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View Full Version : Leake Or Wood On Pace To Become The 5th Starter



RedLegSuperStar
03-25-2010, 01:42 PM
jfay-

The Reds have the schedule for pitching posted in the cubhouse leading right up to the last day of camp. Judging from it, the fifth starter will be Mike Leake or Travis Wood. Consider:

–Wood’s and Leake’s days line up so April 11 — the first start for the fifth start — falls on their normal day.

–None of the other pitchers in the race for the No. 5 spot is on the schedule for more than three innings.

We’re still 20 days away from the first start, so that could change, particularly if both Wood and Leake struggle in their last two spring training outings.

Here’s the schedule (by the way, Aroldis Chapman is not listed on it):

–Tomorrow vs. the Mariners: Leake will start and go four, followed by four from Wood and one from Kip Wells.

–Saturday vs. San Diego: Micah Owings will start and go three, followed by three from Mike Lincoln, one from Nick Masset and one from Daniel Ray Herrera. This day lines up with the second start of regular season. Johnny Cueto, the No. 2 starter, will pitch six innings in a minor league game.

–Sunday: Bronson Arroyo will go six against the Dodgers.

–Monday: No starter is scheduled yet.

–Tuesday: Aaron Harang will go six or seven against San Diego.

–Wednesday: Leake will start the home game against Oakland and go five, followed by one from Lincoln, one from Herrera and one or two from Owings. Wood will start the game in Las Vegas against the Dodgers and go five, followed by one from Ondrusek, one from Justin Lehr and one from Wells.

April 1: Cueto will start against Texas.

April 2: Arroyo will start against Cleveland.

April 3: Bailey will start against Cleveland in finale from Goodyear.

dougdirt
03-25-2010, 01:57 PM
Leake has pitched a little better so far. Both go tomorrow in the same game (with Pitch F/X.... awesome!). I think Wood will take it unless he gets beat around between now and the season. It just makes a decision easier for the Reds as he is already on the 40 man roster and has over 250 innings between AA/AAA.

Guacarock
03-25-2010, 02:02 PM
Wood also satisfies the same need that Chapman would have -- namely, adding a southpaw to the rotation so opposing batters have to face a greater variety of pitching styles and deliveries.

Chapman now will go down to the minors, and so will Leake, but I wonder what will happen to Maloney. Will he be dealt, reassigned to the bullpen or will the Reds try to slip him through the waiver wire back to Louisville?

dougdirt
03-25-2010, 02:08 PM
Wood also satisfies the same need that Chapman would have -- namely, adding a southpaw to the rotation so opposing batters have to face a greater variety of pitching styles and deliveries.

Chapman now will go down to the minors, and so will Leake, but I wonder what will happen to Maloney. Will he be dealt, reassigned to the bullpen or will the Reds try to slip him through the waiver wire back to Louisville?

Maloney won't have to go through waivers to go back to Louisville.

Kc61
03-25-2010, 02:10 PM
I also remember reading that Heisey was first on the left field depth chart.

We'll see.

Guacarock
03-25-2010, 02:23 PM
Maloney won't have to go through waivers to go back to Louisville.

You're right -- Maloney does have options remaining so he won't need to go on the waiver wire. I'm not sure why I assumed he was out of options -- maybe because he's been around and is getting a bit old to go back down to AAA.

For the record, I found Mark Sheldon's earlier report identifying exactly which Reds are out of options in this year's spring training camp. They are:

RHP Bronson Arroyo, RHP Homer Bailey, IF/OF Wladimir Balentien, RHP Francisco Cordero, RHP Mike Lincoln and RHP Nick Masset.

reds44
03-25-2010, 02:50 PM
I'm not going to lie, I'm hoping Leake takes it. With that being said, it's not like it's Leake vs. Lincoln in which case I would root for Lincoln to be bad (in spring training). I hope they both pitch well, but Leake gets the nod. Odds are we will see Wood, Leake, and Chapman by the end of the year anyway.

SirFelixCat
03-25-2010, 02:57 PM
I really didn't think either of them had a legit chance up until today. I'm all in favor of it! :thumbup:

Kc61
03-25-2010, 03:10 PM
If this thread continues long enough, Mike Leake will be starting the All Star Game. Hope he does, but let's slow down a bit.

Maybe Maloney pitches Monday (nobody listed) and is on track to be fifth starter. Maybe Owings does well in his next stint and is back in the hunt. It's impossible to know.

As between Leake and Wood, I would expect Travis W to be the more likely candidate. He has high minors time, is a lefty. Hard to imagine Leake makes the rotation with zero professional experience.

I still think the fifth starter is unsettled. And some guys can pitch long stretches in minor league games that don't show up on this schedule.

Reds usually seem slow in making cuts so it's never easy to know what they have in mind until the end.

mbgrayson
03-25-2010, 03:11 PM
Wood also satisfies the same need that Chapman would have -- namely, adding a southpaw to the rotation so opposing batters have to face a greater variety of pitching styles and deliveries.

Chapman now will go down to the minors, and so will Leake, but I wonder what will happen to Maloney. Will he be dealt, reassigned to the bullpen or will the Reds try to slip him through the waiver wire back to Louisville?

Also like Chapman(though w/o the complicated contract), I imagine there are financial reasons for starting Leake in the minors, to delay the start of his arbitration/free agency clock.

TheNext44
03-25-2010, 03:31 PM
Also like Chapman(though w/o the complicated contract), I imagine there are financial reasons for starting Leake in the minors, to delay the start of his arbitration/free agency clock.

They only thing they have to worry about is if he is on the opening day roster. If he misses one day this year, it pushes his Free Agency clock back a whole year.

Since he's not need until the second week, just add another bat until the day he pitches and call Leake up the day before starts.

IslandRed
03-25-2010, 03:48 PM
They only thing they have to worry about is if he is on the opening day roster. If he misses one day this year, it pushes his Free Agency clock back a whole year.

Since he's not need until the second week, just add another bat until the day he pitches and call Leake up the day before starts.

As I understand the service time rules, that's not exactly the case. A service "year" is actually 172 cumulative days on the active roster, so technically it's possible (depending on the actual number of days between Opening Day and the regular-season finale) to spend a few days in the minors and still meet the requirements for a service year. (And if I remember right, it's done that way to prevent that very kind of jacking around with people's free-agency clock.)

Guacarock
03-25-2010, 03:50 PM
I'm not going to lie, I'm hoping Leake takes it. With that being said, it's not like it's Leake vs. Lincoln in which case I would root for Lincoln to be bad (in spring training). I hope they both pitch well, but Leake gets the nod. Odds are we will see Wood, Leake, and Chapman by the end of the year anyway.

I saw Wood, Leake and Chapman pitch earlier this spring in Arizona, and you're absolutely right, all three of them could break into the rotation by the end of this year. What a talented and impressive trio, particularly considering their youthfulness and relative inexperience.

Leake did surprise me the most, not because he was head-and-shoulders above either Chapman or Wood, but I just didn't expect to see a pitcher as poised and professional as he demonstrated himself to be. That said, I'm still rooting for Wood to get this promotion, assuming he doesn't implode over his next few spring starts.

Elevating the team's minor league pitcher of 2009 would be a powerful motivating factor for every other one of the Reds' prospects toiling down on the farm. Leake and Chapman are also prospects, but they haven't been in the system, so I'm not sure that giving them an instant invite to the ML would have the same impact.

Sure, let them bypass Baltic Ave. and St. Charles Place, but it seems like they should at least take a brisk stroll down Ventnor and Boardwalk first before passing "Go."

Edd Roush
03-25-2010, 04:02 PM
I also remember reading that Heisey was first on the left field depth chart.

We'll see.

While I understand your point and sentiment, that was both long before Spring Training started and before Gomes was signed.

Here we are in late March talking about Wood and Leake both having solid chances to be our #5. I like it.

Caveat Emperor
03-25-2010, 04:11 PM
I have a tough time believing that Mike Leake is major-league ready without throwing a single inning of minor league ball. Hell -- even Strasburg is going to the minors for at least a little bit.

This seems to be a classic case of putting too much faith into Spring Training numbers. There's no professional (ie minor league) data to back up what we're seeing from Leake right now. Given that, the correct thing to do is send him to AA/AAA and let him prove that what he's doing now is legit.

Kc61
03-25-2010, 04:15 PM
While I understand your point and sentiment, that was both long before Spring Training started and before Gomes was signed.

Here we are in late March talking about Wood and Leake both having solid chances to be our #5. I like it.

Do you like it because they are ready, or because they are kids coming up through the Reds organization? I know it's exciting to see home-grown guys make the team, but the excitement is not a substitute for being major league ready.

If the Reds choose to promote a minor leaguer to start the season, I'd like to see it be Maloney. I think he'd be a good fifth starter and is clearly ready.

Maloney has an excellent K/BB rate and his one issue is the long ball. I think he has earned the shot to show the team what he has.

I guess I'm ok if Maloney is in the pen and gets his shot there, but it would be ridiculous to send him back to AAA.

I'd like to see Wood have a successful first half at AAA then come up. I'd like to see Leake have a solid AAA season. And he should be at AAA, not lower.

Chapman is different. No way to know when he will be ready to start in the big leagues, but the minute he is I want him up immediately. Don't want his stuff wasted on games that don't count.

OnBaseMachine
03-25-2010, 04:38 PM
From C. Trent's twitter:

I'm only giving this to you guys right now, will write more on it, but now it's just you -- #Reds 5th starter down to Leake, Wood, Chapman

http://twitter.com/cnatist10

Tommyjohn25
03-25-2010, 04:52 PM
From C. Trent's twitter:

I'm only giving this to you guys right now, will write more on it, but now it's just you -- #Reds 5th starter down to Leake, Wood, Chapman

http://twitter.com/cnatist10


Sweeeeeeeet. :beerme:

Caveat Emperor
03-25-2010, 05:03 PM
Regarding Leake, I thought this bit from Gammons' latest article (http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100325&content_id=8924324&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin)on MLB.com is particularly relevant:


When it's been suggested that Stephen Strasburg has nothing to gain by going to the Minor Leagues, what was forgotten is that he has yet to pitch on four days' rest for four to six months. In college, pitchers work once a week. In Spring Training, the appearances are short, the environment framed. In 1970, Steve Dunning came out of Stanford as the greatest college pitcher of all time, went right to the Indians and eventually finished his career 23-41. A year later, Pete Broberg of Dartmouth was called the best ever and started in the big leagues with the Senators. Tom Grieve, who was a teammate, says, "Strasburg can't have better stuff than Pete Broberg had." But Broberg never had a chance to prepare and was 41-71 for his career.

