picked 8th. Crow was drafted 12th.

So yes, he was drafted 4 picks after.

You're right...I thought it was 14th for some reason...but the point still stands.

Mario-Rijo
06-10-2009, 12:49 AM
And I'm asking you to back it up or prove it. The only thing you throw out is Crow. That's it. There's no basis to your argument. And if Crow was so great, why wasn't he picked right after the Reds picked? Or 2 or 3 or 4 picks after? I don't believe for a second that it was 100% signability. There were plenty of teams picking after the Reds that have money.

Like I have said, the proof is in what they have done since the end of last season virtually nothing. All the proof is there, so it is now up to those of you who want me to stop talking about it to disprove it. Why am I not allowed to be upset that my team now refuses to spend money? Why am I not allowed to discuss my views? And if I defend myself or my beliefs then I am just beating a dead horse or being stubborn. The proof is all there and some just haven't come to a place that they are willing to accept it as the truth.

And if you have read my views you'd know that I'm blowing up now because of FA, the lack of a 25 man roster, the rumors that we aren't true suitors in the latin american market and now drafting more slot or under types and no over slot talent. Too me that equals enough to be upset about. I mean some people wouldn't call them frugal if they had a press conference announcing they were. Sorry if I use RZ as a sounding board about all things Reds related and respond to those who ask me what my problem is.

fearofpopvol1
06-10-2009, 12:56 AM
Like I have said, the proof is in what they have done since the end of last season virtually nothing. All the proof is there, so it is now up to those of you who want me to stop talking about it to disprove it. Why am I not allowed to be upset that my team now refuses to spend money? Why am I not allowed to discuss my views? And if I defend myself or my beliefs then I am just beating a dead horse or being stubborn. The proof is all there and some just haven't come to a place that they are willing to accept it as the truth.

And if you have read my views you'd know that I'm blowing up now because of FA, the lack of a 25 man roster, the rumors that we aren't true suitors in the latin american market and now drafting more slot or under types and no over slot talent. Too me that equals enough to be upset about. I mean some people wouldn't call them frugal if they had a press conference announcing they were. Sorry if I use RZ as a sounding board about all things Reds related and respond to those who ask me what my problem is.

If you think Crow was the better pick...fine. I have no problem with that. But to say that Crow was passed on because of financial reasons...that simply is just not known. The Reds were not cheap with the draft last year and I don't think that changes this year.

Now, if you want to say they're cheap with the 25 man roster...you might have a case there.

OnBaseMachine
06-10-2009, 12:59 AM
I liked the Mike Leake pick a lot. He's got good stuff, plus command, and is very polished. He should be ready to pitch in the majors by 2011 and projects as a #2/3 starter.

I've com around some on the Brad Boxberger pick. I would have preferred Tanner Scheppers or Andy Oliver, but Boxberger has solid stuff. His fastball ranges from 91-94 and he mixes in a good slider and average changeup. Baseball America liked him as a supplemental pick.

I like Billy Hamilton. He's a great athlete who will stick at shortstop. His bat is raw but he a lot of potential.

Joseph has some interesting numbers. I wonder if they plan on moving him into the rotation ala Zach Stewart? His stuff seems to be similar to Stewart's.

Caveat Emperor
06-10-2009, 01:00 AM
So those who aren't in favor of Leake because we 'passed' on other guys (in particular the two examples above), please chime in with what I am missing here.

Admittedly, I'm no expert in any of this -- but when experts say things like:

"He's not going to be a guy that strikes a lot of guys out..."

"...without a single knockout pitch..."

"...more or less finished product right now..."

"Will not overpower. Delivery sometimes is a little too max effort."

"He has a limited ceiling because of his stuff..."

I become less than enamored with a pick. I understand the strategy -- go for the more "surefire" thing and stay away from the higher risk/reward players -- but I don't like it with a top-10 pick. Take the player that projects to the best player, not the player that projects to the safest player available.

OnBaseMachine
06-10-2009, 01:03 AM
Except Leake does have an out pitch. His changeup and slider are both above average to plus pitches.

OnBaseMachine
06-10-2009, 01:04 AM
Buckley on Leake
Posted by JohnFay at 6/9/2009 7:49 PM EDT on Cincinnati.com

Here's what Reds scouting director Chris Buckley had to say aobut the Reds first pick:

What can you tell us about Mike Leake? “He’s a very polished college pitcher; throws four pitches. The numbers are just off the charts. He’s a very good baseball player. He’s one of their better position players. This guy hit the ground running in college. He’s a groundball pitcher. We’re thrilled to have him.”

Do you consider him a future starting pitcher? “Oh yeah, absolutely.”

What does he throw? “Eighty-eight [mph], 93, everyone once in a while 94. Slider, curveball, changeup. He’s a very polished guy, low maintenance college pitcher. Those numbers to aluminum bats are pretty scary.”

Are you happy or surprised that he made it to No. 8? “I think if he was 6-feet-2 he would have probably would have for sure gone before us. [Dustin] Pedroia is 5-feet-8, sometimes they come in smaller packages.”

What type of signability do you guys expect from Leake? “He’s pitched his team to the College World Series, so there’s nothing we can do with him for a while, anyways. He’s on a very good college team and they’re still playing.”

What is it that he does really well that excites you guys? “It’s his command and how polished he is. He throws four pitches for strikes. He can throw them at anytime. He’s an outstanding fielder. He’s got an outstanding pickoff move. He has all the intangibles that good pitchers have.”

You said this was a good pitcher draft … “Yeah, at the top, once you get past [Dustin] Ackley and [Tony] Sanchez, who’s probably the best catcher, it’s much stronger pitching for sure at the top of the draft.”

When you told GM Walt Jocketty you wanted Leake, what was his reaction? “He was thrilled. First of all, we got the kid [Zachary] Stewart last year from Texas. This guy’s a ground ball pitcher. That’s a good formula here.”

As a college pitcher, do you think he’s going to start higher in the minor leagues? “I would think so, but again he’s 16-1. So he’s pitched a fair amount of baseball this year. You don’t want to rush him and you don’t want to put him in a situation where you could get him hurt.”

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=blog07&plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3ae57bcc87-152a-4f72-96fb-cc08b1f396efPost%3ae98b059b-23d4-4bbe-bdab-9d99323fbb92&sid=sitelife.cincinnati.com

Mario-Rijo
06-10-2009, 01:04 AM
If you think Crow was the better pick...fine. I have no problem with that. But to say that Crow was passed on because of financial reasons...that simply is just not known. The Reds were not cheap with the draft last year and I don't think that changes this year.

Now, if you want to say they're cheap with the 25 man roster...you might have a case there.

I don't really have a problem with Mike Leake so much. My problem is if you are gonna take a #3 there fine, but then to come right back and take a #4 to MR arm next with some serious talent available is an indication that cost is an issue. And I am not happy with that as a fan because too me it represents a step back from where we were headed last summer.

But yes my problem isn't strictly draft related it's just being cheap overall. My blow up might be premature as they may spend a bunch of money in the latin american market, they may be saving their money for a mid season acquistion and if so I'd eat crow. But when you start seeing early and everything points that way you come to expect that those things in the future you had hope for are likely gonna be more of the same. So when everyone blows up at the deadline because we stood pat, I'll speak my mind but most of my blowing up will have happened in advance (now).

Caveat Emperor
06-10-2009, 01:07 AM
Except Leake does have an out pitch. His changeup and slider are both above average to plus pitches.

Obviously some scouting reports disagree with your assessment. I don't like lack of consensus about points like whether or not he has the stuff to strike major league hitters out with any regularity.

OnBaseMachine
06-10-2009, 01:08 AM
Obviously some scouting reports disagree with your assessment.

And obviously some disagree with yours. He throws four pitches, including a fastball that he throws from 88-92 with good sink and armside run, an above average to plus slider, an above average to plus changeup, and a curveball. In addition, he commands all of his pitches extremely well. He's got more than enough stuff to get hitters out.

dougdirt
06-10-2009, 01:09 AM
Admittedly, I'm no expert in any of this -- but when experts say things like:

"He's not going to be a guy that strikes a lot of guys out..."

"...without a single knockout pitch..."

"...more or less finished product right now..."

"Will not overpower. Delivery sometimes is a little too max effort."

"He has a limited ceiling because of his stuff..."

I become less than enamored with a pick. I understand the strategy -- go for the more "surefire" thing and stay away from the higher risk/reward players -- but I don't like it with a top-10 pick. Take the player that projects to the best player, not the player that projects to the safest player available.

Who is this person who says Leake doesn't have a single knockout pitch or be a guy who strikes out a lot of guys? I haven't seen it and would love to see what else this person has had to say about other players in the past. I also am curious as to why someone being a finished product is something bad to say about a player with 2 above average pitches and another average pitch all with plus to plus plus control. I can't really figure out how thats a bad thing.

TheNext44
06-10-2009, 01:10 AM
I am trying to figure out the difference between Mike Leak, Aaron Crow and Tyler Matzek.

Fastball - Crow gets the edge here, but Leak and Matzek currently throw the same velocities.
Offspeed pitches - Leake wins easily here with two above average to plus pitches, followed by Crow and then Matzek who has one offspeed pitch thats inconsistent right now but shows itself as a potential plus pitch (which would match Crow's one and fall behind Leake's 2).
Control - Leake wins in a landslide. Crow probably goes second with Matzek a close third.
Projectability - Matzek, then Crow and last would be Leake, but is it because Leake doesn't have a high ceiling or is it because he is just a much better pitcher than the other two guys right now (especially Matzek)?

So those who aren't in favor of Leake because we 'passed' on other guys (in particular the two examples above), please chime in with what I am missing here.

Thanks for the nice breakdown, and bringing some facts and logic to this debate.

I am not an expert on amateur baseball and the draft, but from what I've read, it seems like the Reds had to choose between a group of pitchers, Leake, Crow, Matzek, and White.
My guess is that, using a rating scale of 1-100, they all rated somewhere, depending on who was rating them, between 80-85 in terms of overall projected value. None of them were 90+, can't misses, or overwhelming talents. They all were solid prospects with more than decent chances of being solid contributors to the major league team, but none projected to be aces. Maybe one or two will be, but none are projected to be.
The Reds picked the one that their scouts thought would provide the best value in the future. Two to three years from now, we will find out if they were right. But it is silly to say that any of us knows now that they will be right or wrong years from now.

OnBaseMachine
06-10-2009, 01:12 AM
Reds take ASU pitcher
By Tom Groeschen • tgroeschen@enquirer.com • June 9, 2009

Mike Leake won’t overpower you, but the Reds’ new No. 1 draftee will grind you into the dirt.

That is a key reason Cincinnati took the Arizona State right-hander first (No. 8 overall) in the 2009 Major League Baseball amateur draft Tuesday night.

“He’s a big groundball pitcher,” Reds scouting director Chris Buckley said. “That’s a good formula here.”

“Here” is hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, home of the Reds.

Leake, listed at 6-foot and 180 pounds, likes to pound the strike zone with a fastball generally ranging from 88-92 mph and has touched 94, Buckley said.

“I like to work in and break bats,” Leake said, in a conference call with Cincinnati reporters. “I’m not gonna say it’ll be easy, but it’ll be fun to try and throw some wood in the fire.”

The 21-year-old Leake this year is 16-1 with a 1.36 ERA. The San Diego native has led Arizona State to the College World Series.

In 132 2/3 innings Leake has allowed only 79 hits, with just 21 walks and 150 strikeouts.

“Very polished college pitcher … great command,” Buckley said. “The numbers are just off the charts. Those numbers, through aluminum bats, are pretty scary.”

Leake also has a changeup, slider and cutter and consistently throws all four pitches for strikes, Buckley said.

When asked about his height, Leake confessed to being closer to 5 feet 10 ½.

“It’s always been a thing that’s haunted me, but I don’t let it get to me that much,” he said. “Just show what you’re capable of, and it’ll pay off for you in the end.”

Said Buckley of Leake: “If he was 6-foot-2 he surely would have gone before us, but (AL MVP Dustin) Pedroia is 5-foot-8. Sometimes they come in smaller packages.”

Leake was projected as the No. 13 overall pick by Baseball America, in a draft top-heavy with pitching.

Leake said he was a bit surprised that Cincinnati took him that early.

“I didn’t know they were that interested, but I’m grateful and happy that they were,” Leake said.

Leake said he knows some about Cincinnati and the Big Red Machine but wants to learn more.

“Right now, I’m gonna go buy some books,” Leake said. “I do know a lot about them. I am excited to learn a lot more about them.”

Leake is projected as a future starting pitcher, Buckley said.

Baseball watchers liked the pick.

“He’s really shot up the charts,” MLB.com TV analyst Harold Reynolds said, during MLB’s televised coverage of the draft.” “He’s pitched in a great league out there (Pac 10). He’s a strike-thrower, he’s around the plate. He’s not gonna be a guy that strikes a lot of people out.”

Reynolds said he spoke with ASU coach Pat Murphy about Leake.

“He told me this young man has the makeup and is a gutsy, competitive guy,” Reynolds said. “He fits great with Cincinnati. You have to throw strikes in that ballpark.”

Leake does not have dominant size but is “a winner,” MLB analyst John Hart said.

“He may not be a pick that you run up to the front of the board and you say, ‘This guy’s gonna be our No. 1 starter,’ but this guy’s gonna help the club and he’s gonna be a quick comer,” Hart said.

With Arizona State still playing, don’t expect a quick signing. Leake said he will be represented by agent Danny Horwitz of the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

“He’s pitched his team to the College World Series, so there’s nothing we can do with him for a while anyway,” Buckley said.

As a college pitcher, would Leake start higher in the minor leagues?

“I would think so,” Buckley said. “but again he’s 16-1. So, he’s pitched a fair amount of baseball this year. You don’t want to rush him and you don’t want to put him in a situation where you could get him hurt.”

Leake was a seventh-round pick out of Fallbrook High (Calif.) in 2006 but opted for college.

Leake is the first pitcher taken No. 1 by the Reds since Homer Bailey in 2004.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20090609/SPT04/306090073/1071/Reds+take+ASU+pitcher

dougdirt
06-10-2009, 01:12 AM
Obviously some scouting reports disagree with your assessment. I don't like lack of consensus about points like whether or not he has the stuff to strike major league hitters out with any regularity.

In that case there are problems with anyone you took. Is Aaron Crow's elbow going to last long enough for him to strike out major league batters? Is Matzek's curve going to get any better and will he ever develop a third pitch to the point that he can strike out major league batters? Will Tanner Scheppers shoulder stay healthy enough that he can reach the major leagues in order to strike out batters and if so, will his control be good enough to allow him to do so? I could go on and on if I wanted. There isn't a consensus on any of those issues. Everyone at that point had some issues to deal with.

And is Harold Reynolds the 'expert' you are talking about with the 'he won't strike out guys' quote? That guy is beyond dumb. The amount of times I heard him say something that he obviously pulled out of his butt is ridiculous. If he is the expert, then we should stop this conversation because I have little interest in hearing what he has to say about a player ever again after listening to what he said all night that goes against just about every scouting report I had read on about 40 different players.

Verins
06-10-2009, 01:15 AM
I become less than enamored with a pick. I understand the strategy -- go for the more "surefire" thing and stay away from the higher risk/reward players -- but I don't like it with a top-10 pick. Take the player that projects to the best player, not the player that projects to the safest player available.

Just curious, who would you have taken with that pick?

GIDP
06-10-2009, 01:15 AM
Here's some numbers id liek to see.

Pitches per inning
GO/AO
and probably something really hard to look up. how many 3 ball counts did he get into and what happened in those counts.

I have a suspicion all are going to be pretty favorable for Leake.

OnBaseMachine
06-10-2009, 01:16 AM
Harold Reynolds said he thinks the Mariners were tempted to take Leake #2 overall. Obviously some teams think very highly of Leake.

Caveat Emperor
06-10-2009, 01:17 AM
Who is this person who says Leake doesn't have a single knockout pitch or be a guy who strikes out a lot of guys? I haven't seen it and would love to see what else this person has had to say about other players in the past. I also am curious as to why someone being a finished product is something bad to say about a player with 2 above average pitches and another average pitch all with plus to plus plus control. I can't really figure out how thats a bad thing.

Re: "No Single Knockout Pitch" -- Mario-Rijo posted this (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1890267&postcount=3) scouting report on the first page -- he didn't attribute a source, otherwise I'd cite it for you.

Re: "Won't be a guy who strikes out a lot of guys" -- See the video posted at reds.com, which is a clip of the discussion from MLB TV after the pick was made. I think it's Harold Reynolds making the comment -- so, naturally, your opinion of him as an analyst (good or bad) will factor greatly into how much salt you apply.

Re: Finished Product. Nothing wrong with it at all, as long as the finished product is good enough to retire major league hitters right now. If he hits the ground running, fantastic. If not -- I guess it tempers one's expectations about him making great strides in refining his stuff to become a better pitcher.

As a rule, I don't get excited about pitchers who are "finished products" that don't get the gun ticking above 90-91 MPH regularly. Not a lot of margin for error with that as a working speed. As Cueto and Volquez have shown Reds fans the last two years, velocity can be a very very good thing that hides many other sins.

dougdirt
06-10-2009, 01:19 AM
Re: "No Single Knockout Pitch" -- Mario-Rijo posted this (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1890267&postcount=3) scouting report on the first page -- he didn't attribute a source, otherwise I'd cite it for you.


I don't know where that one came from, but I will say that I have seen another one that looks quite a bit different than that one on everything outside of the fastball.

Mario-Rijo
06-10-2009, 01:20 AM
Re: "No Single Knockout Pitch" -- Mario-Rijo posted this (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1890267&postcount=3) scouting report on the first page -- he didn't attribute a source, otherwise I'd cite it for you.

Re: "Won't be a guy who strikes out a lot of guys" -- See the video posted at reds.com, which is a clip of the discussion from MLB TV after the pick was made. I think it's Harold Reynolds making the comment -- so, naturally, your opinion of him as an analyst (good or bad) will factor greatly into how much salt you apply.

Re: Finished Product. Nothing wrong with it at all, as long as the finished product is good enough to retire major league hitters right now. If he hits the ground running, fantastic. If not -- I guess it tempers one's expectations about him making great strides in refining his stuff to become a better pitcher.

As a rule, I don't get excited about pitchers who are "finished products" that don't get the gun ticking above 90-91 MPH regularly. Not a lot of margin for error with that as a working speed. As Cueto and Volquez have shown Reds fans the last two years, velocity can be a very very good thing that hides many other sins.

Keith Law was the source.

Caveat Emperor
06-10-2009, 01:21 AM
Just curious, who would you have taken with that pick?

Probably Matzek -- hard throwing lefties with his kind of projectability don't come along every day. But, I'm also bullish on the Reds system's pitching prospects right now, which makes me OK with taking someone from HS who'll be on more of a long-road.

fearofpopvol1
06-10-2009, 01:24 AM
I don't really have a problem with Mike Leake so much. My problem is if you are gonna take a #3 there fine, but then to come right back and take a #4 to MR arm next with some serious talent available is an indication that cost is an issue. And I am not happy with that as a fan because too me it represents a step back from where we were headed last summer.

But yes my problem isn't strictly draft related it's just being cheap overall. My blow up might be premature as they may spend a bunch of money in the latin american market, they may be saving their money for a mid season acquistion and if so I'd eat crow. But when you start seeing early and everything points that way you come to expect that those things in the future you had hope for are likely gonna be more of the same. So when everyone blows up at the deadline because we stood pat, I'll speak my mind but most of my blowing up will have happened in advance (now).

For the record, Boxenberg was my least favorite pick today. It's a hearscratcher for me, but how do you know the pick was financially tied? There really isn't any hard evidence of that. But the Reds supposedly see something they like in this guy. It does look like he has a lot of potential and he had a pretty solid year this year. It's too difficult to pinpoint the rationale behind the pick(s). There are just too many factors, but I don't see any convincing evidence that they picked this guy (or Leake or anyone else) due to signability.

I'd actually much rather them invest lots of money into the draft(s) than go after a rental player or a bad free agent or a trade that doesn't make much sense. If Votto doesn't get back quick, I think the Reds are done this year anyway.

dougdirt
06-10-2009, 01:29 AM
My favorite tonight from Harold Reynolds "after watching the video, Brett Jackson was the best position player I saw". The same Brett Jackson who struck out 24.1% of the time in college this past season and went 31st overall to the Cubs. The same Brett Jackson who isn't sure to stick in CF, but as a 'slap' hitter had a ton of trouble making contact so isn't likely to hit for the power/overall game to play a corner. Best position player in the draft.

Of course there was also this gem about Tanner Scheppers from Reynolds 'Who cares if he isn't throwing strikes, look at that body'.

He also said teams weren't shying away from paying guys and everyone was taking the BPA during the late first round.

Guy is not bright. He can articulate what he wants to say well, but what he wants to say is often VERY wrong.

Verins
06-10-2009, 01:32 AM
Probably Matzek -- hard throwing lefties with his kind of projectability don't come along every day. But, I'm also bullish on the Reds system's pitching prospects right now, which makes me OK with taking someone from HS who'll be on more of a long-road.

I liked Matzek too. Do you think he is worth the dollars he'll be asking for? I think 17 year olds looking to break the bank is a risk worth avoiding. Especially when they have the attitude of 'if you don't accept my outrageous demands, I'll be playing in Oregon.'

Mario-Rijo
06-10-2009, 01:32 AM
For the record, Boxenberg was my least favorite pick today. It's a hearscratcher for me, but how do you know the pick was financially tied? There really isn't any hard evidence of that. But the Reds supposedly see something they like in this guy. It does look like he has a lot of potential and he had a pretty solid year this year. It's too difficult to pinpoint the rationale behind the pick(s). There are just too many factors, but I don't see any convincing evidence that they picked this guy (or Leake or anyone else) due to signability.

I'd actually much rather them invest lots of money into the draft(s) than go after a rental player or a bad free agent or a trade that doesn't make much sense. If Votto doesn't get back quick, I think the Reds are done this year anyway.

No hard proof but just because there isn't any doesn't mean we have no cause to speculate that it very well could have. My reasoning, his ceiling opposed to those drafted around him and prior issues with the Reds pinching pennies. Bottom line I don't much care where they invest their dollars (although I'd prefer they spread it around a bit) if they do it somewhere, I don't see that happening lately though.

Mario-Rijo
06-10-2009, 01:51 AM
BTW Leake pitches Sunday at 2:00 pm EST I believe vs. NC and Alex White. Should be an intriguing matchup plus Ackley vs. Leake ought to be good.

Mario-Rijo
06-10-2009, 02:23 AM
BA's free scouting report on him:


Scouting Report: Few pitchers were as consistently good this season as Arizona State righthander Mike Leake. That shouldn't come as a surprise—he's been carving up the Pac-10 for three years. A seventh-round draft pick by the Athletics out of Fallbrook (Calif.) High in 2006, Leake instead headed for Tempe and has pitched his way into first-round consideration. Listed at 6 feet, 180 pounds, what he lacks in pure physicality, he makes up for in athleticism and results. In addition to baseball, Leake played soccer, football and basketball in high school and could be a position player at Arizona State if he wasn't so valuable on the mound. Leake pounds the strike zone with a fastball that sits 88-92 mph. He can dial it up to 94, but prefers to work at lower speeds to get more movement. Throwing from a lower three-quarters arm slot, he gets a lot of armside run and sink on his fastball that results in a lot of groundballs. He also throws a changeup, slider and cutter that grade out as above-average offerings. Leake is a smart pitcher with a bulldog mentality on the mound.

Mario-Rijo
06-10-2009, 02:33 AM
Jim Callis and John Manuel review the 1st round.


Jim: (Winners) In terms of value where they got guys, I'll say Rockies (Matzek, Wheeler), Indians (White), Rangers (Purke), Twins (Gibson if healthy), Brewers (Arnett). If White doesn't drop to Cleveland, and I'm still surprised the Reds didn't take him at 8, then Arnett goes 15 to the Indians. The Brewers were in the right spot because a lot of those lower clubs wanted bats.

John: Then we have to ask about, well, the instant analysis of "losers" seems ridiculous to say but it is what it is. What teams left you wanting a bit more? I would say I wasn't hot on the Fuentes pick with Boston, and also Cincinnati, with Mike Leake seeming a bit too high at 8. And last, I'd say the Yankees, because I really have questions about Heathcott's makeup

nemesis
06-10-2009, 05:06 AM
I find it odd that a guy who supposedly doesn't have an "out pitch" sure did seem to get alot of guys out.

IMO if he is a cerebrial as it sounds then all his pitches are out pitches. Baseball is like chess. You out think and out move your opponett to win. If he can throw all 4 pitches for strikes at any point in the count, then he's going to fool a whole lot of batters into getting themselves out.

As far as Crow and Matzek go. I truly belive Matzek was passed over for fiscal reasons. Just like the 10 other teams that passed on him. After his interview on MLB TV I am kinda glad they did pass on him.

Crow IMO was passed on because he will demand and command a ML deal. The Reds do not have that kind of luxury going into the offseaon to waste a spot on him. They have a boat load of players to protect this offseason. Stubbs, Sutton, Wood, Smith, Dorn, Valakia, Heisley, Fransisco and I am sure quite a few others. Those 40 man spots are at a real premium. I would bet the farm that a conversation was had concerning that very subject. I am pleased with Leake. We could have ended up with Minor, White or a reach had things fell differently. I'll take 5 Arroyo's over 5 Van Popples anyday.

membengal
06-10-2009, 07:41 AM
That's what I don't get. He only allowed 79 hits in 132 innings in the Pac 10. He stuck out 150 in 132 innings in the Pac 10.

It would appear, looking at the actual playing field and the numbers generated from it, that he does have at least one out pitch and misses bats. And I completely reject the knee-jerk Arroyo comparisons some normally level-headed posters have tossed off. Come on guys, let's just step back a bit. Geez.

If he were doing that in C-USA I could see the lingering concern, but the Pac 10 is a crazy good baseball conference. And the only numbers in that conference better than Leake's were Strasburg's. And not by that much.

I would much prefer Leake to Matzek. I am glad they collected three college arms in the first four picks for a change. I like having that kind of depth in the system.

I am sanguine about the approach and the targets.

I also like the clean bills of health on each of them.

dunner13
06-10-2009, 08:21 AM
From what I have read Mike Leake has been compared to and even mentioned as a Tim Hudson clone. If he reaches that potential then this is a great pick. I wanted Matzek but if the kid was demanding outrageous money and threatening to go to college if he didnt get what he wanted he may have not been worth the risk. We give him the money and he never makes it past AA or he walks away and we lose our first round pick for the year and its a pretty bad draft. Besides I think this team is ready to compete now, leake may very well be ready to contribute with the reds as early as next season, Matzek might not sniff the majors for 4 more years. Lets remeber bailey was the high school pitching stud and he is still not ready for the majors. We wont be waiting that long on leake.

texasdave
06-10-2009, 08:26 AM
Don't take a high school pitcher! Don't take a high school pitcher! You dummies! You didn't take the high school pitcher! I am somewhat confused (which is normal for me).

RedlegJake
06-10-2009, 08:35 AM
Jim Callis. Bahhh. Who cares what Jim Callis thinks? He's not a member of RedsZone. I don't mean that snarky, either - over the years I've come to realize the writers and reporters don't know one whit about baseball more than any avid fan like those here. They are simply fans who write and have more access to the personal side but their baseball acumen is always suspect to me. When it comes to prospects even scouts rarely have a concensus, so how does Callis' comments bother me. If he's saying White would have been a better pick than Leake I simply think he's dead wrong.

Leake has solid upside (a good number 2 or 3 is nothing to sneeze at) and a high floor, he's signable without the crazy numbers Matzek and Crow wanted, and without the damage risk of Gibson or Scheppers. He pitched in a major baseball conference and dominated. He should rise fast. I really like this pick.

bucksfan2
06-10-2009, 08:44 AM
It would appear, looking at the actual playing field and the numbers generated from it, that he does have at least one out pitch and misses bats. And I completely reject the knee-jerk Arroyo comparisons some normally level-headed posters have tossed off. Come on guys, let's just step back a bit. Geez.

Just out of curiosity, how much would you be willing to pay for an Arroyo type pitcher with ground ball tendencies? JoJo mentioned it a few pages back and I don't know if it was a compliment, knock, or just a statement but it got me to thinking. IMO an Arroyo type pitcher with extreme ground ball tendencies is a very valuable pitcher.

I keep seeing innings eater being thrown in there with "no out pitch". How does a pitcher pitch a lot of innings without generating outs? Over the course of his career Derek Lowe has supported a K/9 of 5.9. Brandon Webb has a better 7.3 K/9. None of these guys are going to blow you away but are considered two very good pitchers.

jojo
06-10-2009, 08:46 AM
Harold Reynolds said he thinks the Mariners were tempted to take Leake #2 overall. Obviously some teams think very highly of Leake.

Most people do think highly of Leake but there was no real dilemma in the Ms draft room concerning their #2 selection.

Why are people enthused about Leake? Because he's got exceptional command of major league quality stuff and he is a ground ball monster who should be short-tracked to the majors where he projects to churn through innings.

As far as pure stuff goes, he's not the most impressive guy in the draft. He's going to use his defense rather than miss tons of bats. But his command and developmental stage is what vaults him above other guys. In other words, he's got "plus" risk/reward. He's got major league quality stuff, can command it and knows how to pitch it.... There's not a lot of work left to be done.

I think the Reds looked at the position guys available and realized that the arms are a much better bet. Then they picked the arm who is likely the best bet.

jojo
06-10-2009, 08:50 AM
It would appear, looking at the actual playing field and the numbers generated from it, that he does have at least one out pitch and misses bats. And I completely reject the knee-jerk Arroyo comparisons some normally level-headed posters have tossed off. Come on guys, let's just step back a bit. Geez.

If a pitcher can command 4 pitches at the collegiate level, he's going to fool collegiate level hitters.

Major league caliber hitters are going to make a lot more contact.

BTW, I'd draft near-developed Arroyo's all day long. I'd do it twice on Sunday if extreme groundball tendencies are part of the package.

HokieRed
06-10-2009, 08:52 AM
Intelligent pick; there's no word more important as a descriptor of pitching than the one I keep hearing pop up about Leake: command.

Ltlabner
06-10-2009, 08:54 AM
You guys are light years ahead of me when it comes to talking about young talent, what develops well, etc.

But when I read the words command, ground ball pitcher and "likes to work inside and break bats" I tend to like the pick.

cincy09
06-10-2009, 09:05 AM
I think it wise to pick someone that pitches in the low 90's with command as opposed to someone pitching 98 and not knowing where its going.

bubbachunk
06-10-2009, 09:57 AM
Makeup is a great asset but drafting that high it should be accompanied by premium talent. Leake is solid but again taking a back of the rotation starter/MR guy 40 picks in is incomprehensible.