Putting Mike Leake in the rotation to start the year seems to be inviting disaster for an otherwise promising young pitcher. Let the kid learn to be a professional before you throw him headfirst into the fire. The fact that the Reds are even considering breaking camp with him as the #5 guy is three kinds of troubling.

lollipopcurve
03-25-2010, 05:24 PM
This is the Jim Leyland approach -- if he's got the talent, I want him on the team.

Sea Ray
03-25-2010, 05:35 PM
From C. Trent's twitter:

I'm only giving this to you guys right now, will write more on it, but now it's just you -- #Reds 5th starter down to Leake, Wood, Chapman

http://twitter.com/cnatist10

We know it's not Chapman. Jocketty said as much today, so I question the validity of this Tweet, but assuming it's accurate I wonder why Maloney is dropped? It looks to me like it's Wood.

bucksfan2
03-25-2010, 05:44 PM
We know it's not Chapman. Jocketty said as much today, so I question the validity of this Tweet, but assuming it's accurate I wonder why Maloney is dropped? It looks to me like it's Wood.

I wonder if Maloney is traded before the season starts.

As for Leake I mentioned it in another thread but I never thought he had a chance to start the season in the rotation. But when I heard Larkin talking about him and how impressed he was I thought he stood a legit chance to pitch. FWIW he had better collegiate numbers than Strasberg while pitching in a better conference. Does that mean he will be a better major leaguer, probably not.

Im hoping its Wood. I want to see both Leake and Chapman get time in AA or AAA before they pitch in Cincinnati.

reds44
03-25-2010, 05:46 PM
We know it's not Chapman. Jocketty said as much today, so I question the validity of this Tweet, but assuming it's accurate I wonder why Maloney is dropped? It looks to me like it's Wood.
Wasn't it stated a week or so ago that Maloney was going to the pen? What happend with Owings? Not that I'm complaining, but I would have thought he would have gotten more of a shot then he did.

I think Wood is the favorite, but Dusty seems to love Leake.

Guacarock
03-25-2010, 05:51 PM
We know it's not Chapman. Jocketty said as much today, so I question the validity of this Tweet, but assuming it's accurate I wonder why Maloney is dropped? It looks to me like it's Wood.

Maloney didn't get much of a shot. But I can understand Wood's appeal -- chalking up 10 strikeouts in 10 IP so far this spring, while posting a 2.70 ERA. Only Chapman's stats have been more impressive and that's among all Reds starters -- Harang, Arroyo, Cueto, Bailey, et. al. -- not just the logjam of candidates vying for the 5th slot in the rotation.

This follows a strong campaign by Wood last year in AA and AAA, so he's on a solid track. The only concern I have with him: His seven walks allowed over the 10 IP. I don't think he's wild, just a little green and shaky. He hasn't been too hurt by the walks, as he's only surrendered a stingy 5 hits.

Hopefully, he can improve his composure over his next few spring starts. Maybe he's less experienced than Maloney, but he looks like the more promising hurler. We'll see soon enough.

OnBaseMachine
03-25-2010, 05:54 PM
More from C. Trent:


TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Reds fifth starter spot is coming down to one of three young pitchers -- Aroldis Chapman, Travis Wood and Mike Leake -- with less than two weeks before the season begins.

"That's the guys right now that we're giving the most innings to compete for that role," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said. "Anything can happen, we've stretched out Maloney and we've stretched out Lehr to a certain degree. We stretched out Lincoln early and I talked to all those guys about competing for jobs in the bullpen."


follow the link for the rest:
http://cnati.com/spring-training-2010/3-vying-for-reds-fifth-spot-001619/

reds44
03-25-2010, 05:55 PM
I wasn't overly impressed with Wood's stuff in the start I saw of his. It's better than Maloney's but I don't think it matches up with Leake's. Granted, he's left handed.

Tommyjohn25
03-25-2010, 06:52 PM
I wasn't overly impressed with Wood's stuff in the start I saw of his. It's better than Maloney's but I don't think it matches up with Leake's. Granted, he's left handed.

This. Exactly this. Wood probably deserves it though.

redsmetz
03-25-2010, 06:58 PM
I wonder if Maloney is traded before the season starts.

As for Leake I mentioned it in another thread but I never thought he had a chance to start the season in the rotation. But when I heard Larkin talking about him and how impressed he was I thought he stood a legit chance to pitch. FWIW he had better collegiate numbers than Strasberg while pitching in a better conference. Does that mean he will be a better major leaguer, probably not.

Im hoping its Wood. I want to see both Leake and Chapman get time in AA or AAA before they pitch in Cincinnati.

That's what I keep wondering because Maloney seems to have fallen from the race rather quickly. I agree with you on Leake & Chapman too.

TheNext44
03-25-2010, 06:59 PM
Looks like not everyone is on the same page:

Via Fay:


Walt Jocketty would not go so far as to say it will be either Mike Leake or Travis Wood for the fifth starter spot.

“I think they’re still trying to stretch out (Matt) Maloney and (Justin) Lehr,” he said. “I think it will come down to one of those four.”

Jocketty on the fifth starter (http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2010/03/25/jocketty-on-the-fifth-starter/)

reds44
03-25-2010, 07:04 PM
Just say no to Lehr.

Will M
03-25-2010, 07:26 PM
i am puzzled as to why Lehr keeps getting mentioned. he is likely not anywhere close to being one of our top five starters.
my guess is this: the team wants to try Maloney in the pen because he is 9th on the talent chart behind Arroyo, Harang, Cueto, Bailey, Volquez, Chapman, Leake & Wood. Even if Arroyo & Harang aren't Reds in 2011 he would still be 7th on the talent chart. he is however a potential solid major league pitcher. rather than have him be the 5th starter for a very brief time & then have to adjust to the pen they would rather just place him in the pen right now. if the team decides that Chapman, Leake & Wood should ALL start in AAA then they could run Lehr out there just until they decide that one of the young guys is ready.

my guess: if he pitches well Wood is the 5th starter. Maloney goes to the pen. Leake & Chapman start in AAA.

i personally want the following guys on the team:
Arroyo, Harang, Cueto, Bailey, Maloney, Owings, Herrera, Burton, Masset, Rhodes & Cordero. The last seven could be the pen or Maloney could pitch as the 5th starter.
If Lehr, Wood or Leake is the 5th starter then i want Lincoln released. I don't want a guy like Maloney rotting in AAA just because we owe Lincoln money. Maloney has the potential to be a solid major league pitcher. Lincoln's upside is a lot lower than Maloney's.

mth123
03-25-2010, 08:36 PM
Some things that are overblown:

1. The timing of when these guys are pitching. Plenty of time to re-set the rotation.
2. Maloney not being stretched out enough. He threw 65 pitches in a minor league game yesterday. He could get a start Monday and throw 80 and another next weekend and throw 100. If he's not in the race its because the team doesn't think he's good enough, not because of where he is from an innings standpoint.

I'm not really a fan of any of the three young guns as the 5th starter now. Chapman really needs a season to build innings at his young age. I'd rather the reds go slow and be careful with that arm. Leake pitched 140 plus last year and probably would be ok with 5th starter innings, but I just think minor league time would help him. I also would hesitate putting him on the 40 man so soon. I'd like to see Wood repeat some success at AAA. He had 1 good year after 3 mediocre to bad ones. He'd be ok, but unless Maloney is dealt, it seems like the reds need to find out about him and possibly showcase him while the other build their resumes.

REDblooded
03-25-2010, 11:16 PM
NSFRZ (not safe for reds zone), but on the RedReporter twitter feed is by far the funniest baseball comment I've seen in a long time... It pretty much solves the dilemma between Wood and Leake. You can find it right between these two posts...


I still think Chapman will get some time to adjust in the minors. Same with Leake. My money is on Wood getting the 5th spot in the rotation. about 7 hours ago via Echofon

and


Projecting Jay Bruce: What do you see for 2010? http://sbnation.com/e/1154061 about 9 hours ago via SB Nation


http://twitter.com/redreporter

Blitz Dorsey
03-26-2010, 01:49 AM
Nice ... I was hoping all along it would be Wood, but some of you had me convinced they would settle on Maloney. I much prefer the higher-ceiling Wood in the rotation and the lower-ceiling Maloney in the bullpen as the third lefty (behind Rhodes and Herrera).

Also pleasantly surprised with the reports on Leake. I wasn't all that impressed when I saw him in the CWS last year, although I only saw him pitch once. Obviously a very small sample. Great to hear that he is doing well.

fearofpopvol1
03-26-2010, 06:52 AM
I think Wood is the best choice here. Let Chapman get down and spend some time. Leake hasn't pitched an inning in the minors. Wood is the easy choice because he has pitched at every level in the minors, he's the oldest of the bunch and is the best equipped to handle the 5th starter load. He's shown some success in the upper levels and has had a good spring training. The choice really should be pretty obvious IMO.

icehole3
03-26-2010, 10:19 AM
Who would go off the 40 man if Leake forces a move???

Sea Ray
03-26-2010, 10:51 AM
Who would go off the 40 man if Leake forces a move???

You make a great point. They may not want the hassle of a roster move when they have other choices already on the 40 man

IslandRed
03-26-2010, 11:17 AM
I think Wood is the best choice here. Let Chapman get down and spend some time. Leake hasn't pitched an inning in the minors. Wood is the easy choice because he has pitched at every level in the minors, he's the oldest of the bunch and is the best equipped to handle the 5th starter load. He's shown some success in the upper levels and has had a good spring training. The choice really should be pretty obvious IMO.

I agree with this. As good as I think Chapman and Leake are going to be -- and pretty soon -- I'm perfectly okay with letting them pitch some real pro ballgames first.

REDblooded
03-26-2010, 01:08 PM
Nice ... I was hoping all along it would be Wood, but some of you had me convinced they would settle on Maloney. I much prefer the higher-ceiling Wood in the rotation and the lower-ceiling Maloney in the bullpen as the third lefty (behind Rhodes and Herrera).

Also pleasantly surprised with the reports on Leake. I wasn't all that impressed when I saw him in the CWS last year, although I only saw him pitch once. Obviously a very small sample. Great to hear that he is doing well.

I think the thing you have to be most impressed with regarding Leake is that he had his success pitching in that desert air... When you consider that he's not blowing people away with his fastball, and the dry air makes the ball harder to grip and more difficult to get movement on pitches, it makes it all the more impressive when considering this kids future...

REDblooded
03-26-2010, 01:09 PM
I'm also really hoping Maloney stays in AAA for a few months and dominates... Would make him a much stronger trade chip.

dunner13
03-26-2010, 01:17 PM
I think the thing you have to be most impressed with regarding Leake is that he had his success pitching in that desert air... When you consider that he's not blowing people away with his fastball, and the dry air makes the ball harder to grip and more difficult to get movement on pitches, it makes it all the more impressive when considering this kids future...

Correct me if im wrong but didnt leake grow up pretty close to goodyear? Im thinking he may have had an adavantage this spring because he is used to pitching in the enviroment of arizona, which in theory means his stuff should only be better in cincinnati.

REDblooded
03-26-2010, 01:18 PM
Correct me if im wrong but didnt leake grow up pretty close to goodyear? Im thinking he may have had an adavantage this spring because he is used to pitching in the enviroment of arizona, which in theory means his stuff should only be better in cincinnati.

Definitely... And I agree that his stuff should play up even better in Cinci... Get a little humidity and wind working on his already solid movement and he'll be even harder to hit.

dougdirt
03-26-2010, 01:52 PM
Correct me if im wrong but didnt leake grow up pretty close to goodyear? Im thinking he may have had an adavantage this spring because he is used to pitching in the enviroment of arizona, which in theory means his stuff should only be better in cincinnati.

Leake is a California kid. He went to school at Arizona State, but he certainly didn't grow up there.

OnBaseMachine
03-26-2010, 04:47 PM
From Fay:



This is Leake’s first professional camp. It’s Wood’s first big league camp. Leake’s pitched eight innings so far this spring, Wood 10.

If one or both them is good the next two times out, you’ve got your fifth starter.


more from Fay:
http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2010/03/26/its-a-big-game-today/

Will M
03-26-2010, 05:08 PM
Can someone enlighten me about Travis Wood?
I see a guy whose AAA numbers were similar to Maloney's.
He is 3 years younger than Maloney.
He was almost written off prior to his stellar 2009 season.

1. why is he a better prospect than maloney?

2. what is he doing differently now compared to pre 2009?

3. what is his ceiling? floor?

4. is he really ready for the show after a 1/2 season in AAA?

Thanks.

fearofpopvol1
03-26-2010, 05:40 PM
Can someone enlighten me about Travis Wood?
I see a guy whose AAA numbers were similar to Maloney's.
He is 3 years younger than Maloney.
He was almost written off prior to his stellar 2009 season.

1. why is he a better prospect than maloney?

2. what is he doing differently now compared to pre 2009?

3. what is his ceiling? floor?

4. is he really ready for the show after a 1/2 season in AAA?

Thanks.

Wood has a legitimate out pitch with his changeup. It's really plus-plus. It could be considered a top 10 in the majors pitch. The problem is he used to throw fastballs at 93-94 MPH...but after an injury, he hasn't been able to regain that velocity. So, he's had to do what other pitchers have had to do...tweak and work with what you got. Many believe he figured out how to do that last season. He also has a pretty good circle change he can get righties out with. Curveball he has been working on for a while, but hasn't mastered IMO.

He definitely has a higher ceiling than Maloney does because of his amazing changeup.

Sea Ray
03-26-2010, 05:54 PM
Didn't Wood have better strike out numbers in the minors than Maloney?

OnBaseMachine
03-26-2010, 05:58 PM
I watched Leake and Wood pitch on TV a couple weeks ago and came away very impressed with their stuff. Wood's changeup was very good and his fastball was better than I thought. If his velocity can stay around 89/90 mph, with his changeup, he could be a solid big league starter, IMO. Everything Mike Leake threw that day was at the knees. He threw a very nice slider to strikeout Erick Aybar and showed very good command. He reminds me a bit of Tim Hudson...

reds44
03-26-2010, 06:18 PM
Leake's final line today:
4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K

The run (which was earned) scored on a double steal by Ichiro on Jack Wilson.

OnBaseMachine
03-26-2010, 06:19 PM
Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse has an article up on Mike Leake...


He really is a pitcher.

"I've seen a tremendous control of the strike zone," Baker said. "He recognizes, at a younger age than anybody I've seen, what a batter's trying to do."

Leake has impressed with his movement -- "Nothing is straight," one scout said -- ability to keep the ball down in the strike zone, poise and guts. Another scout called him "creative."


http://mlb.fanhouse.com/2010/03/25/leake-could-jump-straight-to-cincinnati/

reds44
03-26-2010, 06:21 PM
From dougdirt's twitter:
Mike Leake gets through 4ip, 3h, 1r, 1bb, 1k. FB avg was 88.6MPH, topped out at 91.3, hit 91 8 times. 34 strikes, 17 balls. 9 GB of 13 BIP.

OnBaseMachine
03-26-2010, 06:24 PM
From dougdirt's twitter:
Mike Leake gets through 4ip, 3h, 1r, 1bb, 1k. FB avg was 88.6MPH, topped out at 91.3, hit 91 8 times. 34 strikes, 17 balls. 9 GB of 13 BIP.

Nice. And apparently he fooled Ichiro with a changeup, according to C. Trent:


An ugly, ugly swing from Ichiro on a changeup, but then he throws his bat out and singles to center, typical Ichiro.

http://cnati.com/spring-training-2010/live-reds-mariners-32610-001627/

OnBaseMachine
03-26-2010, 06:25 PM
Here's to hoping Travis Wood has a strong outing too.

reds44
03-26-2010, 06:26 PM
Leake was definatley impressive. He worked his way out of a pair of jams, and like I said the run he gave up was more his fielders faults than his.

Now it's Wood's turn.

kaldaniels
03-26-2010, 06:33 PM
I'm pleasantly suprised at Leake's sucess. I am also suprised that there is not a swarm of "don't rush him to the big leagues" sentiment here at RedsZone. Does Leake have a comp that was rushed to the big leagues so quickly despite not being a "name" guy coming out of the draft?

reds44
03-26-2010, 07:24 PM
Wood's final line:
4 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

He started out shaky, but finished strong.

TheNext44
03-26-2010, 07:54 PM
Kip Wells today pitched like he was auditioning for the Reds 2004 pitching staff.

OnBaseMachine
03-26-2010, 07:59 PM
Nice to see Leake and Wood both pitch well. It looks like their start on Wednesday could be the deciding factor...

OnBaseMachine
03-26-2010, 08:01 PM
From Doug's twitter:

Travis Wood's avg FB was 89.1 MPH. Threw a lot of cutters (84-86 MPH). Only threw 5 change ups out of 53 pitches.

http://twitter.com/dougdirt24

BTW, one of the hits against Wood was a flyball that Dickerson lost in the sun, so it really should have only been four hits allowed.

TheNext44
03-26-2010, 08:28 PM
Hard to tell just from listening on the radio, but I would think that Wood would have the advantage right now. He's been a bit shakier, but not by much, and he's in a better situation in terms of service and contract.

JaxRed
03-26-2010, 08:57 PM
Actually Wood and Leake are exactly the same in terms of contract. Zero major league time. Let them spend a week or 10 days in the minors and you gain a YEAR in free agency down the line.

That's why I'm still rooting for Maloney or Lehr to at least start out.

OnBaseMachine
03-26-2010, 09:11 PM
From John Fay - Travis Wood in the lead?


But something Dusty Baker said afterward tells you the Reds may be leaning toward Wood, even if Aroldis Chapman’s back is healthy enough for him to get ready:

“The only thing is Leake hasn’t gone in a five-man rotation yet. He’s just pitched Friday night (in college). We don’t know how he’ll respond there. Wood is five years in pro ball. He’s more experienced. We don’t know quite enough about Chapman to make a true determination.”


http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2010/03/26/lead-to-wood/

reds44
03-26-2010, 09:35 PM
So a quote that doesn't even mention Wood means they're leaning towards him?

TheNext44
03-26-2010, 09:49 PM
Actually Wood and Leake are exactly the same in terms of contract. Zero major league time. Let them spend a week or 10 days in the minors and you gain a YEAR in free agency down the line.

That's why I'm still rooting for Maloney or Lehr to at least start out.

That can be achieved with Wood or Leake as the 5th starter since one is not needed until the second week of the season. Just call up an extra bat or arm until then, and call them up the day of the game.

IslandRed
03-26-2010, 10:29 PM
I am also suprised that there is not a swarm of "don't rush him to the big leagues" sentiment here at RedsZone. Does Leake have a comp that was rushed to the big leagues so quickly despite not being a "name" guy coming out of the draft?

Someone else might have a comp, one escapes me at the moment. But I think the relative lack of "don't rush him" hollering is based on his unusual profile. He was a college pitcher, he pitched in a high-level league, he logged some innings, he was extremely polished. Most people had him pegged as a fast-track guy even if they weren't that sure about his ceiling.

As for me, although I think Leake probably could hold his own, I'm in agreement with what Baker is inferring in this case; it'll do Leake well to get used to pitching every five days and getting into the flow of pro ball before he has to do it against big-league hitters. Same with Chapman, and in both cases I'm not even considering service-time implications. Wood makes logical sense to me for the initial choice -- less dazzling than the other two but a little readier to take the ball every fifth day right now.