If you can predict how each player is going to turn out then we need to get you a job with the reds asap ;)

BuckeyeRedleg
06-10-2009, 10:03 AM
I love this pick.

backbencher
06-10-2009, 10:17 AM
BTW, I'd draft near-developed Arroyo's all day long. I'd do it twice on Sunday if extreme groundball tendencies are part of the package.

Agree.

Cedric
06-10-2009, 10:24 AM
Definately agree. If people were trying to rip on Arroyo they are showing they don't know much about how the MLB draft works.

Bumstead
06-10-2009, 10:30 AM
Seemed like a safe pick to me. Don't know about signability, but if he doesn't sign soon and waits till the deadline, then...well, everyone else was available at our #8 pick...Crow, Matzek, White...Prove me wrong! but keep those names in mind. Safe really isn't how the Reds are going to become a consistent contender in the NL Central...Prove me wrong please Mr. Leake!

Bum

SMcGavin
06-10-2009, 10:49 AM
From everything I'm reading about Leake, I like the pick a lot. Reminds me of Alonso last year - both are guys you look at and say yeah, this guy is going to be a big leaguer. That is the kind of guy I want with a high first round pick.

princeton
06-10-2009, 11:09 AM
Pete Harnisch comes to mind, as a smaller RHPer who seemd to have more collegiate success than you'd have expected just by watching him.

Bumstead
06-10-2009, 11:14 AM
uh...Alonso's ceiling is as a MVP contender at his peak...Leake's peak is as a #3 or #4 starter...seems to be a gap. I'm just sayin.' I would rather have seen a higher ceiling pick. Crow has a higher ceiling and I'm not sure his floor is any lower than Leake's floor.

Bum

Plus Plus
06-10-2009, 11:15 AM
Crow's floor is to never make it past AA ball because of bad mechanics that lead to injury. Leake's floor is MUCH higher.

nemesis
06-10-2009, 11:15 AM
I think it wise to pick someone that pitches in the low 90's with command as opposed to someone pitching 98 and not knowing where its going.

+1

RichRed
06-10-2009, 11:15 AM
You guys are light years ahead of me when it comes to talking about young talent, what develops well, etc.

But when I read the words command, ground ball pitcher and "likes to work inside and break bats" I tend to like the pick.

I'm in the same boat. And if he's breaking aluminum bats, then wow.

I(heart)Freel
06-10-2009, 11:19 AM
The Reds went for "high ceiling" the last time they drafted a pitcher in the first round. His name is Homer Bailey and he's still trying to make the jump to the majors. He hopefully will and soon but you can't argue that it's been a delicate process.

So I don't see any reason to hate the club for opting for command and fast-track this time around. Kinda smart to gather lots of different kinds of players in your system, I figure.

Also... I think the crux of MANY of these posts (and dear God I read them all just now) is based on a poorly worded scouting report. I think it was Law who said, Leake doesn't have "one out pitch."

Couldn't that mean he doesn't rely on one single pitch to get batters out, but instead uses them all?

redhawk61
06-10-2009, 11:19 AM
uh...Alonso's ceiling is as a MVP contender at his peak...Leake's peak is as a #3 or #4 starter...seems to be a gap. I'm just sayin.' I would rather have seen a higher ceiling pick. Crow has a higher ceiling and I'm not sure his floor is any lower than Leake's floor.

Bum
A #4 type is Leake's floor, not his ceiling. He has the stuff to be a very good #2

GIDP
06-10-2009, 11:25 AM
Comparing players is terrible. Every player does it different.

Bumstead
06-10-2009, 11:26 AM
Like I said, "Please prove me wrong Mr. Leake." I'm not hating on the Reds. I will always be a Reds fan. I was just underwhelmed by the pick personally (actually I was stunned by the supplemental pick more than I was disappointed by the first one).

Opinions are like Fathers, everyone has one and this is mine.

Bum

SoTxRedsFan
06-10-2009, 11:57 AM
So after the CWS he'll be at around 140+ innings for the season. Where do we cap him at? Let him start at AA and get about 40 innings under his belt and shut him down until next season?

dougdirt
06-10-2009, 12:01 PM
So after the CWS he'll be at around 140+ innings for the season. Where do we cap him at? Let him start at AA and get about 40 innings under his belt and shut him down until next season?

I would probably cap him shortly after the CWS. Depending on how long it takes to sign him, maybe get him 3 or 4 starts somewhere (Dayton?) and then shut him down.

Caveat Emperor
06-10-2009, 12:33 PM
As far as pure stuff goes, he's not the most impressive guy in the draft. He's going to use his defense rather than miss tons of bats. But his command and developmental stage is what vaults him above other guys. In other words, he's got "plus" risk/reward. He's got major league quality stuff, can command it and knows how to pitch it.... There's not a lot of work left to be done.

He'd have been a fantastic 2nd or 3rd round pick. For my money, with a top-ten pick, you take the guy that projects to have the most talent, not the guy that is the safest bet. That's more of a philosophical problem I have with the Reds draft as opposed to a problem with Leake. I'm sure Leake is a fine young man, and hopefully he can reach his potential and be a valuable #3/#4 starter. I just quibble with the amount of value the Reds are mining out of their first round pick.

BTW: "He's going to use his defense rather than miss tons of bats" -- isn't that the pitching equivalent of "Yeah, but she has such a dynamic personality?"

KoryMac5
06-10-2009, 12:35 PM
I plan on watching him pitch in the CWS so far he has had a pretty good run. I may start to like the pick depending on how well his stuff translates to my eyes.

Edd Roush
06-10-2009, 01:09 PM
I plan on watching him pitch in the CWS so far he has had a pretty good run. I may start to like the pick depending on how well his stuff translates to my eyes.

Definately, I already marked it down on my calendar. To add to the intrigue, the Reds just drafted UNC's catcher so we will likely be able to compare Leake to White and get to watch UNC's catcher at the same time. I'm almost more pumped for that game than for the Reds' game on Sunday.

jojo
06-10-2009, 01:14 PM
He'd have been a fantastic 2nd or 3rd round pick. For my money, with a top-ten pick, you take the guy that projects to have the most talent, not the guy that is the safest bet. That's more of a philosophical problem I have with the Reds draft as opposed to a problem with Leake. I'm sure Leake is a fine young man, and hopefully he can reach his potential and be a valuable #3/#4 starter. I just quibble with the amount of value the Reds are mining out of their first round pick.

BTW: "He's going to use his defense rather than miss tons of bats" -- isn't that the pitching equivalent of "Yeah, but she has such a dynamic personality?"


It's a deceptive thing to generalize though. The pitching trifecta is basically this concerning major league pitching:

command>>>>make 'em miss>>>>ball in play tendencies.

In other words, the first prerequisite for success as a major leaguer is to surpass at least a minimum major league threshold for command. The ideal pitcher would have exceptional command (throw all of his pitches for strikes at will/locate well), an exceptional ability to miss bats (preferably stuff that induces missed swings but in the very least he should possess an out-inducing pitch with a repertoire that allows him to minimize platoon splits), and extreme groundball tendencies (it's hard to hit a groundball out of the park).

In reality pitchers are mosaic of these traits and being exceptional in one aspect can mitigate being deficient in another. It's kind of like Neil Young. He can't sing and he can't play guitar well either but somehow when he sings and plays in front of crazy horse, it works.

That said, it's very difficult for a pitcher to overcome poor command and be successful in the bigs but given a high enough K rate and GB rate it can be doable. By the same token since BIP tendencies are the least important determinant of success, an extreme GB tendency wouldn't normally overcome deficiencies to the left in the spectrum (Kirk Saarloos says hi in Japanese).

So back to why the enthusiasm for Leake is pretty much warranted....

If he could manage a K/9 of say 6 ( below average for an NL starter) but have an above average BB/9 (below 3) and say a GB rate at 50-60%, he'd likely be a very serviceable starter.

Then consider that he's likely pretty close to the majors and the injury nexus/need for scout's dreams to materialize through significant skill development is dramatically mitigated.

Basically step him up in innings intelligently while maybe testing him a bit against higher talent and he should be able to give the Reds some good innings.

While nothing is a sure thing, if there was a guy that could give 180-200 innings a season at league average or maybe a little above, I think every club in the majors would draft him with their first pick.

Managing risk not only isn't a pejorative, I'd argue that it's a smart strategy.

But ya, Leake isn't as sexy as a Strasburg or a Longoria.

TheNext44
06-10-2009, 01:36 PM
It's a deceptive thing to generalize though. The pitching trifecta is basically this concerning major league pitching:

command>>>>make 'em miss>>>>ball in play tendencies.

In other words, the first prerequisite for success as a major leaguer is to surpass at least a minimum major league threshold for command. The ideal pitcher would have exceptional command (throw all of his pitches for strikes at will/locate well), an exceptional ability to miss bats (preferably stuff that induces missed swings but in the very least he should possess an out-inducing pitch with a repertoire that allows him to minimize platoon splits), and extreme groundball tendencies (it's hard to hit a groundball out of the park).

In reality pitchers are mosaic of these traits and being exceptional in one aspect can mitigate being deficient in another. It's kind of like Neil Young. He can't sing and he can't play guitar well either but somehow when he sings and plays in front of crazy horse, it works.

That said, it's very difficult for a pitcher to overcome poor command and be successful in the bigs but given a high enough K rate and GB rate it can be doable. By the same token since BIP tendencies are the least important determinant of success, an extreme GB tendency wouldn't normally overcome deficiencies to the left in the spectrum (Kirk Saarloos says hi in Japanese).

So back to why the enthusiasm for Leake is pretty much warranted....

If he could manage a K/9 of say 6 ( below average for an NL starter) but have an above average BB/9 (below 3) and say a GB rate at 50-60%, he'd likely be a very serviceable starter.

Then consider that he's likely pretty close to the majors and the injury nexus/need for scout's dreams to materialize through significant skill development is dramatically mitigated.

Basically step him up in innings intelligently while maybe testing him a bit against higher talent and he should be able to give the Reds some good innings.

While nothing is a sure thing, if there was a guy that could give 180-200 innings a season at league average or maybe a little above, I think every club in the majors would draft him with their first pick.

Managing risk not only isn't a pejorative, I'd argue that it's a smart strategy.

But ya, Leake isn't as sexy as a Strasburg or a Longoria.

Really? Looks like a close call to me... :cool:

5513 5514

ochoa30
06-10-2009, 01:44 PM
Really? Looks like a close call to me... :cool:

5513 5514

Meh, but does she get good sink on her fastball?

DTCromer
06-10-2009, 02:38 PM
I have a feeling that no matter what Leake does in the CWS, there will still be people criticizing this pick. I trust our scouts and our current front office with their thinking. I can't wait to see him develop next year.

GOYA
06-10-2009, 02:42 PM
You guys are light years ahead of me when it comes to talking about young talent, what develops well, etc.

But when I read the words command, ground ball pitcher and "likes to work inside and break bats" I tend to like the pick.

Well, if he's been breaking aluminum bats, I'd say we made a great pick. :D

princeton
06-10-2009, 02:44 PM
"You want the honest truth or the sugar coating?" Leake said. "I'm about five-ten and a half."


Danny Graves/Jeff Brantley size

"to the pen!"

TheNext44
06-10-2009, 02:46 PM
Here's a link to his blog:

http://draftprospect.mlblogs.com/

Seems like he great kid, always thanking his teammates, talking about winning being what's most important, and a nice combination of being humble yet confident at the same time.

camisadelgolf
06-10-2009, 03:14 PM
People say his makeup is off the charts. He's quiet but confident. He has a good sense of humor and easy to root for.

OnBaseMachine
06-10-2009, 03:17 PM
Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State
He just never stopped dominating. You can ding him a little for his size, but he's hardly tiny, and he's a fantastic athlete. Beyond all of the scouting tidbits, take in this quick statistical curiosity: Leake pitches in a very friendly hitters' park, he pitches in one of the toughest conferences in the game, and he had a brutal schedule. None of those three qualities apply to Steven Strasburg, yet Leake beats the top talent in the draft in ERA, with a 1.23 mark entering super-regional play versus Strasburg's 1.32. Teams unable to decide among the available high school arms, or turned off by their bonus demands (or both) could be turning to Leake with a single-digit selection.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8996

CySeymour
06-10-2009, 03:25 PM
Someone just asked Keith Law in his chat when we can expect Leake in the bigs. This was his response: "He should be in the majors inside of 12 months or the Reds and I both whiffed on our evaluation."

11larkin11
06-10-2009, 03:27 PM
Someone just asked Keith Law in his chat when we can expect Leake in the bigs. This was his response: "He should be in the majors inside of 12 months or the Reds and I both whiffed on our evaluation."

That sounds good but I still never trust anything Keith Law ever says

CySeymour
06-10-2009, 03:38 PM
That sounds good but I still never trust anything Keith Law ever says

I wasn't using it as an evaluation, I was using it to judge when we might see him in the big leagues.

lollipopcurve
06-10-2009, 03:47 PM
"He should be in the majors inside of 12 months or the Reds and I both whiffed on our evaluation."

Something tells me the Reds won't be disappointed if Leake is not in the majors at this time next year. There has never been a draft choice in history whose success depended on getting to the majors in a year. Ridiculous.

jojo
06-10-2009, 04:30 PM
Something tells me the Reds won't be disappointed if Leake is not in the majors at this time next year. There has never been a draft choice in history whose success depended on getting to the majors in a year. Ridiculous.

Clearly Leake went as high as he did because of the opinion that he was very close to major league ready.

The Reds probably aren't anticipating Leake logging many hundreds of innings in the minors. My guess is that they'd like Leake knocking on the door before he even hits the number of innings that Maloney has logged in Louisville.

lollipopcurve
06-10-2009, 04:52 PM
Clearly Leake went as high as he did because of the opinion that he was very close to major league ready.

The Reds probably aren't anticipating Leake logging many hundreds of innings in the minors. My guess is that they'd like Leake knocking on the door before he even hits the number of innings that Maloney has logged in Louisville.

Sure, everyone expects him to move fast. But for Law to say the Reds will have misevaluated Leake if he isn't in the majors by this time next year is preposterous. Why should he, unlike any other draftee ever, have to graduate on a 1-year timetable in order to justify a team's evaluation that he is nearly ready? The team's major league needs? No -- the team has a solid starting rotation with depth in the high minors.

It's puffery from Law.

Blood Red Path
06-10-2009, 05:05 PM
Who Will Be The Better Pro: Stephen Strasburg or Mike Leake?
Posted By John Klima on June 5, 2009

Mike Leake picked a bad year to have a good year. The Arizona State right-hander isn’t the most physically imposing pitcher. He could be the guy walking his dog down the street.

In a college season and a draft defined by the star-making status of Stephen Strasburg, Leake’s success has been achieved with less fanfare, less velocity and less stuff. He’ll be drafted in the first round, but few believe he will be a better pro than Strasburg.

Yet Leake shows signs that he has a chance to be a better pro, even if radar guns bury him and he’s been overshadowed by a media myth. Velocity doesn’t win in the big leagues. Movement, location, changing speeds, four pitches and pitching know-how do. In these respects, the little Arizona State right-hander who can touch 92 but get outs with 90 is virtually superior to his more heralded counterpart.


The comparisons flow.

Strasburg was cocooned at San Diego State. The school unleashed him for the early-season media frenzy and then pulled him back. Every Friday start was good for at least 10 strikeouts, except for an odd six-strikeout, 10 fly-ball effort against college baseball power UC Davis

You have to find a brave person who is willing to take Leake over Strasburg. That’s because the two right-handers represent two different basic belief systems - power stuff without mechanics versus mechanics with precision and movement. The problem with power is that it distorts the complete picture.

The majority of scouts will always be seduced by velocity and stuff. They will be lulled into collective thought and fail to take all outcomes into consideration. Strasburg’s major league image has been minted before he signs for one, and if you let the cable TV talking heads think for you, one might suspect Strasburg pitches at 101 mph. Who knew that Scott Boras was a cue-card guy in Bristol?

In reality, Strasburg pitches at 94 and he’s not going to be pitching at 96 in the majors. What you see is what you get, and if you see more, be wary. This is not a high school arm with projection. There is, in fact, no projection with Strasburg. In basic scouting terms, if you can get past the gun, this is a pitcher with a bad-body history. His mechanics can be questioned, but won’t be when he signs. He hasn’t faced anyone yet, looked like a bad athlete on a ball hit past the mound at Irvine and did not command at the elite major league level he is billed to possess against a lineup of college hitters.

Strasburg’s media line was that he had never seen scouting video of Virginia. So what? Do you think they might be trying to lay off the curveball? If you’re tepid of Virginia, you’ll love the National League East.

But Strasburg did have 15 strikeouts and Phil Nevin loves him.

Strasburg had 19 walks in 109 innings, and Leake has 20 walks in 124 2/3 innings, but let’s not look at the numbers for a moment.

College umpires are…well, I’m not sure what they do for a living, but it isn’t in the major leagues. Strasburg’s command is big league average on a good day and slightly below-average on an off day, regardless of what the numbers look like. It will take him 100 pitches to get through five innings in the big leagues.

Strasburg gave up 65 hits in 109 innings. Leake has allowed 71 hits in 124 2/3 innings and has most certainly faced more pro-quality hitters this season than Strasburg has.

Among the better professional-caliber hitters in the Pac-10 this season were Brett Jackson, Grant Green, Ricky Oropesa, Ryan Ortiz and Casey Haerther. It’s not the same as going through a big league lineup, but it is safe to say that Leake faced more guys who will be in the big leagues sooner.

That doesn’t necessarily equate into professional success, but it says more about his college-level success than it does about Strasburg’s.

That’s not to say Leake hasn’t faced some stiffs. Of his eight double-digit strikeout games, (compared to Strasburg’s 12) Leake has victories against Holy Cross, Oral Roberts, and the streaky and sometimes hapless Pac-10 lineups of Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Washington and Washington State. Some of his numbers are inflated, too.

Looking at the numbers of the two starters, there are small hints that indicate that Leake is around the plate more than Strasburg is even though his power stuff is a notch below. Leake has one wild pitch to Strasburg’s 11. Strasburg hit three batters, Leake hit 13. So which is it? The answer lies in which pitcher works inside more often. To get to the heart of that, you have to study the way the two approach pitching.

Leake can’t afford to not work inside, not as a college pitcher, and he knows he can’t win if he can’t pitch inside as a pro. His fastballs are cutters and sinkers. His fastball movement is superior to Strasburg’s. He needs the inner half and he can command his fastball enough to push people off and then go outer half. He’s got a slider with tight rotation and a curveball and change-up to work with. This is the making of a four-pitch starter without one exceptional pitch. He is not married to the strikeout and he will not be a fly ball pitcher, also positive signs for a young pro.

“I try to just hit my spots but not try to worry too much about being too pin point with my pitches,” Leake told Baseball Beginnings this season. “I want to minimize the amount of pitches I throw in a game. Ground balls are fine.”

In watching Strasburg’s start against Virginia, efficiency is something that his stuff has not required him to learn in college baseball in the same way it has shaped Leake. It’s pretty easy to guess with Strasburg: fastball or curveball. These are the makings of a two-pitch starter who is in trouble when he can’t find one on a given day.

He’s not throwing a Roy Halladay curveball. He’s throwing a curveball that should be harder and tighter for a power pitcher.

Strasburg still reminds me of Brad Penny in physique, stuff and mechanics. Penny hasn’t been a bad pro, but his health hasn’t made him reliable. The way Strasburg is sold, we’re supposed to believe he’ll be a 20-game winner for the next 10 years.

The letdown is unavoidable. He’ll never have a chance to breathe. He’ll be called a savior. The flavor of the month is going to melt unless he’s anything less than an immediate ace.

This gets to the heart of the issue. Leake has no projection left, either. He’s not going to be a No. 1 starter in the big leagues, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the potential to be a better pro. He’s probably going to become a ballsy little right-hander who is a No. 3 starter. His arm action is better than Strasburg’s. He gets on top of the ball with more consistency. In short, everything about Leake indicates that he is built for the long haul more than Strasburg is. Leake may not be a meteor, but he may linger in the sky past dawn.

Heart can carry you in college baseball, but only stuff plays in the majors. Greg Maddux didn’t win with stuff. He had it when he was younger, but pitched for the last decade with movement, location and changing speeds. Leake will pitch at 90-91. It’s not that much, but it’ll be just enough for him to hang around. And historically speaking, 12 pitchers were taken before Maddux in the 1984 draft, when he was the third player chosen in the second round. Strasburg and a handful of high school pitchers will be drafted before Leake.

Leake could be the better pro because he will arrive in the major leagues better prepared in almost every respect. He understands his limitations and has won within them. He’s the classic pitcher who has been told at every stop that he doesn’t throw hard enough.

Drafted out of Fallbrook High in San Diego in 2006, he went to Arizona State to pitch with Pat Murphy in his ear. It’s hard to be mentally soft when you’re a pitcher like Leake. He’s always had to be more mentally tough than Strasburg, who when he signs, will walk into a firestorm of expectations. Either that or he will kill time in Independent baseball for a year, where perhaps Matt Harrington can change his tires.

That’s the factor that a radar gun can’t predict. There have been guys with great stuff who were not successful pitchers and pitchers with adequate stuff who found a way to last for 10 years and win 100 games. Only time will tell, but when Strasburg can no longer light up a radar gun and will have to learn to win with less, Leake will have been doing that for an entire career.

Source:http://baseballbeginnings.com/2009/06/05/strasburg-leake/

Blood Red Path
06-10-2009, 05:11 PM
Also...
Leake in Pac-10 play: 9-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 87 strikeouts in nine starts. In those nine starts, he pitched 77 2/3 out of a possible 81 innings, including six complete games(2 shutouts).

Sometimes the numbers have to mean something, right?

Pony Boy
06-10-2009, 05:26 PM
Obvioulsy the goal of that article was to take and defend a contrarian viewpoint (Leake will be better than Strasburg) and the mainstream viewpoint (Strasburg will be better than Leake) was downplayed/ignored. But I still loved reading it and think there is a very good chance that it proves correct.

Caveat Emperor
06-10-2009, 05:31 PM
It's strange to be talking about a pick where everyone kind of agrees on a ceiling to his talent. Virtually every report grades him out to a potential #3, mid-rotation starter.

It's an odd change of pace from previous years, where guys like Bailey, Bruce and Stubbs had things like "The sky is the limit" written about them.

fearofpopvol1
06-10-2009, 05:34 PM
Who Will Be The Better Pro: Stephen Strasburg or Mike Leake?
Posted By John Klima on June 5, 2009

Mike Leake picked a bad year to have a good year. The Arizona State right-hander isn’t the most physically imposing pitcher. He could be the guy walking his dog down the street.

In a college season and a draft defined by the star-making status of Stephen Strasburg, Leake’s success has been achieved with less fanfare, less velocity and less stuff. He’ll be drafted in the first round, but few believe he will be a better pro than Strasburg.

Yet Leake shows signs that he has a chance to be a better pro, even if radar guns bury him and he’s been overshadowed by a media myth. Velocity doesn’t win in the big leagues. Movement, location, changing speeds, four pitches and pitching know-how do. In these respects, the little Arizona State right-hander who can touch 92 but get outs with 90 is virtually superior to his more heralded counterpart.


The comparisons flow.

Strasburg was cocooned at San Diego State. The school unleashed him for the early-season media frenzy and then pulled him back. Every Friday start was good for at least 10 strikeouts, except for an odd six-strikeout, 10 fly-ball effort against college baseball power UC Davis

You have to find a brave person who is willing to take Leake over Strasburg. That’s because the two right-handers represent two different basic belief systems - power stuff without mechanics versus mechanics with precision and movement. The problem with power is that it distorts the complete picture.

The majority of scouts will always be seduced by velocity and stuff. They will be lulled into collective thought and fail to take all outcomes into consideration. Strasburg’s major league image has been minted before he signs for one, and if you let the cable TV talking heads think for you, one might suspect Strasburg pitches at 101 mph. Who knew that Scott Boras was a cue-card guy in Bristol?

In reality, Strasburg pitches at 94 and he’s not going to be pitching at 96 in the majors. What you see is what you get, and if you see more, be wary. This is not a high school arm with projection. There is, in fact, no projection with Strasburg. In basic scouting terms, if you can get past the gun, this is a pitcher with a bad-body history. His mechanics can be questioned, but won’t be when he signs. He hasn’t faced anyone yet, looked like a bad athlete on a ball hit past the mound at Irvine and did not command at the elite major league level he is billed to possess against a lineup of college hitters.

Strasburg’s media line was that he had never seen scouting video of Virginia. So what? Do you think they might be trying to lay off the curveball? If you’re tepid of Virginia, you’ll love the National League East.

But Strasburg did have 15 strikeouts and Phil Nevin loves him.

Strasburg had 19 walks in 109 innings, and Leake has 20 walks in 124 2/3 innings, but let’s not look at the numbers for a moment.

College umpires are…well, I’m not sure what they do for a living, but it isn’t in the major leagues. Strasburg’s command is big league average on a good day and slightly below-average on an off day, regardless of what the numbers look like. It will take him 100 pitches to get through five innings in the big leagues.

Strasburg gave up 65 hits in 109 innings. Leake has allowed 71 hits in 124 2/3 innings and has most certainly faced more pro-quality hitters this season than Strasburg has.

Among the better professional-caliber hitters in the Pac-10 this season were Brett Jackson, Grant Green, Ricky Oropesa, Ryan Ortiz and Casey Haerther. It’s not the same as going through a big league lineup, but it is safe to say that Leake faced more guys who will be in the big leagues sooner.

That doesn’t necessarily equate into professional success, but it says more about his college-level success than it does about Strasburg’s.

That’s not to say Leake hasn’t faced some stiffs. Of his eight double-digit strikeout games, (compared to Strasburg’s 12) Leake has victories against Holy Cross, Oral Roberts, and the streaky and sometimes hapless Pac-10 lineups of Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Washington and Washington State. Some of his numbers are inflated, too.

Looking at the numbers of the two starters, there are small hints that indicate that Leake is around the plate more than Strasburg is even though his power stuff is a notch below. Leake has one wild pitch to Strasburg’s 11. Strasburg hit three batters, Leake hit 13. So which is it? The answer lies in which pitcher works inside more often. To get to the heart of that, you have to study the way the two approach pitching.

Leake can’t afford to not work inside, not as a college pitcher, and he knows he can’t win if he can’t pitch inside as a pro. His fastballs are cutters and sinkers. His fastball movement is superior to Strasburg’s. He needs the inner half and he can command his fastball enough to push people off and then go outer half. He’s got a slider with tight rotation and a curveball and change-up to work with. This is the making of a four-pitch starter without one exceptional pitch. He is not married to the strikeout and he will not be a fly ball pitcher, also positive signs for a young pro.

“I try to just hit my spots but not try to worry too much about being too pin point with my pitches,” Leake told Baseball Beginnings this season. “I want to minimize the amount of pitches I throw in a game. Ground balls are fine.”

In watching Strasburg’s start against Virginia, efficiency is something that his stuff has not required him to learn in college baseball in the same way it has shaped Leake. It’s pretty easy to guess with Strasburg: fastball or curveball. These are the makings of a two-pitch starter who is in trouble when he can’t find one on a given day.

He’s not throwing a Roy Halladay curveball. He’s throwing a curveball that should be harder and tighter for a power pitcher.

Strasburg still reminds me of Brad Penny in physique, stuff and mechanics. Penny hasn’t been a bad pro, but his health hasn’t made him reliable. The way Strasburg is sold, we’re supposed to believe he’ll be a 20-game winner for the next 10 years.

The letdown is unavoidable. He’ll never have a chance to breathe. He’ll be called a savior. The flavor of the month is going to melt unless he’s anything less than an immediate ace.

This gets to the heart of the issue. Leake has no projection left, either. He’s not going to be a No. 1 starter in the big leagues, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the potential to be a better pro. He’s probably going to become a ballsy little right-hander who is a No. 3 starter. His arm action is better than Strasburg’s. He gets on top of the ball with more consistency. In short, everything about Leake indicates that he is built for the long haul more than Strasburg is. Leake may not be a meteor, but he may linger in the sky past dawn.

Heart can carry you in college baseball, but only stuff plays in the majors. Greg Maddux didn’t win with stuff. He had it when he was younger, but pitched for the last decade with movement, location and changing speeds. Leake will pitch at 90-91. It’s not that much, but it’ll be just enough for him to hang around. And historically speaking, 12 pitchers were taken before Maddux in the 1984 draft, when he was the third player chosen in the second round. Strasburg and a handful of high school pitchers will be drafted before Leake.

Leake could be the better pro because he will arrive in the major leagues better prepared in almost every respect. He understands his limitations and has won within them. He’s the classic pitcher who has been told at every stop that he doesn’t throw hard enough.

Drafted out of Fallbrook High in San Diego in 2006, he went to Arizona State to pitch with Pat Murphy in his ear. It’s hard to be mentally soft when you’re a pitcher like Leake. He’s always had to be more mentally tough than Strasburg, who when he signs, will walk into a firestorm of expectations. Either that or he will kill time in Independent baseball for a year, where perhaps Matt Harrington can change his tires.

That’s the factor that a radar gun can’t predict. There have been guys with great stuff who were not successful pitchers and pitchers with adequate stuff who found a way to last for 10 years and win 100 games. Only time will tell, but when Strasburg can no longer light up a radar gun and will have to learn to win with less, Leake will have been doing that for an entire career.

Source:http://baseballbeginnings.com/2009/06/05/strasburg-leake/

Whether or not a lot of the stuff in this article ends up being true, it sure does make you feel better about the pick when you read it.

There are some good points in there too.

princeton
06-10-2009, 05:39 PM
Obvioulsy the goal of that article was to take and defend a contrarian viewpoint.

yes, it's like Dick Wagner explaining why Big Red Machine is better off without Pete Rose.

actually, if Dick had only been so thoughtful...

Pony Boy
06-10-2009, 05:44 PM
It's strange to be talking about a pick where everyone kind of agrees on a ceiling to his talent. Virtually every report grades him out to a potential #3, mid-rotation starter.

It's an odd change of pace from previous years, where guys like Bailey, Bruce and Stubbs had things like "The sky is the limit" written about them.

The ceiling prediction is something I just don't understand. Why can't he be a #1 or #2? Havent there been plenty of top-of-the-rotation starters with similar size and stuff? Roy Oswalt, Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Johnny Cueto, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez etc.

In fact, look at the current top-10 leaders in NL ERA. 5 out of 10 are 6-1 or shorter. 3 out of 10 are 5-11 or shorter.

princeton
06-10-2009, 06:33 PM
Havent there been plenty of top-of-the-rotation starters with similar size and stuff? Roy Oswalt, Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Johnny Cueto, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez etc.

he's got their size, not their stuff.