11larkin11
03-26-2010, 10:34 PM
Its gotta be Wood. Wood has the experience, the upside (not as high, but still there), and I feel even though it was a different regime, the fear of a Ryan Wagner has to be there.

OnBaseMachine
03-26-2010, 10:37 PM
From C. Trent:


While Aroldis Chapman is still in the race for the spot, Baker said, the recent back injury may make it less likely he's ready to start the season in Cincinnati. Chapman threw long-toss on Thursday, underwent conditioning drills on Friday and is expected to pitch on Sunday. When asked how he was doing on Friday, Chapman said in English, "I feel good."

If Chapman isn't able to go, the fifth spot is going to come down to Leake and Wood. Both pitch again on Wednesday, with Leake starting in Phoenix against Oakland and Wood making the trip to Las Vegas to start against the Dodgers.


http://cnati.com/spring-training-2010/leake-wood-impress-again-001628/

We'll get to see Wood pitch on Wednesday night as FSN Ohio announced today that they'll be televising that game.

LoganBuck
03-26-2010, 11:33 PM
Aroldis Chapman is learning English faster than Jin on Lost did.

VR
03-27-2010, 12:26 AM
Aroldis Chapman is learning English faster than Jin on Lost did.

Either that or he's sole possession is a James Brown Album.

The fact that Leake, Wood, and Chapman are the candidates for #5 starter are quite funny, if you've been a Reds fan for the last 10 years anyway.

VR
03-27-2010, 12:29 AM
Kip Wells today pitched like he was auditioning for the Reds 2004 pitching staff.

Funny stuff, 44. The sad news? He would have cemented the #3 spot in the rotation with today's outing.

OnBaseMachine
03-27-2010, 12:36 AM
The fact that Leake, Wood, and Chapman are the candidates for #5 starter are quite funny, if you've been a Reds fan for the last 10 years anyway.

And besides those three, you have Matt Maloney who is a fine candidate as a No. 5 starter. Behind Maloney, you have Matt Klinker in AAA who is coming off a season in which he posted a 3.58 ERA and 34 BB/112 K ratio in 108 innings between Sarasota, Carolina, and Louisville. It's nice having some actual depth in the system.

OnBaseMachine
03-27-2010, 01:30 AM
From dougdirt's twitter:
Mike Leake gets through 4ip, 3h, 1r, 1bb, 1k. FB avg was 88.6MPH, topped out at 91.3, hit 91 8 times. 34 strikes, 17 balls. 9 GB of 13 BIP.

Doug reported on his website that Leake's average fastball velocity today was 89.6 instead of the 88.6 he posted on twitter.

fearofpopvol1
03-27-2010, 01:47 AM
And Wood is on the 40 man. Leake is not. I think it's Wood's to lose. As long as he pitches decently next outing, he'll be the choice IMO.

dougdirt
03-27-2010, 04:22 AM
Doug reported on his website that Leake's average fastball velocity today was 89.6 instead of the 88.6 he posted on twitter.

Apparently I can't type. 89.6 was correct. Now I get to head to twitter to fix that.

Ron Madden
03-27-2010, 04:55 AM
Some things that are overblown:

1. The timing of when these guys are pitching. Plenty of time to re-set the rotation.
2. Maloney not being stretched out enough. He threw 65 pitches in a minor league game yesterday. He could get a start Monday and throw 80 and another next weekend and throw 100. If he's not in the race its because the team doesn't think he's good enough, not because of where he is from an innings standpoint.

I'm not really a fan of any of the three young guns as the 5th starter now. Chapman really needs a season to build innings at his young age. I'd rather the reds go slow and be careful with that arm. Leake pitched 140 plus last year and probably would be ok with 5th starter innings, but I just think minor league time would help him. I also would hesitate putting him on the 40 man so soon. I'd like to see Wood repeat some success at AAA. He had 1 good year after 3 mediocre to bad ones. He'd be ok, but unless Maloney is dealt, it seems like the reds need to find out about him and possibly showcase him while the other build their resumes.

I agree the "Young Guns" could use more time in the minors to gain experience and to refine their stuff.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Maloney held down the 5th spot until Walt decides to call up one of the kids.

Big Klu
03-27-2010, 01:27 PM
Either that or he's sole possession is a James Brown Album.

The fact that Leake, Wood, and Chapman are the candidates for #5 starter are quite funny, if you've been a Reds fan for the last 10 years anyway.

The only other English phrases Chapman knows are, "Get up! Get on up! Stay on the scene, like a sex machine!", "Shake your moneymaker", and "Hot pants!" :cool:

OnBaseMachine
03-28-2010, 02:41 PM
DougDirt has some charts up on his website showing the amount of movement Leake and Wood had on their pitches in their last start. Go check it out.

http://redsminorleagues.com/2010/03/27/travis-wood-and-mike-leake-pitch-fx/

Mike Leake has serious movement on his fastball.

Blitz Dorsey
03-28-2010, 03:57 PM
This Reds blog seems to think Wood will be the choice (Maloney to the pen, Chapman and Leake in AAA or AA):

http://www.threewaychili.com/

Caveat Emperor
03-28-2010, 03:59 PM
This Reds blog seems to think Wood will be the choice (Maloney to the pen, Chapman and Leake in AAA or AA):

http://www.threewaychili.com/

Of the two, Wood is the logical choice -- he's a lefty, and he has professional experience whereas Leake has never logged a professional inning in his life.

Wood should get the first crack and, if he falters, you've got other people waiting in the wings to take his place.

WebScorpion
03-28-2010, 10:42 PM
Wow! ... this is going to take some getting used to. It's going to be very crowded in the Reds rotation this fall. I don't think fallback guys like Wells and Lehr will have a chance in the coming years. Volquez, Maloney, Wood, Leake, Chapman, and Klinker could all be pushing for a spot by the end of this season. Hopefully, we'll turn the guys we can't use into a bunch of prospects to keep the pipeline flowing. The future's so bright, we gotta :cool:!

SirFelixCat
03-29-2010, 01:27 AM
DougDirt has some charts up on his website showing the amount of movement Leake and Wood had on their pitches in their last start. Go check it out.

http://redsminorleagues.com/2010/03/27/travis-wood-and-mike-leake-pitch-fx/

Mike Leake has serious movement on his fastball.

If I'm reading that correctly, that's beyond stupid (in a good way). Wow!:eek:

dougdirt
03-29-2010, 01:29 AM
If I'm reading that correctly, that's beyond stupid (in a good way). Wow!:eek:

Then I think you are reading it correctly, because its very impressive what Leake makes his fastball do.

bucksfan2
03-29-2010, 09:25 AM
If I'm reading that correctly, that's beyond stupid (in a good way). Wow!:eek:

Remember Kirk Sarloos and his movement on his pitches? How did that work out?

Nasty_Boy
03-29-2010, 09:44 AM
Remember Greg Maddux and the movement on his pitches? How'd that work out? :D

bucksfan2
03-29-2010, 09:55 AM
Remember Greg Maddux and the movement on his pitches? How'd that work out? :D

Touche. I have yet to see Leake pitch so I really can't make any judgments. But I do know that unless you can control the movement, especially late in zone movement like Maddux, you can end up like Saarloos.

lollipopcurve
03-29-2010, 10:11 AM
Saarloos had a sinking fastball but that was about it. Leake has stuff that breaks both ways and down at varying velocities.

TRF
03-29-2010, 10:49 AM
Are we seriously comparing Leake to Maddux? When Maddux came up he threw 95, with movement. by the time his average FB was where Leake's is now, he'd already racked up 200+ wins.

I like the youth on this team to, but pleas don't compare ANY of them to what will be a first ballot, potentially unanimous HOF guy like Maddux.

wolfboy
03-29-2010, 10:59 AM
Are we seriously comparing Leake to Maddux? When Maddux came up he threw 95, with movement. by the time his average FB was where Leake's is now, he'd already racked up 200+ wins.

I like the youth on this team to, but pleas don't compare ANY of them to what will be a first ballot, potentially unanimous HOF guy like Maddux.

I didn't read it as a comparison. I think he was just contrasting one extreme with another.

That being said, I'm with you. A lot can happen over a season, not to mention a career.

Hoosier Red
03-29-2010, 11:01 AM
I think it was certainly pointed out as the opposite extreme of Kirk Saarloos. Odds say Leake is somewhere in the middle.

TRF
03-29-2010, 11:22 AM
I've been sick for a week, so i may have read it wrong, but in the last couple of weeks i've seen the Leake/Maddux comparison made, Chapman/Johnson, etc. etc. I've even said Votto is poised to enter Pujols territory a time or two. (said it in ST last year)

perhaps we should take a step back and breathe.

RedsManRick
03-29-2010, 11:52 AM
I've been sick for a week, so i may have read it wrong, but in the last couple of weeks i've seen the Leake/Maddux comparison made, Chapman/Johnson, etc. etc. I've even said Votto is poised to enter Pujols territory a time or two. (said it in ST last year)

perhaps we should take a step back and breathe.

It would be interested to see the Pitch f/x data used for classification purposes; to create a comp list for pitchers based pitch selection, movement, velocity, etc.

Surely there's a better comp for Leake than Maddux or Saarloos. Pedro Feliciano has crazy movement on his fastball, but he's a lefty and I think it's more like a sinker anyways. Chris Carpenter has nice movement, but I think he's a got a few MPH on Leake. Felix Hernandez does as well, but again, much harder.

As for Chapman, when you look at the pool of lefties who can regularly pump upper 90s gas and have a wipeout slider, you get to Randy Johnson pretty quickly. In the game right now, I think CC is the only lefty who averages 93+ on his fastballs.

membengal
03-29-2010, 12:07 PM
The comp for Leake that I heard prior to the draft that I think is more applicable was Tim Hudson.

wolfboy
03-29-2010, 01:30 PM
perhaps we should take a step back and breathe.