TheNext44
06-10-2009, 06:50 PM
he's got their size, not their stuff.

I've never seen his stuff, but the scouting report says that he can hit 94 and can stay at 90-91. In terms of fastball, that is as good or better than Roy Oswalt, Tim Hudson, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux.

He said in an interview that he can stay at 93-4, but chooses to stay at 90-91 because he gets better movement. Maddox was the same way.

And for me, stuff means more than just speed, it means movement, and he grades at 50/60 for now/future on his movement.

Again, never seen him pitch, but the scouting report on him is that he has great stuff, just not amazing stuff.

_Sir_Charles_
06-10-2009, 06:53 PM
Wow, I'm not one for studying college baseball stats, but I was under the assumption that Stephen Strasberg was FAR AND AWAY the best pitcher in college this year. I'm stunned to say the least at how UNTRUE that really was. Mike Leake was right there with Strasberg in nearly every catagory.

ERA
#1 Strasberg 1.32
#2 Leake 1.36

Wins
#1 Leake 16
#3 Strasberg 13

Games started
#4 Leake 16 (17 was the most)
#20 Strasberg 15

Complete Games
#2 Leake 7
#? Strasberg 2

Shutouts
#3 Leake 2
#3 Strasberg 2

Innings Pitched
#1 Leake 132.2
#8 Strasberg 109.0

Runs allowed
#2 Strasberg 17
#8 Leake 23

Strikeouts
#1 Strasberg 195
#2 Leake 150

Batting Average Against
#1 Strasberg .172
#2 Leake .175

Walks allowed
Strasberg 19
Leake 20

Hits allowed
Strasberg 65
Leake 71

Those numbers are about as close as you can get. While Leake certainly doesn't have the velocity of Strasberg, he's got a wider variety of pitches, he's pitched against tougher competition, and most importantly...the REDS got him. Great, GREAT pick.

Brutus
06-10-2009, 07:00 PM
Wow, I'm not one for studying college baseball stats, but I was under the assumption that Stephen Strasberg was FAR AND AWAY the best pitcher in college this year. I'm stunned to say the least at how UNTRUE that really was. Mike Leake was right there with Strasberg in nearly every catagory.

ERA
#1 Strasberg 1.32
#2 Leake 1.36

Wins
#1 Leake 16
#3 Strasberg 13

Games started
#4 Leake 16 (17 was the most)
#20 Strasberg 15

Complete Games
#2 Leake 7
#? Strasberg 2

Shutouts
#3 Leake 2
#3 Strasberg 2

Innings Pitched
#1 Leake 132.2
#8 Strasberg 109.0

Runs allowed
#2 Strasberg 17
#8 Leake 23

Strikeouts
#1 Strasberg 195
#2 Leake 150

Batting Average Against
#1 Strasberg .172
#2 Leake .175

Walks allowed
Strasberg 19
Leake 20

Hits allowed
Strasberg 65
Leake 71

Those numbers are about as close as you can get. While Leake certainly doesn't have the velocity of Strasberg, he's got a wider variety of pitches, he's pitched against tougher competition, and most importantly...the REDS got him. Great, GREAT pick.

And he did so, against a much tougher schedule overall.

Certainly, Leake is not as talented as Strasburg in terms of potential. However, I think Leake is being sold way short in terms of just how good a pitcher he really is.

_Sir_Charles_
06-10-2009, 07:03 PM
And he did so, against a much tougher schedule overall.

Certainly, Leake is not as talented as Strasburg in terms of potential. However, I think Leake is being sold way short in terms of just how good a pitcher he really is.

That's certainly what I'm seeing too. I think Strasberg just got a better publicist. Because he certainly wasn't the "clear-cut" best pitcher he was touted as being. These stats of Leake's are impressing the hell out of me.

dougdirt
06-10-2009, 07:21 PM
That's certainly what I'm seeing too. I think Strasberg just got a better publicist. Because he certainly wasn't the "clear-cut" best pitcher he was touted as being. These stats of Leake's are impressing the hell out of me.

Strasburg was indeed the clear cut best pitcher. He pitched 23 fewer innings than Leake and struck out 45 more batters. Not a slight at Leake, who I like quite a bit.... but Strasburg is in a different world.

_Sir_Charles_
06-10-2009, 07:29 PM
Strasburg was indeed the clear cut best pitcher. He pitched 23 fewer innings than Leake and struck out 45 more batters. Not a slight at Leake, who I like quite a bit.... but Strasburg is in a different world.

But just because his outs were via the strikeout instead of the ground out...it puts him in a different world? I don't get that one. Some of the scouts were saying that Leake doesn't strikeout guys...well, his stats say otherwise. But if you take the strikeouts out of the equation, where is the Strasberg dominance compared to Leake's dominance? You can look at it in the other way as well, Leake pitched 23 more innings and allowed the same number of walks, the same number of runs, the same number of hits allowed as Strasberg virtually. IMO it's equally as dominant...only in a different way...and against better competition.

Eric_the_Red
06-10-2009, 07:29 PM
Strasburg was indeed the clear cut best pitcher. He pitched 23 fewer innings than Leake and struck out 45 more batters. Not a slight at Leake, who I like quite a bit.... but Strasburg is in a different world.

But Leake pitched 23.2 more innings and only allowed 7 more BB+H. For the cost of each player, I think the Reds could get the better value.

dougdirt
06-10-2009, 07:35 PM
But just because his outs were via the strikeout instead of the ground out...it puts him in a different world? I don't get that one. Some of the scouts were saying that Leake doesn't strikeout guys...well, his stats say otherwise. But if you take the strikeouts out of the equation, where is the Strasberg dominance compared to Leake's dominance? You can look at it in the other way as well, Leake pitched 23 more innings and allowed the same number of walks, the same number of runs, the same number of hits allowed as Strasberg virtually. IMO it's equally as dominant...only in a different way...and against better competition.

Well, strikeouts never allow runners to reach base. Grounders, even a ton of them, lead to runners about 22% of the time. So yeah, simply because his outs were via the strikeout does make a huge difference. I think Leake can have an Aaron Harang type or peripherals in the BB and K columns. Thats pretty darn good. Strasburg looks like a guy who might be able to go into the Pedro Martinez type of peripherals land. In any other season, Mike Leake would have put up the most dominating season in college baseball. Just not this one.

Kingspoint
06-10-2009, 07:50 PM
Strasburg was indeed the clear cut best pitcher. He pitched 23 fewer innings than Leake and struck out 45 more batters. Not a slight at Leake, who I like quite a bit.... but Strasburg is in a different world.

Leake pitched against much better competition.

dougdirt
06-10-2009, 08:00 PM
Leake pitched against much better competition.

No he didn't really. Strength of schedule for the two teams were 20th and 30th in the country. Leake came out ahead, but it wasn't by much.

M2
06-10-2009, 08:30 PM
he's got their size, not their stuff.

I'll disagree with that, at least with some of the guys on that list. Leake's got quality stuff.

Caveat Emperor
06-10-2009, 09:14 PM
I'll disagree with that, at least with some of the guys on that list. Leake's got quality stuff.

In terms of pure velocity, he's only going to beat late-career Maddux of the listed pitchers.

lollipopcurve
06-10-2009, 09:17 PM
In terms of pure velocity, he's only going to beat late-career Maddux of the listed pitchers.

He throws harder than Glavine did.

Brutus
06-10-2009, 09:24 PM
He throws harder than Glavine did.

I am most encouraged by the reports that say he's actually capable of dialing it up to as much as 94 on occasion, but prefers to sacrifice that for the sake of more movement on his ball.

princeton
06-10-2009, 09:28 PM
I've never seen his stuff, but the scouting report says that he can hit 94 and can stay at 90-91. In terms of fastball, that is as good or better than Roy Oswalt, Tim Hudson, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux.

odds are stacked against him. Not many RHPers shorter than 5'11" have won 100 games, and the ones that did had better stuff: Pedro, Oswalt (who came up throwing mid 90's plus, unlike Leake). Maddux and Hudson have size on him, Maddux came up throwing harder, and Hudson has two more out pitches than Leake. Glavine's a lefty, where size is less of an issue. Leake has less velocity than Maddux/Oswalt when they debuted -- and guess where velocity goes from here?

I only saw him make four throws on a video, but he looked like an older Maddux, toying with the hitter. Frankly, he looks like a guy that would benefit from wood bats, so I'm certainly intrigued. It'll be interesting to see how he translates to the majors.

same pitching coach (Dick Pole) as young Maddux, too.

jojo
06-10-2009, 09:40 PM
But just because his outs were via the strikeout instead of the ground out...it puts him in a different world? I don't get that one. Some of the scouts were saying that Leake doesn't strikeout guys...well, his stats say otherwise. But if you take the strikeouts out of the equation, where is the Strasberg dominance compared to Leake's dominance? You can look at it in the other way as well, Leake pitched 23 more innings and allowed the same number of walks, the same number of runs, the same number of hits allowed as Strasberg virtually. IMO it's equally as dominant...only in a different way...and against better competition.

Strasburg-awesome command of better stuff.

M2
06-10-2009, 10:34 PM
Hudson has two more out pitches than Leake.

From what I've seen, Leake's stuff looks every bit as good as Hudson's. Obviously you give multiple benefits of a doubt to the guy who's stuff has played very well in the majors for a decade, but Leake's got similar velocity, sick movement and some wicked changes of speed.

Leake could hit a wall or get injured, but he commands some very good stuff.

TheNext44
06-10-2009, 11:26 PM
odds are stacked against him. Not many RHPers shorter than 5'11" have won 100 games, and the ones that did had better stuff: Pedro, Oswalt (who came up throwing mid 90's plus, unlike Leake). Maddux and Hudson have size on him, Maddux came up throwing harder, and Hudson has two more out pitches than Leake. Glavine's a lefty, where size is less of an issue. Leake has less velocity than Maddux/Oswalt when they debuted -- and guess where velocity goes from here?

I only saw him make four throws on a video, but he looked like an older Maddux, toying with the hitter. Frankly, he looks like a guy that would benefit from wood bats, so I'm certainly intrigued. It'll be interesting to see how he translates to the majors.

same pitching coach (Dick Pole) as young Maddux, too.

Odds are stacked against all guys who are drafted. Only around 65% of top ten picks even make it to the majors, and that is in the last ten years, when teams have gotten better at drafting.

I did some quick research and found 26 players around Leake's size, (185 Lbs or less, 6 "0' or less, since he is not going to stay exactly this size) who were right handed, had at least 100 W's, and played in the last 40 years. There were 62 total RH pitchers in the last 40 years who won 100 games. That means of that group, 45% were around Leake's size.

So yes, guys who are under 5"11' are not that successful, but you add one more inch, and they are. Maybe that one more inch is meaningful? I am not saying it's not, just providing data.

TheNext44
06-10-2009, 11:36 PM
Wow, I'm not one for studying college baseball stats, but I was under the assumption that Stephen Strasberg was FAR AND AWAY the best pitcher in college this year. I'm stunned to say the least at how UNTRUE that really was. Mike Leake was right there with Strasberg in nearly every catagory.

ERA
#1 Strasberg 1.32
#2 Leake 1.36

Wins
#1 Leake 16
#3 Strasberg 13

Games started
#4 Leake 16 (17 was the most)
#20 Strasberg 15

Complete Games
#2 Leake 7
#? Strasberg 2

Shutouts
#3 Leake 2
#3 Strasberg 2

Innings Pitched
#1 Leake 132.2
#8 Strasberg 109.0

Runs allowed
#2 Strasberg 17
#8 Leake 23

Strikeouts
#1 Strasberg 195
#2 Leake 150

Batting Average Against
#1 Strasberg .172
#2 Leake .175

Walks allowed
Strasberg 19
Leake 20

Hits allowed
Strasberg 65
Leake 71

Those numbers are about as close as you can get. While Leake certainly doesn't have the velocity of Strasberg, he's got a wider variety of pitches, he's pitched against tougher competition, and most importantly...the REDS got him. Great, GREAT pick.

It really is a close call who had a better season. But it is clear who has more potential, and who should be a better pitcher. I think one reason why they are so close is the law of diminishing returns. Stats can only be so good.

The difference between a 0.00 ERA and a 1.32, or 1.36 ERA is probably just a matter of luck. Stratsburg could be twice as good as Leake and his ERA would probably still be only 1.00. Same with K's. He can only K so many batters.

But the key is that they had nearly the same control. So Stratsburg can throw around 10 MPH faster, and has nearly the same control. No way those two pitchers are close in terms of talent.

Still, if both players pitch according to expectations, I doubt Stratsburg is worth 10X what Leake is worth, but he will get paid at least that. The Reds still got a better bargain, if both players hit their expectations.

Caveat Emperor
06-11-2009, 12:18 AM
Still, if both players pitch according to expectations, I doubt Stratsburg is worth 10X what Leake is worth, but he will get paid at least that. The Reds still got a better bargain, if both players hit their expectations.

If Strasburg pitches to his unbelievably high expectations (unlikely, but I'll go with it for the sake of argument), the Nationals will be adding the best power pitcher to take the mound since Nolan Ryan retired.

In which case, yes, I'd argue that's worth 10X what Leake is.

SMcGavin
06-11-2009, 12:22 AM
Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State
He just never stopped dominating. You can ding him a little for his size, but he's hardly tiny, and he's a fantastic athlete. Beyond all of the scouting tidbits, take in this quick statistical curiosity: Leake pitches in a very friendly hitters' park, he pitches in one of the toughest conferences in the game, and he had a brutal schedule. None of those three qualities apply to Steven Strasburg, yet Leake beats the top talent in the draft in ERA, with a 1.23 mark entering super-regional play versus Strasburg's 1.32. Teams unable to decide among the available high school arms, or turned off by their bonus demands (or both) could be turning to Leake with a single-digit selection.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8996

All the scouting reports on Leake seem to be in agreement: He is very good at pitching. That is really all I need to hear. I'm no expert scout but the more I read about him, the more I like this pick.

11larkin11
06-11-2009, 12:27 AM
If Strasburg pitches to his unbelievably high expectations (unlikely, but I'll go with it for the sake of argument), the Nationals will be adding the best power pitcher to take the mound since Nolan Ryan retired.

In which case, yes, I'd argue that's worth 10X what Leake is.

Say they both reach the same level (meaning hit their ceilings, hit their probability, or hit their floor), does Strasburg really give up 10 times less runs than Leake? I highly doubt it. Because in the end, thats all that matters, runs.

Caveat Emperor
06-11-2009, 12:38 AM
Say they both reach the same level (meaning hit their ceilings, hit their probability, or hit their floor), does Strasburg really give up 10 times less runs than Leake? I highly doubt it. Because in the end, thats all that matters, runs.

It's tough to do comparisons the way you're talking -- because costs increase exponentially as talent level goes up. You pay a much larger premium to go form a B-talent (say, Aaron Harang at $36.5 / 4) to an A-talent (say Johan Santana at $137 / 6) as opposed to going from a C-talent to a D-talent. Elite-ness costs.

There's also the issue of value added to a team by an elite superstar talent in terms of fan interest and awareness, etc. but that's not really worth debating here.

gm
06-11-2009, 01:27 AM
"You want the honest truth or the sugar coating?" Leake said. "I'm about five-ten and a half."


Danny Graves/Jeff Brantley size

"to the pen!"