Sound advice. Of course, it's hard to do this time of year. Hope springs eternal and all that jazz.

dougdirt
03-29-2010, 03:18 PM
Remember Kirk Sarloos and his movement on his pitches? How did that work out?

I just looked at it. Saarloos did get some good movement on his fastball, though its not as much as Leake and its also on average about 4.5 MPH slower (2008 for Saarloos compared to the limited data we have on Leake of 3 AFL games and 1 ST game).

Edd Roush
03-29-2010, 03:23 PM
Has anyone heard about whether the 5th starter (whoever he may be) would start on Saturday (the 5th game of the season) or would he be pushed back to the following Wednesday due to the off-day on Tuesday?

dougdirt
03-29-2010, 03:24 PM
Has anyone heard about whether the 5th starter (whoever he may be) would start on Saturday (the 5th game of the season) or would he be pushed back to the following Wednesday due to the off-day on Tuesday?
It sounds like it will be that first Sunday of the season.

Edd Roush
03-29-2010, 03:31 PM
It sounds like it will be that first Sunday of the season.

How would that work Doug? 1-2-3-4-1-5?

membengal
03-29-2010, 03:35 PM
Yes. And that's how they normally do it (at least since Dusty has been here).

Edd Roush
03-29-2010, 03:37 PM
Yes. And that's how they normally do it (at least since Dusty has been here).

Thanks mem and doug. I think I will have to buy tickets for that Sunday afternoon game. I have tried to make it to all of the big debut games so far.

dougdirt
03-29-2010, 03:40 PM
How would that work Doug? 1-2-3-4-1-5?

Yes. Then start over at #2 and work your way back through.

Nasty_Boy
03-29-2010, 09:02 PM
I didn't read it as a comparison. I think he was just contrasting one extreme with another.

That being said, I'm with you. A lot can happen over a season, not to mention a career.

This!

In no way was it a comparison... I was just pointing out that we don't know who or what he will be. I also have not seen him pitch, but everything sounds great in the early stages. I just thought that Saarloos was an unfair comparison at this stage and you could name tons of different guys on both ends of the spectrum.

bucksfan2
03-30-2010, 09:22 AM
This!

In no way was it a comparison... I was just pointing out that we don't know who or what he will be. I also have not seen him pitch, but everything sounds great in the early stages. I just thought that Saarloos was an unfair comparison at this stage and you could name tons of different guys on both ends of the spectrum.

I hate comparisons. Each player is unique to himself. To compare him with someone else is unfair.

As for the Saarloos comment it was more to do with the buzz generated from ball movement in spring training. I remember when Saarloos was brought in to the Reds camp and people raved about how much his ball moved. I remember an article stating how difficult it was to play catch with him because of his ball movement. That was basically it, not to say Leake is Saarloos or Leake is Maddux. More to say keep all the spring training hype under control.

OnBaseMachine
03-30-2010, 03:58 PM
C. Trent article on the fifth starter candidates:


GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Travis Wood will be making his first trip to Las Vegas following Tuesday's game. In the city of endless possibilities, Wood will most likely be sitting in his hotel room.

"I've never been there before, but it's probably a good thing," Wood said.

He doesn't know what he's missing, but he knows what he doesn't want to miss out on, making the Reds' roster out of spring training.


full article:
http://cnati.com/spring-training-2010/wednesday-may-determine-rotation-spot-001657/

OnBaseMachine
03-30-2010, 10:31 PM
Mark Sheldon article on the fifth starter opening...


Only a handful of pitchers, especially in recent years, have bypassed the Minor Leagues entirely for the big leagues, including Darren Dreifort, Jim Abbott and David Clyde.

"I'm hoping they make me one of that handful," said Leake, the eighth overall Draft selection in 2009 out of Arizona State University. "I have to try and not worry about it. I think I've done what I can. We'll have to see what they end up deciding."


http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100330&content_id=8997974&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

membengal
03-31-2010, 10:41 AM
As "meaningless" spring training games go, today's split squad with Leake starting one, and Wood the other is more meaningful than usual, apparently. At the least, will be more interesting to follow than usual. Throw in Chapman following Leake to the bump against Oakland in the game in Arizona and a lot to look forward to today.

Leake and Chapman throwing against Oakland, game is on WLW.

Wood against the Dodgers in Las Vegas late. That game is, I think, being picked up from the LA TV broadcast and simulcast on FSN Ohio.

Cyclone792
03-31-2010, 11:09 AM
Of the two, Wood is the logical choice -- he's a lefty, and he has professional experience whereas Leake has never logged a professional inning in his life.

Wood should get the first crack and, if he falters, you've got other people waiting in the wings to take his place.

I'm well late to the game here, but Wood is my first choice too. I really like Leake, but I want to see him get some innings down in the minor leagues first before bringing him up. His college dominance helps, but it's important for him to get even more adjusted to the professional routine which differs a bit from the college routine. Even if Leake is only ultimately in the minors for half this year, it's still important, IMO. Plus, keeping him down beyond Memorial Day will preserve his Super Two status.

Meanwhile, Wood has over 500 innings logged of minor league innings and is likely the most prepared of any of the young arms to make the jump right now.

membengal
03-31-2010, 11:21 AM
That's certainly the more well-traveled route, and the one I would expect the Reds to to take, Cyclone. I did note with interest Rob Neyer at some point a week or so back made the argument that a pitcher like Leake may not need to burn whatever innings are left in his arm in the minors. That would, of course, make him the exception to the rule, but it was an interesting take coming from Neyer.

membengal
03-31-2010, 11:25 AM
Here's an excerpt of the Neyer discussion on Leake:


I don't believe Leake will actually win that job, but it sure would be interesting if he did.

Leaving aside Cuban and Asian players, I believe that Leake -- the eighth pick in the draft last summer -- would be the first player to completely skip the minor leagues since Jim Abbott did 21 years ago.

But Abbott didn't have to be. Mark Prior didn't need any time in the minors. Roger Clemens didn't. Steven Strasburg doesn't. Purely in terms of talent and performance, every few years there's probably a college pitcher who's ready, from Professional Day 1, to pitch effectively in the majors.

In fact, here's what Sickels wrote about Leake this winter: "He's maxed out physically and has no remaining projection, meaning that he's as good now as he's likely to get."

I don't know if John really believes that Leake wouldn't improve some over the next few years, with a bit of experience and high-quality postgame snacking. John's point is that some pitchers are almost fully formed in their early 20s, and there's little sense in wasting a few hundred innings in the minors and giving them that many more chances to get hurt before they help you win.

Mike Leake might be one of those guys who doesn't need those few weeks or months -- let alone years -- in the minors, but I still don't think he'll get the job right now. Travis Wood's just nine months older than Leake, doesn't throw as hard but has 529 innings professional innings of experience and pitched well in Double- and Triple-A last season.

lollipopcurve
03-31-2010, 11:36 AM
To be honest, I'm not sold on Wood or Leake making this leap yet. I think Chapman has more experience against elite hitters. I think Maloney deserves a shot, and I think I'd be comfortable with Lehr in there for awhile. Wood can get a little rough with his command, and Leake, as noted, doesn't have the 5-day routine down yet.

Risky business with the young arms here, because you don't want these guys failing and then have to climb the hill again with doubts in their minds. Seems to be a drastic departure from how the team has operated in the past, and I wonder to what extent it's a reflection of Bryan Price's being in charge of the staff. I do like the fact they have pushed Wood and Leake in a competition like this down to the wire, but much more so if it is followed by an assignment to the minors.

Cedric
03-31-2010, 11:54 AM
To be honest, I'm not sold on Wood or Leake making this leap yet. I think Chapman has more experience against elite hitters. I think Maloney deserves a shot, and I think I'd be comfortable with Lehr in there for awhile. Wood can get a little rough with his command, and Leake, as noted, doesn't have the 5-day routine down yet.

Risky business with the young arms here, because you don't want these guys failing and then have to climb the hill again with doubts in their minds. Seems to be a drastic departure from how the team has operated in the past, and I wonder to what extent it's a reflection of Bryan Price's being in charge of the staff. I do like the fact they have pushed Wood and Leake in a competition like this down to the wire, but much more so if it is followed by an assignment to the minors.

Travis Wood has "fallen" plenty of times throughout his minor league career. He has came back well from serious adversity and has logged plenty of minor league innings, IMO.

camisadelgolf
03-31-2010, 11:58 AM
If they were to be completely equal on the mound, I'm rooting for Travis Wood. He's left-handed and much better with the bat. Calling up Leake, who is less prepared to handle a full season's workload, would require removing someone from the 40-man roster.

bucksfan2
03-31-2010, 12:23 PM
To be honest, I'm not sold on Wood or Leake making this leap yet. I think Chapman has more experience against elite hitters. I think Maloney deserves a shot, and I think I'd be comfortable with Lehr in there for awhile. Wood can get a little rough with his command, and Leake, as noted, doesn't have the 5-day routine down yet.

Explain. I don't know if Chapman has more experience against elite hitters. I don't know what level the Cuban league is compared to as they have some major league caliber players but also have some poor players. As for Leake has has pitched against the best college has to offer in the Pac 10 and Wood has pitched his way thorough all the minor league levels. If anything I would venture to say that Chapman has the least experience against quality competition.


Risky business with the young arms here, because you don't want these guys failing and then have to climb the hill again with doubts in their minds. Seems to be a drastic departure from how the team has operated in the past, and I wonder to what extent it's a reflection of Bryan Price's being in charge of the staff. I do like the fact they have pushed Wood and Leake in a competition like this down to the wire, but much more so if it is followed by an assignment to the minors.

I think any arm is risky business. I really want the Reds to pick which ever pitcher who gives the team the best chance to succeed. In order to do so that pitcher must be ready for the major league level. Whether or not Leake is fully ready is another question. I do agree with the article above that says there is a limited number of pitches a pitcher has in him. But I disagree that Leake has tapped out his potential.

lollipopcurve
03-31-2010, 01:21 PM
Explain. I don't know if Chapman has more experience against elite hitters. I don't know what level the Cuban league is compared to as they have some major league caliber players but also have some poor players. As for Leake has has pitched against the best college has to offer in the Pac 10 and Wood has pitched his way thorough all the minor league levels. If anything I would venture to say that Chapman has the least experience against quality competition.

You've answered your own question here. Cuba has some MLB quality hitters. He's also pitched in the World Baseball Classic against Japan and Australia. These lineups are much better lineups than Leake faced in the Pac 10 -- no comparison. Leake's time in the AFL comes closest, but those hitters were at the end of their seasons and pretty worn down. Plus, there's hardly anyone at those games. Chapman's "big stage" experience gives him an edge, too, I think.


I think any arm is risky business. I really want the Reds to pick which ever pitcher who gives the team the best chance to succeed.

It's hard to see how that isn't Chapman, in my opinion.

bucksfan2
03-31-2010, 01:25 PM
You've answered your own question here. Cuba has some MLB quality hitters. He's also pitched in the World Baseball Classic against Japan and Australia. These lineups are much better lineups than Leake faced in the Pac 10 -- no comparison. Leake's time in the AFL comes closest, but those hitters were at the end of their seasons and pretty worn down. Plus, there's hardly anyone at those games. Chapman's "big stage" experience gives him an edge, too, I think.

I have. Sure Cuba has had some major league quality hitters but so has the Pac 10. One start against Japan in the WBC does really little for me and I wouldn't call Australia a hot bed of baseball. IMO its too difficult to say what level of competition Cuba offers.

I would agree that Chapman has pitched under more pressure than both Leake but I don't know if I would say the competition was better.

lollipopcurve
03-31-2010, 01:31 PM
I have. Sure Cuba has had some major league quality hitters but so has the Pac 10. One start against Japan in the WBC does really little for me and I wouldn't call Australia a hot bed of baseball. IMO its too difficult to say what level of competition Cuba offers.

I would agree that Chapman has pitched under more pressure than both Leake but I don't know if I would say the competition was better.

Nobody in the Pac 10 could put down their metal bat, step into the major leagues and hit. The best hitters in Cuba are major league talents, much more accomplished than those Pac 10 kids Leake faced. I don't think there's a legit debate there.

The edge to Wood goes to the fact he's used to being on a 5-day rotation. But I am skeptical that he's consistent enough with his command to avoid some really rough outings. That's why I say Maloney or Lehr are the safest choices to start the season in Cincy.

edabbs44
03-31-2010, 01:42 PM
Here's an excerpt of the Neyer discussion on Leake:


I don't believe Leake will actually win that job, but it sure would be interesting if he did.

Leaving aside Cuban and Asian players, I believe that Leake -- the eighth pick in the draft last summer -- would be the first player to completely skip the minor leagues since Jim Abbott did 21 years ago.

But Abbott didn't have to be. Mark Prior didn't need any time in the minors. Roger Clemens didn't. Steven Strasburg doesn't. Purely in terms of talent and performance, every few years there's probably a college pitcher who's ready, from Professional Day 1, to pitch effectively in the majors.

In fact, here's what Sickels wrote about Leake this winter: "He's maxed out physically and has no remaining projection, meaning that he's as good now as he's likely to get."

I don't know if John really believes that Leake wouldn't improve some over the next few years, with a bit of experience and high-quality postgame snacking. John's point is that some pitchers are almost fully formed in their early 20s, and there's little sense in wasting a few hundred innings in the minors and giving them that many more chances to get hurt before they help you win.

Mike Leake might be one of those guys who doesn't need those few weeks or months -- let alone years -- in the minors, but I still don't think he'll get the job right now. Travis Wood's just nine months older than Leake, doesn't throw as hard but has 529 innings professional innings of experience and pitched well in Double- and Triple-A last season.



Main takeaway from this is...Abbott debuted 21 years ago?!?!

I am old.

jmcclain19
03-31-2010, 02:00 PM
I just scored tickets to this afternoon's As/Reds matchup. So i'll get to see 1st hand both Chapman & Leake.

Although I'd love to see Leake get some seasoning, the point from John Sickles is dead on.

If Leake's the team's best starter, why not put him on the big league club.

Cyclone792
03-31-2010, 02:01 PM
That's certainly the more well-traveled route, and the one I would expect the Reds to to take, Cyclone. I did note with interest Rob Neyer at some point a week or so back made the argument that a pitcher like Leake may not need to burn whatever innings are left in his arm in the minors. That would, of course, make him the exception to the rule, but it was an interesting take coming from Neyer.

I think what Neyer posits has some legitimate merit, and he may actually be spot on with Leake. I tend to think that while Leake is probably ready or close to ready from a performance standpoint, he probably still has at least a little bit of development remaining.

The main reason I'm advocating to send Leake down, even if only for two to three months, is just to allow him to adjust to the daily grind and 5-day routine of professional ball. Letting him make those adjustments for 75-100 innings in Louisville, for example, is probably more beneficial to the organization than losing those 75-100 innings at the big league level.

Overall, it's not a real big deal, I don't think, but it's a luxury the Reds currently have given some of the other options such as Wood (read: if Josh Fogg was slated for the 5th rotation slot, I'd likely be pushing for Leake now regardless).

membengal
03-31-2010, 02:16 PM
Right there with you were it Fogg as the 5th choice, Cyclone.

I don't know that I have a position on this, other than I want the Reds to stop the losing. If they think Leake is ready and gives them the best chance to win, then I am cool with them rolling the dice with him. I think Sickels and Neyer have a good take. I read Sickels' comment on Leake's development to be that there is precious little to work on, so if that is truly the case and he's ready to go, I am all for not wasting whatever bullets are in his arm in the minors. I like the idea of Wood, but do not trust his command like I do Leake at this point.

I certainly won't complain or think an injustice has been done if they go with Wood...

bucksfan2
03-31-2010, 02:28 PM
Nobody in the Pac 10 could put down their metal bat, step into the major leagues and hit. The best hitters in Cuba are major league talents, much more accomplished than those Pac 10 kids Leake faced. I don't think there's a legit debate there..

Wouldn't metal bats make hitters tougher outs in college?

Cyclone792
03-31-2010, 02:45 PM
Right there with you were it Fogg as the 5th choice, Cyclone.

I don't know that I have a position on this, other than I want the Reds to stop the losing. If they think Leake is ready and gives them the best chance to win, then I am cool with them rolling the dice with him. I think Sickels and Neyer have a good take. I read Sickels' comment on Leake's development to be that there is precious little to work on, so if that is truly the case and he's ready to go, I am all for not wasting whatever bullets are in his arm in the minors. I like the idea of Wood, but do not trust his command like I do Leake at this point.

I certainly won't complain or think an injustice has been done if they go with Wood...

Yep, I definitely hear you on the stop the losing part.

I think what's hopefully going to be refreshing this year is that this is the first year in a long time that I can remember where the Reds aren't heading into the season with at least one terribly inept starter, be it position player, starting pitcher or key bullpen member. In fact, most years they had several terribly inept starters. But this year there's no Pattersons, no Willy Ts, no Foggs, none of that ilk. It gives the Reds a chance to be a little conservative with a guy like Leake if they choose and not having to run a joke like Fogg out there who just gets teed off on.

We're just not used to these sorts of dilemmas here in Reds Nation. ;)

_Sir_Charles_
03-31-2010, 02:47 PM
Wouldn't metal bats make hitters tougher outs in college?

I agree. I also think that Leake gets vastly underestimated. Yes, I know he's only pitched in college. But it was against very high level college competition. The Pac-10 is a fantastic division for baseball. People say that his numbers are "close" to Stephen Strasbergs' but when you factor in the competition they played against...I think the edge goes to Mike. And then lastly, factor in the fact that he was putting up those numbers in freaking Arizona! That's a place where pitchers stats get pummeled and hitters stats get overblown. And he still managed to flat-out dominate.

He might not have minor league experience, but he's got a ton of high level competition experience...and success, more importantly. I'm hoping for Leake to make the cut.

lollipopcurve
03-31-2010, 02:49 PM
Wouldn't metal bats make hitters tougher outs in college?

Yes, but not better hitters. Most of them never become professionals.

RedsManRick
03-31-2010, 02:53 PM
I'd like to see Leake get time in the minors if for no other reason than for the Reds to have the opportunity to sort out some of the lower ceiling guys. Matt Maloney is getting Brady Clarked (or Chris Denofriad if you prefer). These are guys who can bring value to a franchise, but who are in the catch-22 of not getting an opportunity to get out major league hitters because they haven't proven they can do so.

I hate seeing guys like that rot in AAA during the relatively small period of their careers where they can be valuable. For that reason alone, I'd have Maloney as my 5th starter, with Leake and Wood in the minors to start the season. If Leake, Chapman, Wood or whomever clearly forces their way in to the majors, then you can either move Maloney to the pen or trade him -- but at least you know what you have.

lollipopcurve
03-31-2010, 02:55 PM
I'd like to see Leake get time in the minors if for no other reason than for the Reds to have the opportunity to sort out some of the lower ceiling guys. Matt Maloney is getting Brady Clarked (or Chris Denofriad if you prefer). These are guys who can bring value to a franchise, but who are in the catch-22 of not getting an opportunity to get out major league hitters because they haven't proven they can do so.

I hate seeing guys like that rot in AAA during the relatively small period of their careers where they can be valuable. For that reason alone, I'd have Maloney as my 5th starter, with Leake and Wood in the minors to start the season. If Leake, Chapman, Wood or whomever clearly forces their way in to the majors, then you can either move Maloney to the pen or trade him -- but at least you know what you have.

I agree with this. There's really no downside to approaching the 5th starter opening this way.

Chip R
03-31-2010, 03:04 PM
Wouldn't metal bats make hitters tougher outs in college?


I believe they have used metal bats for the past several years in Cuba.

I think a difference between the Pac 10 and Cuba is that the players in Cuba theoretically speaking should be older. Chapman may have been pitching against 30-something batters while you don't get many players in college over 22.

dougdirt
03-31-2010, 03:04 PM
I'd like to see Leake get time in the minors if for no other reason than for the Reds to have the opportunity to sort out some of the lower ceiling guys. Matt Maloney is getting Brady Clarked (or Chris Denofriad if you prefer). These are guys who can bring value to a franchise, but who are in the catch-22 of not getting an opportunity to get out major league hitters because they haven't proven they can do so.