Johnny Cueto says :wave:

I got Fleury, how 'bout you? Leake?

gm
06-11-2009, 01:36 AM
Pete Harnisch comes to mind, as a smaller RHPer who seemd to have more collegiate success than you'd have expected just by watching him.

but Pete was anything but a groundball pitcher. Four-seamer at the letters, then a 12-6 curve ball that started at the same eye-level

TheNext44
06-11-2009, 02:23 AM
If Strasburg pitches to his unbelievably high expectations (unlikely, but I'll go with it for the sake of argument), the Nationals will be adding the best power pitcher to take the mound since Nolan Ryan retired.

In which case, yes, I'd argue that's worth 10X what Leake is.

To be honest, if the Reds could have, I would loved for them to have taken Strasburg and pay him the $20M+ he is demanding. That's because the contract he is asking for is for 6 years, which would most likely buy out his arbitration years. That means that he really isn't that much more than Leake, if the both preform well, just that Strasburg is guaranteed that no matter what he does. So I wasn't being fair when I said that he would cost 10X Leake. Sorry. My bad.

But just for the sake of argument...

It is fair to say that the next Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens is what the highest expectations of Strasburg are. But if you do that, then you have to say that Leake is the next Greg Maddox. Or you can use reasonable expectations for both, Strasburg is Roy Holliday, and Leake is Adam Wainwright. Either way, they are pretty close in value.

And anyway, who knows what will happen with both of them, they could both be flops, or one flops and the other flourishes, or anything in between. It will be fun to follow.

princeton
06-11-2009, 06:07 AM
Maybe that one more inch is meaningful?


exactly. when you're on the margins, one more inch is meaningful.

my guess is that Leake pitches very well for several years, but that he's a great candidate to lose effectiveness by age 29 or 30, similar to Danny Graves. I do understand that he has a lot more talent than Graves, so he won't drop as far as Danny did.

regardless, he's a good guy to have on your team when he's in his early to mid 20's. looks like a good pick for a team that still has development questions, as well as for a team that has Maddux's first pitching coach on staff.

princeton
06-11-2009, 06:17 AM
Johnny Cueto says :wave:

I got Fleury, how 'bout you? Leake?

Leake'll be first. After that, I figure that Boxburger and Joseph have the inside track

but give me the Man of 160 Pitches, Mark Serrano. if it didn't kill him, then it must have made him stronger.

RedlegJake
06-11-2009, 09:02 AM
Leake'll be first. After that, I figure that Boxburger and Joseph have the inside track

but give me the Man of 160 Pitches, Mark Serrano. if it didn't kill him, then it must have made him stronger.

Yeah, Serrano must have an elastic arm. I don't see any aces in this group but a nice shot at coming out of this draft with a couple very effective mid rotation starters and a solid reliever or two. To be real about it, if they get one of each its a successful draft.

Pony Boy
06-11-2009, 09:58 AM
Well, strikeouts never allow runners to reach base. Grounders, even a ton of them, lead to runners about 22% of the time. So yeah, simply because his outs were via the strikeout does make a huge difference. I think Leake can have an Aaron Harang type or peripherals in the BB and K columns. Thats pretty darn good. Strasburg looks like a guy who might be able to go into the Pedro Martinez type of peripherals land. In any other season, Mike Leake would have put up the most dominating season in college baseball. Just not this one.

But isnt being a dominant strike out pitcher as an amateur a double-edged sword? It seems like alot of these guys that have stuff that overpowers HS and college hitters have trouble when they reach a level where they can no longer overpower every hitter.

In a way Leake's college dominance is more impressive than Strasburg's because Leake did it without other-wordly power, whereas Strasburg could just dial up his 98 mph fastball whenever he needed a sure strike. Leake was forced to become a complete pitcher a long time ago, while Strasburg will have to learn some new tricks when he begins facing guys that can tatoo a 98 mph fastball on a regular basis.

bucksfan2
06-11-2009, 10:54 AM
ERA
#1 Strasberg 1.32
#2 Leake 1.36

Games started
#4 Leake 16 (17 was the most)
#20 Strasberg 15

Complete Games
#2 Leake 7
#? Strasberg 2

Innings Pitched
#1 Leake 132.2
#8 Strasberg 109.0

Batting Average Against
#1 Strasberg .172
#2 Leake .175

Walks allowed
Strasberg 19
Leake 20

Hits allowed
Strasberg 65
Leake 71


Here are the telling stats for me. In one more start Leake pitched 23 more innings. IMO his overall numbers were similar if not better than Strasberg's in many areas. Strasberg obviously dominated in K's and "sexy" measures.

What excites me most about Leake is that he knows how to pitch. That is the last thing that pitchers learn, and some never do. You can throw the ball 98 mph but if you don't know how to use it, it can turn around awfully quick.

HBP
06-11-2009, 11:04 AM
\
What excites me most about Leake is that he knows how to pitch. That is the last thing that pitchers learn, and some never do. You can throw the ball 98 mph but if you don't know how to use it, it can turn around awfully quick.

Good point and I think Homer was a great example of that in the past. He's maybe finally getting to that level now.

BuckeyeRedleg
06-11-2009, 11:33 AM
I must stress again how much I really love this pick.

It's got a "Moneyball" feel to it.

Brutus
06-11-2009, 12:24 PM
I must stress again how much I really love this pick.

It's got a "Moneyball" feel to it.

The A's commented (via one of their draft day tweets) how many of their staff members had a real soft spot for Leake, and how when his name was called, there was a lot of rustling around (implying they were hoping Leake would fall to them).

BuckeyeRed27
06-11-2009, 01:45 PM
A buddy I work with was a pitcher at ASU for a bit and gave me a little bit of a scouting report on him. He is a fairly new pitcher and was really inconsistant his first couple years where he would go for totally dominate to horrible very quickly. He has become much more consistant and my buddy says he loves his stuff. Also a real good athlete and has a great work ethic and apparently was a great teammate that everybody liked. He thinks he'll be a good middle of the rotation type pitcher.

_Sir_Charles_
06-11-2009, 02:09 PM
It really is a close call who had a better season. But it is clear who has more potential, and who should be a better pitcher. I think one reason why they are so close is the law of diminishing returns. Stats can only be so good.

The difference between a 0.00 ERA and a 1.32, or 1.36 ERA is probably just a matter of luck. Stratsburg could be twice as good as Leake and his ERA would probably still be only 1.00. Same with K's. He can only K so many batters.

But the key is that they had nearly the same control. So Stratsburg can throw around 10 MPH faster, and has nearly the same control. No way those two pitchers are close in terms of talent.

Still, if both players pitch according to expectations, I doubt Stratsburg is worth 10X what Leake is worth, but he will get paid at least that. The Reds still got a better bargain, if both players hit their expectations.

Okay, that I buy. I was only saying how surprised I was at how close their stats were after the media blitz saying how far and away better Strasberg was than the rest of the field.

BuckeyeRedleg
06-11-2009, 03:44 PM
It has been mentioned in this thread the comparison between Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake and if you would take Leake if you knew his career would go like Arroyo's. I would have to say that I would definitely still take Leake. One thing we have learned through the process of M2's re-do draft's is really how few impact players come out of each draft.

Take 1995 for instance, as it was the year that Arroyo was drafted. Here are some of the names of the draftees (in the order they were drafted) that eventually signed with their team from that 1995 draft:

Erstad, Wood, Helton, Jenkins, M. Morris, Halladay, M. Anderson, Bellhorn, Beltran, C. Wilson, Casey, Winn, Arroyo, Dempster, LaRue, B. Schnieder, Nathan, Burnett, J. Rivera, Freel, Delucci, A. Miles, Fuentes........and let's not forget NE QB, Tom Brady, taken by Montreal in the 18th round (#507).

Of the players listed here, only Erstad (1-1), Wood (1-4), and Helton (1-8) went in the top 8. I may be missing a few here and there from later in the draft, but nobody that made more of an impact than the few listed here. Now, how would I personally rank these guys if I had hindsight and could re-do the 1995 draft?

1. Halladay
2. Beltran
3. Helton
4. Wood
5. Nathan
6. Burnett
7. Dempster
8. Morris
9. Winn
10. Casey
11. Arroyo
12. Erstad
13. Jenkins
14. Fuentes
15. J. Rivera


Now you can quibble with some of these rankings. You could make an argument for moving guys up and down the list, but I did this kind of fast and the gist of it anyway is that in hindsight, Arroyo ended up being one of the top 10-15 players in this entire draft. If you can get a guy in the 1st round and know he'd be one of the top 10-15 (with the potential to be even better) you would make that pick every time. You could say "well, Leake was drafted 8th, but Arroyo is only in the top 10-15". To that I say, look at the top eight of the 1995 draft. Only three were relevant enough to even make this list. One of those eight is our very own Ben Davis (former catcher and now RHP, Sarasota). The burnout rate is so high that not even a top 10 draft pick is guaranteed to make an impact or even step on a major league field.

In my opinion, another reason why I like Leake is because I feel his ceiling his higher than Arroyo's. I'm of the opinion that if Leake just does what he's supposed to he'll end up like Arroyo, but he has the potential to do even better (Tim Hudson). Even so, if all he becomes is a Bronson Arroyo, I make this pick at #8, EVERY SINGLE TIME.

SMcGavin
06-11-2009, 04:18 PM
Even so, if all he becomes is a Bronson Arroyo, I make this pick at #8, EVERY SINGLE TIME.

I completely agree.

princeton
06-11-2009, 04:23 PM
if all he becomes is a Bronson Arroyo, I make this pick at #8, EVERY SINGLE TIME.

not me. at no. 8, I'm looking for a lot more ceiling. I (hopefully) don't get a no. 8 pick that often.

I'll settle for a no. 4 starter if that's all he becomes, but I'm looking for a lot more.

SMcGavin
06-11-2009, 04:29 PM
not me. at no. 8, I'm looking for a lot more ceiling. I (hopefully) don't get a no. 8 pick that often.

I'll settle for a no. 4 starter if that's all he becomes, but I'm looking for a lot more.

Arroyo has over 200 career starts of 106 ERA+, how do you pass that up for a lottery ticket?

BuckeyeRedleg
06-11-2009, 04:37 PM
not me. at no. 8, I'm looking for a lot more ceiling. I (hopefully) don't get a no. 8 pick that often.

I'll settle for a no. 4 starter if that's all he becomes, but I'm looking for a lot more.

With the addition of Cueto and Volquez, Bronson has taken a step back to the #4 man in the rotation, however, I would say that his entire tenure with the Reds has been that of a solid #3.

I don't think you could find more than 90 pitchers that have done better as a starter over the last 3+ years. From 2006-2008, he's averaged 217 IP, 165 K's, 13 wins, and a low 4.00-ish ERA.

Rojo
06-11-2009, 04:37 PM
Arroyo has over 200 career starts of 106 ERA+, how do you pass that up for a lottery ticket?

For one of these:

http://kristopherkrawiec.mlblogs.com/world%20series%20trophy.jpg

princeton
06-11-2009, 05:03 PM
With the addition of Cueto and Volquez, Bronson has taken a step back to the #4 man in the rotation, however, I would say that his entire tenure with the Reds has been that of a solid #3.

I don't think you could find more than 90 pitchers that have done better as a starter over the last 3+ years. From 2006-2008, he's averaged 217 IP, 165 K's, 13 wins, and a low 4.00-ish ERA.

Arroyo's always been a number 4, even when he was a no. 2.

if that's all you can get at selection 8, then fine-- take it. if that's all you need to get into playoffs right away and you think that you can make noise there, then fine -- take it. but in all other cases, it's not the ideal.

I'm hoping for a LOT more out of Mike Leake.

dougdirt
06-11-2009, 05:07 PM
Arroyo's always been a number 4, even when he was a no. 2.

if that's all you can get at selection 8, then fine-- take it. if that's all you need to get into playoffs right away and you think that you can make noise there, then fine -- take it. but in all other cases, it's not the ideal.

I'm hoping for a LOT more out of Mike Leake.

So as a guy who profiles to be a guy who throws 200 innings, walks about 45, strikes out about 160-170 and gets a ton of grounders.... there is something a lot more to be expected?

BuckeyeRedleg
06-11-2009, 05:09 PM
Arroyo's always been a number 4, even when he was a no. 2.

Princeton, I understand based on past discussions on this topic, that your definition of 1's and 2's, etc. has to pass some pretty tough criteria. In your opinion, how many legitimate #1's are there? And how many #2's and #3's?

I ask, because, like I said in the previous post, his numbers (I would think) would place him on average as a #3 (top 61-90 starters in baseball).

Do you base your definition on where a pitcher would be slotted on a top team with a top rotation?

camisadelgolf
06-11-2009, 05:15 PM
Arroyo's always been a number 4, even when he was a no. 2.
Huh?

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2006-2009 CIN 45 41 .523 4.15 115 115 0 6 1 0 728.2 752 368 336 101 221 16 542 28 0 17 3111 111 1.335 9.3 1.2 2.7 6.7 2.45
Arroyo has actually pitched better in the AL, but those are just his numbers while playing half his games in GABP with a horrible defense behind him. Arroyo is an above-average pitcher, and an average pitcher will usually be no worse than a #3 starter. If Leake throws just 500 innings of quality of baseball for the Reds, he will have been a good pick by my standards. Sure, I'd like more, but an above-average starting pitcher for a few seasons is a lot more than what most teams get out of their first round draft picks.

BuckeyeRedleg
06-11-2009, 05:22 PM
Of all starters in MLB, Arroyo has finished 2006-2008 ranked:

IP
#1
#19
#33

K
#11
#31
#29

I would think over the last three years that would put him in the top 25 in those two categories.

princeton
06-11-2009, 05:23 PM
Do you base your definition on where a pitcher would be slotted on a top team with a top rotation?

some top rotations have several 1s and 2s, so no.

a 1 is a guy that can dominate a playoff series; a 2 doesn't really have that kind of stuff; a 3 is playoff material, at least; a 4 is someone that can do some good work in the regular season but whom you don't particularly want to start a playoff game for you; a good 5 is someone that you're not quite looking to upgrade just yet.

and yes, there's a pitching shortage.

BuckeyeRedleg
06-11-2009, 05:35 PM
some top rotations have several 1s and 2s, so no.

a 1 is a guy that can dominate a playoff series; a 2 doesn't really have that kind of stuff; a 3 is playoff material, at least; a 4 is someone that can do some good work in the regular season but whom you don't particularly want to start a playoff game for you; a good 5 is someone that you're not quite looking to upgrade just yet.

and yes, there's a pitching shortage.

Ok, I see where you are coming up with that definition now.

However, the key point is that if you are saying there is a shortage (which I may be inclined to agree with you) it just further highlights how difficult it is to catch lightening in a bottle and land that special #1 or #2 (according to your definition) via the draft. Especially at #8. I'd rather the Reds play it safe in that regard and if the need arises for a true #1 or #2, go out and get him via trade (Volquez), FA, or LA (Cueto).

It's such a crapshoot in the draft and the investment is pretty substancial for little return, in most cases.

Rojo
06-11-2009, 05:53 PM
Ok, I see where you are coming up with that definition now.

However, the key point is that if you are saying there is a shortage (which I may be inclined to agree with you) it just further highlights how difficult it is to catch lightening in a bottle and land that special #1 or #2 (according to your definition) via the draft. Especially at #8. I'd rather the Reds play it safe in that regard and if the need arises for a true #1 or #2, go out and get him via trade (Volquez), FA, or LA (Cueto).