I hate seeing guys like that rot in AAA during the relatively small period of their careers where they can be valuable. For that reason alone, I'd have Maloney as my 5th starter, with Leake and Wood in the minors to start the season. If Leake, Chapman, Wood or whomever clearly forces their way in to the majors, then you can either move Maloney to the pen or trade him -- but at least you know what you have.
What Rick said. I had this exact conversation earlier this afternoon about Maloney. :thumbup:

osuceltic
03-31-2010, 03:09 PM
I'd like to see Leake get time in the minors if for no other reason than for the Reds to have the opportunity to sort out some of the lower ceiling guys. Matt Maloney is getting Brady Clarked (or Chris Denofriad if you prefer). These are guys who can bring value to a franchise, but who are in the catch-22 of not getting an opportunity to get out major league hitters because they haven't proven they can do so.

I hate seeing guys like that rot in AAA during the relatively small period of their careers where they can be valuable. For that reason alone, I'd have Maloney as my 5th starter, with Leake and Wood in the minors to start the season. If Leake, Chapman, Wood or whomever clearly forces their way in to the majors, then you can either move Maloney to the pen or trade him -- but at least you know what you have.

I think the Reds know what they have in Maloney. You may not, but the Reds have boatloads of data and evaluations on the guy. If they feel he can't consistently get major league hitters out, then why would they start him every fifth day against major league hitters?

I'm not saying we can't criticize the team's decisions. But it's easy for you to say, "throw Maloney out there and see what he can do." You're not Dusty Baker or Walt Jocketty, who aren't in the business of on-the-job evaluations. They have to win, and if they don't believe Maloney will help them do that, then why would they waste the time with him? The time for those kinds of "throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" evaluations is September -- if the team is out of it. Not out of the gate.

Falls City Beer
03-31-2010, 03:21 PM
The fifth slot is going to be a revolving door--Maloney will get his shot again.

Ron Madden
03-31-2010, 03:25 PM
The fifth slot is going to be a revolving door--Maloney will get his shot again.

Agreed.

TheNext44
03-31-2010, 03:34 PM
My view on Maloney is that he would make a decent #5 starter, but not nearly as good as Leake and Wood project to be.

I understand the argument of not wanting to waste a decent arm, but do you really want to use him when he clearly is not the best option? If Maloney has value, trade him. He's been showcased already, and I think everyone knows what he can bring to a team. If he is valuable enough to justify taking up a spot over a better pitcher, he should be valuable enough to a decent return in a trade.

TRF
03-31-2010, 03:53 PM
I wanted Maloney to win the job. I still want him as the 5th starter, if for no other reason than this: Louisville's rotation could be Chapman, Leake, Wood, Klinker, LeCure.

The rest of the IL would not stand a chance. Hell, I'd move to Louisville to see that team.

Spring~Fields
03-31-2010, 05:22 PM
I think the Reds know what they have in Maloney. You may not, but the Reds have boatloads of data and evaluations on the guy.

You're not Dusty Baker or Walt Jocketty, who aren't in the business of on-the-job evaluations.

They have to win, and if they don't believe Maloney will help them do that, then why would they waste the time with him?

The time for those kinds of "throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" evaluations is September -- if the team is out of it. Not out of the gate.

I hope that the Reds do better with that "data and evaluations" on pitchers than they have with that "data and evaluations" on their outfielders in the past couple years, and OBP of their players against right or left handed pitching.

IslandRed
03-31-2010, 07:22 PM
I think what's hopefully going to be refreshing this year is that this is the first year in a long time that I can remember where the Reds aren't heading into the season with at least one terribly inept starter, be it position player, starting pitcher or key bullpen member. In fact, most years they had several terribly inept starters. But this year there's no Pattersons, no Willy Ts, no Foggs, none of that ilk. It gives the Reds a chance to be a little conservative with a guy like Leake if they choose and not having to run a joke like Fogg out there who just gets teed off on.

We're just not used to these sorts of dilemmas here in Reds Nation. ;)

Yep. That and depth, roster-wide. Even if a black hole of awful does emerge somewhere, in almost all instances there's a reasonable fallback plan. The depth will be even handier in the rotation, where we've spent so much time in recent years handing the ball to guys who didn't give us much chance to win.

I don't know exactly what this team's ceiling is but I think the floor is considerably higher than it was.

reds44
03-31-2010, 07:29 PM
So people want to start Leake in the minors to sort through low value arms? Sorry, I'm not buying that. If the Reds feel Leake is better than Maloney right now, you start Leake in the majors. Don't waste innings on Maloney if you feel you have better options.

reds44
03-31-2010, 07:48 PM
johnfayman Price on Leake: he did everything in his power to make the team. #reds

lollipopcurve
03-31-2010, 07:55 PM
I believe this was the 2nd time Leake faced the As, too. Impressive.

Superdude
03-31-2010, 08:02 PM
johnfayman Price on Leake: he did everything in his power to make the team. #reds

Is this a nice way of saying he's going down or am I reading it wrong?

reds44
03-31-2010, 08:12 PM
Is this a nice way of saying he's going down or am I reading it wrong?
I took it as he was going to make the team.

Guess it depends on how you read it.

Chip R
03-31-2010, 08:37 PM
Is this a nice way of saying he's going down or am I reading it wrong?

I would think it means that Leake pitched well enough to make the team but it's no sure thing.

mth123
03-31-2010, 09:45 PM
Nobody in the Pac 10 could put down their metal bat, step into the major leagues and hit. The best hitters in Cuba are major league talents, much more accomplished than those Pac 10 kids Leake faced. I don't think there's a legit debate there.

The edge to Wood goes to the fact he's used to being on a 5-day rotation. But I am skeptical that he's consistent enough with his command to avoid some really rough outings. That's why I say Maloney or Lehr are the safest choices to start the season in Cincy.

I Agree completely. (I hope that doesn't make you change your mind;))

I'm not in favor of loading up the rotation with too many kids at once. 2010 should be about Bailey and Cueto establishing themselves as 200 inning horses to anchor the rotation next year when Harang and Arroyo are gone. Chapman, Leake and even Wood need another year where they can be acclimated safely. Chapman to US Ball and to build innings (125 IP in the AAA rotation and two months in the major league pen while topping out at 145 to 150 IP), Leake to the 5 man rotation and Wood proving last year was for real at AAA before a call-up.

A 26 Y/O like Maloney who is past the injury nexus and has had some 180 innings seasons under his belt or a journeyman like Lehr are better suited for the stopgap 5th starter spot in 2010. Next year, Bailey and Cueto should be where they need to be and Volquez will be back. At that point, Chapman and Leake or Wood will be more prepared, can be managed more easily while not having to watch the others so closely and can be moved in.

jmcclain19
03-31-2010, 10:55 PM
I saw Leake and Chapman today.

Leake was very good at mixing up his stuff. Nothing "wow" about it, just very good at keeping guys off kilter. Have no idea how fast he was throwing as there is no gun at Phoenix Muni - but he has a 3/4 arm slot throwing motion and works very quickly.

Buck's HR was a letter high fastball that Buck just destroyed. Buck was a former Sun Devil like Leake so maybe that was a "Friend" fastball in there. Leake's other run was essentially the cause of Aaron Miles' three straight poor decisions at second base.

Chapman however, will now be deemed the "Cuban Nuke" by me - for throwing not one, not two, not three but FOUR balls past the catcher to the backstop during his two warm up innings. He didn't look bad - lots of scouts there to watch him and the radar guns all popped out when he came out. But he was pretty wild at times and one of his breaking pitches (couldn't tell if it was a curve or slider) he couldn't get to break at all. The catcher Denove didn't do Chapman any favors either - had an absolute awful time with Chapman - had a couple of passed balls and a couple of misreads that turned into potential passed balls. Also badly misthrew a ball in CF. And struck out looking silly on a Andrew Bailey change up. Not a day he'll want to remember.

OnBaseMachine
04-01-2010, 12:40 AM
Travis Wood has pretty good stuff from what I've seen of him on TV. His fastball is sneaky fast. He only throws in the 88-91 mh range but his fastball looks like it's coming in at 94. His changeup is a nice pitch too. He's got the stuff to be a solid big league starter, IMO.

Mike Leake put the pressure on the Reds today with another solid outing - 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K. I'm anxious to see who the Reds pick as the fifth starter. Hopefully we'll find out tomorrow.

reds44
04-01-2010, 12:43 AM
It has to be Leake, doesn't it?

11larkin11
04-01-2010, 12:44 AM
I think Wood pitched better than the line says. He was near the plate all night, and had the one shaky inning with three walks. I think its gotta be him.

Degenerate39
04-01-2010, 12:44 AM
Has there ever been a major leaguer that started out in the majors without going to the minors?

reds44
04-01-2010, 12:46 AM
Has there ever been a major leaguer that started out in the majors without going to the minors?
Saw an article that says the last one to do it was Jim Abbott 20+ years ago.

VR
04-01-2010, 12:49 AM
I'd say there's a good chance Wood, Leake and Maloney may all be in the rotation at the same time this year.

OnBaseMachine
04-01-2010, 12:52 AM
John Fay article on Leake:


"That's what I needed to do," Leake said. "If I came out here and didn't do so hot, it would have helped them make a decision. Hopefully, what I did was good enough in their eyes."

Wood and Leake haven't talked about the situation.

"We really don't want to add pressure," Leake said. "We're going to be happy either way. We got to know each other a little bit, not too much. Either way, it will be a good person that gets the job."


http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100331/SPT04/4010356/1071/Leake%20makes%20strong%20pitch?GID=9KdorZkm29EUYe5 Z5zFUupJM9Aho4buqIR1a7rn8vpI%3D

savafan
04-01-2010, 12:53 AM
Has there ever been a major leaguer that started out in the majors without going to the minors?