It's such a crapshoot in the draft and the investment is pretty substancial for little return, in most cases.


Good points. After watching the Reds flub so many first rounders, there's something to be said for a safer pick -- bet on ceilings later in the draft.

But the safest picks are hitters. Absent safe bats, I'd have gone with Green.

backbencher
06-11-2009, 06:04 PM
Ok, I see where you are coming up with that definition now.

However, the key point is that if you are saying there is a shortage (which I may be inclined to agree with you) it just further highlights how difficult it is to catch lightening in a bottle and land that special #1 or #2 (according to your definition) via the draft. Especially at #8. I'd rather the Reds play it safe in that regard and if the need arises for a true #1 or #2, go out and get him via trade (Volquez), FA, or LA (Cueto).

It's such a crapshoot in the draft and the investment is pretty substancial for little return, in most cases.

I think that I agree. I would argue that floors as high as Leake's or Alonso's might be scarcer than ceilings as high as Crow's or Matzek's.

Caveat Emperor
06-11-2009, 07:44 PM
So as a guy who profiles to be a guy who throws 200 innings, walks about 45, strikes out about 160-170 and gets a ton of grounders.... there is something a lot more to be expected?

Here are the major league pitchers who, in 2008:

BB < 50
K > 160
IP > 200

Ervin Santana
Roy Halladay
Dan Haren
Ricky Nolasco
Cliff Lee
Roy Oswalt
James Shields

The numbers you've suggested would make him one of the top 15-20 pitchers in all of baseball last year. I'd say that's an unrealistic expectation of performance for Mike Leake, given his middling velocity level.

TheNext44
06-11-2009, 08:16 PM
Ok, I see where you are coming up with that definition now.

However, the key point is that if you are saying there is a shortage (which I may be inclined to agree with you) it just further highlights how difficult it is to catch lightening in a bottle and land that special #1 or #2 (according to your definition) via the draft. Especially at #8. I'd rather the Reds play it safe in that regard and if the need arises for a true #1 or #2, go out and get him via trade (Volquez), FA, or LA (Cueto).

It's such a crapshoot in the draft and the investment is pretty substancial for little return, in most cases.

Very well put. Here is some data to back this up.

Here are the pitchers drafted in rounds 1-10 from 1990-2007 who I think have developed into solid #1 or #2 pitchers:

Alex Fernandez
Darren Dreifort
Kerry Wood
Jon Garland
Mark Mulder
Josh Beckett
Barry Zito
Ben Sheets
Mark Prior
Gavin Floyd
Zach Grienke
Jeff Francis
John Danks
Justin Verlander
Mike Pelfrey
Tim Lincecum

That is 16 pitchers out of 180 players drafted and 87 pitchers drafted. When the odds are less than 10% of all players drafted and less than 20% of all pitchers drafted, is it really worth trying to get that #1 or #2 when you can get a solid #3 who might become a #2?

Also, how many of these guys were solid # 1 or 2's for more than a few years? Most only had two or three great years, and a bunch of good years.

Plus, there were only a few arms better than his, and none had the command that he has. It's not like the Reds passed up Steven Strausberg or David Price or to get him, they passed up guys who threw a few miles an hour faster.

Who knows how Leake will turn out, but the odds were against the Reds drafting someone who projects better than how he projects.

TheNext44
06-11-2009, 08:23 PM
Here are the major league pitchers who, in 2008:

BB < 50
K > 160
IP > 200

Ervin Santana
Roy Halladay
Dan Haren
Ricky Nolasco
Cliff Lee
Roy Oswalt
James Shields

The numbers you've suggested would make him one of the top 15-20 pitchers in all of baseball last year. I'd say that's an unrealistic expectation of performance for Mike Leake, given his middling velocity level.

I have no idea if he will be as good as the pitchers on the list above. I have no idea if he projects to be as good as them,

However...

He doesn't have a middling velocity level. He can hit 94 and settles in at 90-91. That is not middling. Arroyo and Malone have middling velocity, they top out at 91 and settle in at 87-88.
Let's get past this notion that Leake is a soft tosser. Being able to hit 94 and stay above 90 is damn good stuff, and better than most starters in the majors right now.

Caveat Emperor
06-11-2009, 10:29 PM
Let's get past this notion that Leake is a soft tosser. Being able to hit 94 and stay above 90 is damn good stuff, and better than most starters in the majors right now.

Nobody is saying he's a soft-tosser -- he has average velocity for a major league pitcher. Most RH starters work in the 90-92 range with their fastball. Any slower than that and you either have to have exceptional command or fantastic off-speed stuff to get by.

His velocity is OK -- it's nothing special, though, and it certainly doesn't PROJECT to dominance on numbers alone. His command and ability to throw off-speed pitches for strikes will have to make up the difference if he wants to be anything better than a #3/#4 starter.

dougdirt
06-11-2009, 11:30 PM
Here are the major league pitchers who, in 2008:

BB < 50
K > 160
IP > 200

Ervin Santana
Roy Halladay
Dan Haren
Ricky Nolasco
Cliff Lee
Roy Oswalt
James Shields

The numbers you've suggested would make him one of the top 15-20 pitchers in all of baseball last year. I'd say that's an unrealistic expectation of performance for Mike Leake, given his middling velocity level.

Middling velocity of 91 MPH is pretty much right in line with that of Cliff Lee or James Shields doesn't it?

Caveat Emperor
06-11-2009, 11:35 PM
Middling velocity of 91 MPH is pretty much right in line with that of Cliff Lee or James Shields doesn't it?

Shields yes. Lee is a lefty, so all bets are off when it comes to velocity.

Still, the point is that the numbers you're projecting for Leake aren't just good numbers, they're superstar fringe-#1/#2 starter numbers. That's pretty bold, considering the scouting reports almost universally project his ceiling at a #3/#4 starter level.

dougdirt
06-11-2009, 11:54 PM
Shields yes. Lee is a lefty, so all bets are off when it comes to velocity.

Still, the point is that the numbers you're projecting for Leake aren't just good numbers, they're superstar fringe-#1/#2 starter numbers. That's pretty bold, considering the scouting reports almost universally project his ceiling at a #3/#4 starter level.

Except the scouting reports simply don't suggest that. They suggest a guy with two potential plus pitches, plus control and a low 90s sinker. That's not a #3/4 starter.

Caveat Emperor
06-12-2009, 02:29 AM
Except the scouting reports simply don't suggest that. They suggest a guy with two potential plus pitches, plus control and a low 90s sinker. That's not a #3/4 starter.

Being a sinkerball pitcher doesn't necessarily guarantee any form of success. They range from the Kirk Saarloos' of the world, to the Jake Westbrooks and Aaron Cooks, and all the way up to the Derek Lowes and Brandon Webbs.

I guess we'll all just have to wait and see what he ends up becoming. By the sounds of things, we'll have a pretty good idea fairly shortly.

TheNext44
06-12-2009, 03:28 AM
Just curiously, and I am being very sincere with this question, I clearly am a novice the area of amateur baseball and the draft, but why is velocity valued over command in terms of pitchers? Or is it? I know it is on this board by many members, but is it by the scouting community?

I understand the idea that you can teach command, but you can't teach velocity, therefore guys who have high velocity, have a higher ceiling. But clearly, judging from the success of major league pitchers, command is a very hard thing to teach. And more importantly, success in the major leagues appears to be defined more by command than by velocity.

There seems to be a plethora of guys who throw mid to high, who are never successful, or who are successful for a very brief time. Some never even make it to the majors. However, every successful major league pitcher has solid command, and it seems that the better command, the better the pitcher. It is not the case that the harder the thrower, the better the pitcher. There are even some #1-2 pitchers who don't throw has hard as the #3-4 pitchers on their own staffs.

I could be wrong, but its seems that as long a pitcher can throw at least near the 90's, his success will be more determined, if not solely determined by his command. If that really is the case, then shouldn't scouts be looking for guys with great command potential, and not great velocity potential?

Just asking. :confused:

lollipopcurve
06-12-2009, 07:38 AM
Plus-plus command of a 88 mph fastball with movement > spotty command of a 95 mph fastball.

princeton
06-12-2009, 09:08 AM
I could be wrong, but its seems that as long a pitcher can throw at least near the 90's, his success will be more determined, if not solely determined by his command.

command's a minimum requirement unless pitcher has top velocity/top movement. but you always look for the top velocity/top movement guy first because they're rare, highly successful and have a high rate of success. they also tend to hold their velocity well with time.

a high percentage of the finesse guys just don't work out. yes, there are more of them in the majors because there are a LOT more of them to begin with. but they're not the best bets. you have to look at a lot of things with them-- command, movement, direction of movement, how the direction of movement complements their other pitches, if they can vary the movement, number of secondary pitches, etc. And, BMO, they tend to lose their velocity faster than the top guys.

jojo
06-12-2009, 09:35 AM
Just curiously, and I am being very sincere with this question, I clearly am a novice the area of amateur baseball and the draft, but why is velocity valued over command in terms of pitchers? Or is it? I know it is on this board by many members, but is it by the scouting community?

I understand the idea that you can teach command, but you can't teach velocity, therefore guys who have high velocity, have a higher ceiling. But clearly, judging from the success of major league pitchers, command is a very hard thing to teach. And more importantly, success in the major leagues appears to be defined more by command than by velocity.

There seems to be a plethora of guys who throw mid to high, who are never successful, or who are successful for a very brief time. Some never even make it to the majors. However, every successful major league pitcher has solid command, and it seems that the better command, the better the pitcher. It is not the case that the harder the thrower, the better the pitcher. There are even some #1-2 pitchers who don't throw has hard as the #3-4 pitchers on their own staffs.

I could be wrong, but its seems that as long a pitcher can throw at least near the 90's, his success will be more determined, if not solely determined by his command. If that really is the case, then shouldn't scouts be looking for guys with great command potential, and not great velocity potential?

Just asking. :confused:

This is a generalization but command is generally inversely related to movement/velocity.

Movement/velocity is generally inversely related to quality contact.

Look at Elizardo Ramirez as an example. Great command got him to Louisville but command of average stuff isn't enough against major league caliber hitters.

Perhaps another way to look at it is from a "margin of error" prism. The more a pitcher relies upon command the less margin of error he has concerning success. There just aren't many starting pitchers in the history of baseball that survived on plus command alone.

OnBaseMachine
06-12-2009, 11:42 AM
1-2 pitching punch leads ASU
Opposites Leake, Spence are perfect balance for Sun Devils
By Ted Miller
ESPN.com

TEMPE, Ariz. -- There's the koala. And then there's the drop bear.

Since Josh Spence is from Australia, he could tell you about either native species, but the Big Two of the Arizona State pitching staff offer a perfect visual aid.

A koala is cuddly. Like Spence.

The humble, lanky, lefty native of Newtown, Victoria, says he is just glad to be here, and his wide eyes suggest he truly is. After all, who would ever expect an Australian lad to be a leading hurler headed to the College World Series in Omaha this weekend?

Mike Leake isn't the type of leader who is everybody's best friend.
Then there's Mike Leake, the No. 8 pick of the Major League Baseball draft on Tuesday who pitched in Rosenblatt Stadium in 2007, the last time the Sun Devils advanced.

Leake is the "drop bear" -- vicious, carnivorous, mutated koalas who attack their prey by dropping onto their heads from the tree tops. Don't believe it when some wiseacre tells you drop bears don't exist. They most certainly do.

Leake mentioned the "drop bear" when asked about peculiar Australian terms that Spence frequently uses. At first glance, it might look as if Leake approximates a koala. He glibly notes, "I'm not a prospect. I'm 5-10." He is certainly not boisterous or physically intimidating. His hairstyle, painstakingly crafted by a pillow, implies a Southern California mellow. Much of the time he talks through a smirk, implying that he might be thinking something much different than what he is saying.

But Leake is a killa. And not just because the right-handed junior has piled up 40 career wins. Let's just say his leadership style in the clubhouse isn't influenced by the Stuart Smalley school of daily affirmations.

"It's not 'rah-rah, talk to you, be nice to you, pump you up' leadership -- it's true, authentic leadership," Sun Devils skipper Pat Murphy said. "Which means: Hold you accountable. If the wave is going this way, and he doesn't like the way the wave is going, he'll turn back against the wave. That's what I love about Mike."

Murphy then added, "Not a lot of guys are carrying his baseball card, if you know what I mean. He's not their best friend. That's for sure."

For example, when Spence suffered a hand injury that was supposed to end his season just more than a month ago, Leake offered some psychological assistance:

Suck it up.

"He needed to tell himself that 'I'm not hurt,'" Leake said. "He might have been hurt, but he still needed to tell himself that, just so he needed to build confidence. He needs 100 percent confidence in his own mind to do well. Otherwise, he doesn't believe in himself."

We should pause now and mention that these two have combined for a 25-2 record this season and are the nation's best one-two punch of starting pitchers. It's not clear yet who will start against North Carolina on Sunday in the Sun Devils' CWS opener (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET).

Leake (16-1, 1.36 ERA) is the two-time Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year and a first team All-American. Spence (9-1, 2.33) is a third team All-American despite pitching just seven innings since April 26 due to that hand injury.

Both notched wins in their super-regional sweep of Clemson, with Spence hurling a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts and just one walk.

Oh, by the way, Spence was picked in the third round by the Los Angeles Angels.

"Just because he didn't pitch for a month is the only reason he's not being talked about," Leake said. "He was lights-out when he was pitching, and he showed it again a month after. He should be talked about if he isn't. But he will be very shortly, I think."

Leake is in line to receive a signing bonus of $2 million to $3 million, but when asked about his impending change in fortune, he called the draft "just another day."

"I'm just glad it will be over so we can move on to finishing what we want to accomplish," he said. "We have one month left of college baseball. We have to put all of [our] focus into this month. And then we can worry about our dreams. This is one of our dreams."

Spence started dreaming about baseball in a country where few people even know the sport. He discovered the game as a youngster on television and became obsessed, particularly when rugby and cricket didn't catch his fancy.

"I tried to play all the Australian sports and kind of wasn't too successful at them," he said.

He said he found Arizona State's program on the Internet. He then flew 14 hours to take part in a Sun Devils baseball camp. He performed well enough to be shepherded into Central Arizona junior college, where he put up dominant numbers.

While Spence's fastball doesn't reach the 90s, he showcases an array of off-speed pitches that don't allow hitters to get comfortable. A Clemson hitter noted that Spence didn't seem to throw the same first pitch to any batter throughout Sunday's game.

Leake, meanwhile, can hit 94 on the radar gun, but he calls himself a sinkerball pitcher. His 150 strikeouts in 132.2 innings and .175 opponents' batting average suggest his stuff is pretty nasty. When ESPN's Karl Ravech of "Baseball Tonight" asked Leake about the four pitches he can throw for strikes, Leake fired back -- through a grin, of course -- that he's got more than four.

He didn't, however, claw out Ravech's eyes, as drop bears are wont to do.

Whatever the differences between the Aussie and Southern Californian, Murphy knows he has a lethal combination that could lead the Sun Devils to their first national title since 1981.

"I wouldn't want any two others," he said.

Both Leake and Spence have a future throwing the baseball. But the present comes first, and that's inside Rosenblatt Stadium.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=4250444

Caveat Emperor
06-12-2009, 01:54 PM
Look at Elizardo Ramirez as an example. Great command got him to Louisville but command of average stuff isn't enough against major league caliber hitters.

Elizardo Ramirez: 6'0, threw low-90s, great command of multiple pitches.

In no way am I suggesting that I think he's a comp for Leake, but he's a good name to remember when discussing what the floor for a guy like Leake could be.

princeton
06-12-2009, 01:56 PM
Elizardo Ramirez: 6'0, threw low-90s, great command of multiple pitches.

they weren't very good pitches.

Caveat Emperor
06-12-2009, 01:58 PM
they weren't very good pitches.

But he always knew where they were going -- usually towards the outfield wall at a high rate of speed.

OnBaseMachine
06-12-2009, 01:59 PM
From what I remember of Elizardo Ramirez, he had an average at best fastball and that was it. His secondary pitches were below average.

osuceltic
06-12-2009, 02:37 PM
Location, movement, velocity. In that order. Those are the tenets of the Braves' pitching philosophy, which seems pretty solid to me.

indy_dave00
06-12-2009, 03:07 PM
I'm very happy with the selection of Mike Leake . The fact he can touch 94 with his fastball and is consistantly at 91 with a nice easy repeatable motion is a very good sign for longevity. He has excellent control another plus , add to that 3 other solid pitches should mean a quick rise thru the farm system.

All you hear about him is that he is a bulldog and hard worker in many ways he reminds me of Greg Maddux who wasn't the biggest guy around. He's also athletic enough that he played some outfield in college and is a solid fielder and hitter.

Will he eventually become a #1 top of the rotation starter ? Its far to early to tell , but based on everything I've read and seen , he looks like a solid big league pitcher ( not thrower) who potentially could well be a #1 or #2 rotation arm .

The fact he's small in stature means little , the fact he has according to all asked about him the drive and determination to succeed to me makes up for the lack of physical size. A repeatable delivery and control already puts him ahead of most minor league prospects. Add 4 already MLB quality pitches, 2 of which are considered plus pitches makes it appear to me the Reds may have chose a safe pick but also a very likely successful one at #8 .

lollipopcurve
06-12-2009, 03:47 PM
RE: EZ Ramirez. EZ had phenomenal control, especially in the minors. But he did not have the range of pitches Leake has, and, most importantly, his fastball was quite straight. I don't think it's a great comp.

For the most part, we're speculating on Leake's stuff. I don't think any of us has seen him pitch much. But what we do know is that his numbers are freakish in a very tough conference. Based on the numbers, you can't find many comps. So, I'd question any declaration at this time that his ceiling is a middle or back of the rotation guy. There are very, very few pitchers who come out of the Pac-10 with that kind of performance record.

TheNext44
06-12-2009, 04:43 PM
Location, movement, velocity. In that order. Those are the tenets of the Braves' pitching philosophy, which seems pretty solid to me.

Dave Duncan's philosophy too. Braves and Cards always have solid pitching staffs, no matter the arms. ummmmmm......

Cedric
06-12-2009, 10:36 PM
Elizardo? Seriously? The guy had ZERO command IN the zone. Just because you throw strikes doesn't mean you are a good pitcher. He had ZERO movement on his pitches and he couldn't locate in the zone.

I think people fail to realize the difference between locating and throwing the ball down the middle with no movement.

jojo
06-12-2009, 10:38 PM
Elizardo? Seriously? The guy had ZERO command IN the zone. Just because you throw strikes doesn't mean you are a good pitcher. He had ZERO movement on his pitches and he couldn't locate in the zone.

I think people fail to realize the difference between locating and throwing the ball down the middle with no movement.

I think everyone would agree it takes more than throwing strikes.

Blitz Dorsey
06-13-2009, 12:51 AM
EZ Ramirez's fastball usually stayed around 89 or so. He could get it up more than that, but he had an average fastball for the most part. And like others have mentioned, it was very straight. Ramirez is a terrible comparison to Mike Leake (at least we better hope).

I really like the Leake pick. I was hoping for Crow on draft day, but I wanted Leake over Alex White and some of the others we were considering. And the more I see and read about Leake, the more I like. Very happy with that pick.

Caveat Emperor
06-13-2009, 03:30 AM
Ramirez is a terrible comparison to Mike Leake (at least we better hope).


Clearly we should hope and expect that Leake is better than Elizardo Ramirez was/is.

What Elizardo Ramirez should remind people (if they don't know or feel the need to pencil Leake in as a solid major leaguer before he even signs) is that there's a lot that can go wrong with a 6' righthander that doesn't throw fire (ala Johnny Cueto / Roy Oswalt).

TheNext44
06-13-2009, 12:31 PM
Clearly we should hope and expect that Leake is better than Elizardo Ramirez was/is.

What Elizardo Ramirez should remind people (if they don't know or feel the need to pencil Leake in as a solid major leaguer before he even signs) is that there's a lot that can go wrong with a 6' righthander that doesn't throw fire (ala Johnny Cueto / Roy Oswalt).

And for every Elizardo Ramirez you can name, I can name a John Van Benschoten, or a Bryan Bullington, or a Phillip Humber, all big, tall, top ten picks who threw fire, and who were less productive than Ramirez.

Benihana
06-13-2009, 01:53 PM
And for every Elizardo Ramirez you can name, I can name a John Van Benschoten, or a Bryan Bullington, or a Phillip Humber, all big, tall, top ten picks who threw fire, and who were less productive than Ramirez.

Bryan Bullington never had a high ceiling- even when he was drafted #1 overall all the reports projected him as a mid-rotation type at best.

Brutus
06-13-2009, 02:15 PM
Bryan Bullington never had a high ceiling- even when he was drafted #1 overall all the reports projected him as a mid-rotation type at best.

He was a No. 1-overall pick and threw in the mid 90's with a great slider. Though you're correct, the Pirates said they felt at worst he'd be a great No. 3 pitcher, most people felt the Pirates were simply saying that to take the pressure off. Even Jim Callis felt that was the case.

TheNext44
06-13-2009, 03:18 PM
Bryan Bullington never had a high ceiling- even when he was drafted #1 overall all the reports projected him as a mid-rotation type at best.

You're right, he was a signability pick. But I was just responding the comment about size and velocity, which he had both.

Homer Bailey
06-13-2009, 04:52 PM
Is Leake starting soon? I thought I read somewhere that he wasn't supposed to make his start tomorrow, but now I can't find it.

Screwball
06-14-2009, 04:22 AM
Is Leake starting soon? I thought I read somewhere that he wasn't supposed to make his start tomorrow, but now I can't find it.

I'm not sure if he's starting tomorrow or not (game's at 2 pm on ESPN for those interested), but here's (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76413) the thread I assume you're referring to.

OnBaseMachine
06-14-2009, 01:21 PM
Josh Spence will start today for ASU. Spence is a lefty and the UNC lineup is loaded with left handed hitters, thus the reason why Spence is pitching today instead of Leake.

11larkin11
06-14-2009, 01:36 PM
Well that sucks. I'll probably still watch anyways for Fleury

redsfandan
06-15-2009, 10:12 AM
I didn't see this posted so what the heck:

An objective look at Mike Leake by Ryan Fay June 11, 2009

The Cincinnati Reds selected Arizona State righthander Mike Leake with the eighth overall pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.

Leake instantly becomes the top pitching prospect in an organization that is heavy on hitting prospects and his rise through the minors could be a quick one.

“Though Leake has created little of the national intrigue in his career that (Stephen) Strasburg did this season, he is every bit as far along in his development and could even challenge his former Team USA teammate to be the first pitcher in the Class of 2009 to reach the big leagues,” wrote Allan Simpson of Perfect Game Crosschecker.

Cincinnati senior director of scouting Chris Buckley agrees that Leake, 21, already has well-developed abilities.

“He's a very polished college pitcher. He's got four pitches, and his numbers are off the chart,” Buckley told The Associated Press.

Those numbers – 30.4% K and 4.3% BB as of June 7th – continue to be piled up as Leake's season continues in the College World Series.

The stats are backed up by plus-plus command of an impressive arsenal that includes an 88-94 MPH fastball, a slider and an average curveball. None of his offerings top his plus changeup, a pitch that he'll throw at any point in the count.

Most pitchers would be intimidated by pitching in Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark, one of the more homer-friendly parks in the majors. Luckily for Leake, ASU's highest-drafted player since 1998, it may not be as much of a problem.

“I'm a groundball pitcher. When I get groundballs, I know I'm doing well. That's what I can do, when I can work down in the zone,” he told The Associated Press.

Leake doesn't have a prototypical pitcher's frame. Listed at 6-foot, 185 pounds, Leake says he's actually 5-foot-10, and despite being undersized, he's held up well over his college career.

"If he were 6-foot-2, he would have for sure gone before us. [Dustin] Pedroia is 5-foot-8. Sometimes they come in smaller packages," Buckley told MLB.com.

Leake, a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award given to the nation's top college player, is expected to sign by the August 15th deadline for a figure between $2-3 million.

"The sooner we can get it done, the better," he told MLB.com.

Attitude and make-up are crucial factors in the development of a prospect, but Leake has the right mindset.

"This is a great time in my life right now with fantastic opportunities and obstacles along the way. I will embrace the opportunities with open arms and will stay humble wherever the road takes me," he blogged on MLB.com.

Leake could begin his professional career in a full-season league and has a chance to be in the big leagues relatively quickly.

One of the safer bets for major league success in this year's draft class, Leake might lack the fastball that light up radar guns, and he may not be as big as some people would like him to be, but he's close to being the complete package. A good mix between certainty and ceiling, he could eventually settle in as a No. 2-3 starter at the major league level.

flyer85
06-15-2009, 11:42 AM
I do find all the love for Leake amusing on this level. There was a lot of debate on Lincecum before the 06 draft and the main argument against him was that he was a short RHP and thus unlikely to succeed. I for one did not agree with the short RHP argument in the case of Lincecum. Leake is a fine pitcher and will hopefully succeed but stuff wise he is a ways behind Lincecum. It should be interesting to watch.

camisadelgolf
06-15-2009, 11:49 AM
For what it's worth, few people said Johnny Cueto has what it takes to be an ace and mostly profiles as a #2 or 3 starter.

princeton
06-15-2009, 11:55 AM
I do find all the love for Leake amusing on this level. There was a lot of debate on Lincecum before the 06 draft and the main argument against him was that he was a short RHP and thus unlikely to succeed.


I suspect that the Reds project better health for Leake than they did a few years ago for Lincecum.

RedEye
06-15-2009, 01:54 PM
On a related note, how does one pronounce this guy's name? Is it "Leak" or "Leaky"? I've been assuming it is the former, but for some reason, that "e" on the end keeps confusing me.

Caveat Emperor
06-15-2009, 03:14 PM
For what it's worth, few people said Johnny Cueto has what it takes to be an ace and mostly profiles as a #2 or 3 starter.

Cueto has always had #1 stuff -- the question with him was whether or not he'd develop the command to reach that level.

It's a steeper hill to climb when you're approaching the equation from the other end. Not saying it is impossible, but the "blow you away fastball" is pretty much a requirement for a true #1 starter.

It shouldn't be a knock on Leake if he never makes it to that status -- there are very few true #1 starters in baseball.

OnBaseMachine
06-15-2009, 03:50 PM
On a related note, how does one pronounce this guy's name? Is it "Leak" or "Leaky"? I've been assuming it is the former, but for some reason, that "e" on the end keeps confusing me.

Leak

Az. Reds Fan
06-15-2009, 04:10 PM
Leake waiting his turn...

http://www.azcentral.com/sports/asu/articles/2009/06/14/20090614spt-asubasenb.html?&wired

fearofpopvol1
06-15-2009, 11:10 PM
I do find all the love for Leake amusing on this level. There was a lot of debate on Lincecum before the 06 draft and the main argument against him was that he was a short RHP and thus unlikely to succeed. I for one did not agree with the short RHP argument in the case of Lincecum. Leake is a fine pitcher and will hopefully succeed but stuff wise he is a ways behind Lincecum. It should be interesting to watch.

:confused:

I'm not really sure what bloviating about the past accomplishes, but to each his own.

Pony Boy
06-16-2009, 03:05 PM
I think that when discussing Leake we need to ask the question, why is it that tall pitchers are preferable to shorter pitchers? And if the reason that we prefer our pitchers in the 6'2+ range don't apply to Leake (ie if Leake has attributes that mitigate these issues) then his height shouldnt be an issue. So here it goes (let me know if I missing any):

1. We prefer taller pitchers because they are more durable on average. Bigger frames can handle the stress of pitching better than smaller frames.

2. We prefer taller pitchers because they generally are able to throw harder. Longer arms/longer legs/more leverage=greater velocity.

3. We prefer taller pitchers because a higher release point allows more downward movement.

I dont think #1 is an issue, because Leake has been very durable in college and apparently has an easy throwing motion and good mechanics. He seems to be less of an injury risk than many of the big power arms. It also is an encouraging sign that he prefers to throw his fastball at 90-91 rather than the 94 that he is capable of. He is not stressing his arm by constantly throwing at maximum velocity.

#2 is a slight issue. He has very average velocity for a MLB pitcher. If he was bigger he would probably be able to throw a little harder. He still throws with adequate velocity that should play in the majors and there are plenty of pitchers that are taller than Leake that throw 91 mph fastballs.

I don't think that #3 is an issue because Leake reportedly has very good movement on all of his pitches including his fastball.

BuckeyeRedleg
06-16-2009, 03:40 PM
I think that when discussing Leake we need to ask the question, why is it that tall pitchers are preferable to shorter pitchers? And if the reason that we prefer our pitchers in the 6'2+ range don't apply to Leake (ie if Leake has attributes that mitigate these issues) then his height shouldnt be an issue. So here it goes (let me know if I missing any):

1. We prefer taller pitchers because they are more durable on average. Bigger frames can handle the stress of pitching better than smaller frames.

2. We prefer taller pitchers because they generally are able to throw harder. Longer arms/longer legs/more leverage=greater velocity.

3. We prefer taller pitchers because a higher release point allows more downward movement.

I dont think #1 is an issue, because Leake has been very durable in college and apparently has an easy throwing motion and good mechanics. He seems to be less of an injury risk than many of the big power arms. It also is an encouraging sign that he prefers to throw his fastball at 90-91 rather than the 94 that he is capable of. He is not stressing his arm by constantly throwing at maximum velocity.

#2 is a slight issue. He has very average velocity for a MLB pitcher. If he was bigger he would probably be able to throw a little harder. He still throws with adequate velocity that should play in the majors and there are plenty of pitchers that are taller than Leake that throw 91 mph fastballs.

I don't think that #3 is an issue because Leake reportedly has very good movement on all of his pitches including his fastball.

Great stuff, Pony Boy.

FlyerFanatic
06-16-2009, 07:13 PM
leake off to a shaky start in this CWS game

EDIT: got out of it! nice. started off the game with giving up a double and a walk, struck out the next batter, and got a DP ground ball after that.

NorrisHopper30
06-16-2009, 07:39 PM
The CWS announcer for this game has an awful voice

flyer85
06-16-2009, 08:40 PM
looks like he is standing in a hole

Shawn_RedsFan
06-16-2009, 08:40 PM
Leake obviously doesn't have his best stuff tonight

Captain Hook
06-16-2009, 08:45 PM
Leake obviously doesn't have his best stuff tonight

Pitching against the #1 seed in the entire tournament will make it look like you don't have your best stuff every time.

Usually a rain delay sucks but tonight its kind of nice because we can watch the Reds #1 draft pick.

Even though he's not looking very good.

Blitz Dorsey
06-16-2009, 08:46 PM
Boy Leake is looking crappy tonight. I was all excited for this game. I hope we didn't screw up by taking him over Crow.