Draft Player Team Pos. School
2000 Xavier Nady Padres 3B University of California
1989 John Olerud Blue Jays 1B Washington State
1988 Jim Abbott Angels LHP University of Michigan
1985 Pete Incaviglia Rangers OF Oklahoma State
1978 Tim Conroy Athletics LHP Gateway HS (Pa.)
1978 Bob Horner Braves 3B Arizona State
1978 Brian Milner Blue Jays C Southwest HS (Tex.)
1978 Mike Morgan Athletics RHP Valley HS (Nev.)
1973 David Clyde Rangers LHP Westchester HS (Tex.)
1973 Dave Winfield Padres OF University of Minnesota
1973 Eddie Bane Twins LHP Arizona State
1973 Dick Ruthven Phillies RHP Fresno State
1972 Dave Roberts Padres 3B University of Oregon
1971 Pete Broberg Senators RHP Dartmouth College
1971 Rob Ellis Brewers OF Michigan State
1971 Burt Hooton Cubs RHP University of Texas
1969 Steve Dunning Indians RHP Stanford University
1967 Mike Adamson Orioles RHP Southern California

CTA513
04-01-2010, 01:02 AM
Wood has to cut down on the walks if he ends up making the rotation.

11larkin11
04-01-2010, 01:07 AM
The A's had two PITCHERS in '78 go straight from HS to the majors? What was Dusty thinking?


Oh, you mean Dusty wasn't their manager? My bad.

savafan
04-01-2010, 01:15 AM
The A's had two PITCHERS in '78 go straight from HS to the majors? What was Dusty thinking?


Oh, you mean Dusty wasn't their manager? My bad.

Nope, lol, the A's went 69-93 that season and were managed by Bobby Winkles and Jack McKeon.

westofyou
04-01-2010, 01:26 AM
Nope, lol, the A's went 69-93 that season and were managed by Bobby Winkles and Jack McKeon.

That could also be the year that they had no scouts too. Finely was the GM and had only a secretary and a desk.

Heath
04-01-2010, 01:30 AM
That could also be the year that they had no scouts too. Finely was the GM and had only a secretary and a desk.

Funny thing, they hire Billy Martin and Voila! Winning team.

The Billy Martin effect should really be investigated. Minnesota, Detroit - surprise division champs. Texas in 1974 almost wins the AL West. The Yanks - b2b World Series, Oakland the '81 AL West champ.

Tommyjohn25
04-01-2010, 02:01 AM
So people want to start Leake in the minors to sort through low value arms? Sorry, I'm not buying that. If the Reds feel Leake is better than Maloney right now, you start Leake in the majors. Don't waste innings on Maloney if you feel you have better options.

Just win baby.

Caveat Emperor
04-01-2010, 02:16 AM
So people want to start Leake in the minors to sort through low value arms? Sorry, I'm not buying that. If the Reds feel Leake is better than Maloney right now, you start Leake in the majors. Don't waste innings on Maloney if you feel you have better options.

Leake also has no experience pitching professional baseball. That's an awful lot of pressure to put on a kid -- learn to be professional, learn the routine of a professional and retire professional hitters all at the major league level. He, like Chapman, needs the minors just to get accustomed to being a pro.

Plus, frankly, I'm still not convinced that Leake has the stuff to be as good as he's been in spring training. Working at 90-91 MPH as an RHP doesn't leave a great deal of margin for error. He strikes me as the kind of guy that will need to get by inducing poor contact and keeping the ball on the ground -- I doubt he ever becomes a high strikeout pitcher. I'd like to see him succeed in AAA before throwing him to the major league wolves.

OnBaseMachine
04-01-2010, 02:19 AM
Plus, frankly, I'm still not convinced that Leake has the stuff to be as good as he's been in spring training. Working at 90-91 MPH as an RHP doesn't leave a great deal of margin for error.

It does if you have sick movement and plus command, in addition to a plus slider and above average to plus changeup.

Caveat Emperor
04-01-2010, 02:27 AM
It does if you have sick movement and plus command, in addition to a plus slider and above average to plus changeup.

Yet his K numbers this spring have been fairly pedestrian (10K in 18.2 IP), and just listening to the games it doesn't sound like he misses bats all that much. He's clearly using good movement to induce poor contact, but it's not exactly what you'd call dominating.

I want to see what he does against advanced hitters (AAA) over multiple starts before I pencil him into the rotation.

OnBaseMachine
04-01-2010, 02:43 AM
He's also pitching in an environment where it's harder to grip breaking balls and get them to break as much as they normally would. Leake's never going to be a guy that strikes out 220 hitters anyway. He'll rack up plenty of groundballs and post respectable strikeout rates in the 6.0 K/9 area, which is exactly what Tim Hudson has made a career of doing. That's exactly who Leake reminds me of in terms of size and stuff.

reds44
04-01-2010, 03:08 AM
Leake also has no experience pitching professional baseball. That's an awful lot of pressure to put on a kid -- learn to be professional, learn the routine of a professional and retire professional hitters all at the major league level. He, like Chapman, needs the minors just to get accustomed to being a pro.

Plus, frankly, I'm still not convinced that Leake has the stuff to be as good as he's been in spring training. Working at 90-91 MPH as an RHP doesn't leave a great deal of margin for error. He strikes me as the kind of guy that will need to get by inducing poor contact and keeping the ball on the ground -- I doubt he ever becomes a high strikeout pitcher. I'd like to see him succeed in AAA before throwing him to the major league wolves.
That's fine, that's a much better arguement then "well lets see what we have in these guys."

OnBaseMachine
04-01-2010, 01:02 PM
Article from Mark Sheldon on Travis Wood...


"You prefer to have a left-hander, if you can find them," said Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker. "But you'll take any hander if he's pitching well."

The decision has been a tough one. Leake pitched well against Oakland Wednesday afternoon, going six innings while allowing just two runs. He finished under his pitch count and set the A's down in order in his final inning.

"Our whole organization is wrestling with this every day," Baker said. "Leake has performed well. There haven't been many guys that can [go from college to the Major Leagues], but there have been some. There is also the problem that he's not on the roster, and you have to move someone off the roster. Wood is on the roster."


http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100401&content_id=9038524&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

Roy Tucker
04-01-2010, 01:11 PM
To my untrained ear, its sounding like Wood is the 5th starter and Leake will be first in line at AAA to come up when they need another starter. I think he'll get his chance within a month or two.

So much is made of who comes north for Opening Day. But just making that roster isn't a ticket to staying in Cinci for the summer. There is a lot of roster churn throughout April and May.

Bumstead
04-01-2010, 01:14 PM
Yet his K numbers this spring have been fairly pedestrian (10K in 18.2 IP), and just listening to the games it doesn't sound like he misses bats all that much. He's clearly using good movement to induce poor contact, but it's not exactly what you'd call dominating.

I want to see what he does against advanced hitters (AAA) over multiple starts before I pencil him into the rotation.

How many 5th starters are "dominating?" Wood needs to work on his control, which would probably work out better at AAA. Leake has solid control and has been very impressive. They gave him the opportunity to win the job and I have no problem with him starting with the Reds on April 11th if Price/Baker/Jockety feel that Leake is indeed the best option at this point. Let him know that if he struggles, he will head out to work it out, but hey, if he wins the job then good for him. :thumbup:

Bum

Scrap Irony
04-01-2010, 03:01 PM
Having watched Wood pitch, I see a lot of Steve Avery circa 1999 in him. Not overpowering by any stretch of the imagination, but he gets it done. Lots of baserunners, lots of BBs, lots of K's.

membengal
04-01-2010, 03:02 PM
Will paste it here too, excerpt of Rob Neyer's latest thoughts on Wood/Leake:


I know they're close -- we looked at Leake and Wood last week -- but aren't Wood's 12 walks in 18 innings a bit of a red flag? Especially considering that he's walked roughly four hitters per nine innings in the minors? Wood is still a baby, just turned 23 this winter. But I'd like to see him throw a higher percentage of strikes before asking him to retire Albert Pujols.

Leake, though he's not pitched a single inning of Organized Baseball, did pitch 162 innings last year: 142 with Arizona State, then 20 in the Arizona Fall League. Do we count 162 innings, and assume he can bump to 180-some this year? Or do think he should be babied in his first real professional season?

As always, I would err on the side of caution. But with Wood and Aroldis Chapman backing him up, giving Leake a slot in the rotation tomorrow doesn't mean he has to throw 200 innings this year. I think he's ready, and I think he's going to win the job.

westofyou
04-01-2010, 03:03 PM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2010-03-31-nl-central-preview_N.htm



SCOUTS TAKE ON THE NL CENTRAL

Four scouts who have watched National League Central teams this spring break down the division. They requested anonymity for competitive reasons.


Reds: I hear all of this talk about the Reds being so much better, but I don't see it. ... They've got to be really hurting if (rookie right-hander) Mike Leake is going to make that team. He has no average pitch. ... Aroldis Chapman has that fastball, but everything else looks average. He still has to learn how to be a pitcher.

membengal
04-01-2010, 03:04 PM
That's one grumpy set of scouts. We shall see.

OnBaseMachine
04-01-2010, 03:17 PM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2010-03-31-nl-central-preview_N.htm

I read that too and laughed my butt off. Some scouts don't deserve to be anywhere near a baseball field. Leake doesn't even have an average pitch? Funny stuff. I'm far from a scout and I've seen enough of Leake to see he has a very good slider and changeup. Other scouting reports disagree with his assessment too. Chapman's changeup and slider are average? Interesting. That's not what the other 100+ scouts who have seen him this spring think.

I think it's funny how there are some scouts still trying to spread false info just to make themselves look better after passing on Chapman. These are the same scouts who said Chapman had an attitude problem, wasn't coachable, had no slider or changeup to speak of. Chapman shows up to Reds camp and none of those things were true. The Reds have praised his attitude and coachability, and his slider and changeup have drawn strong praise. Walt Jocketty was right - the scouts spreading those rumors are just trying to justify their team passing on Chapman.

bucksfan2
04-01-2010, 03:21 PM
I read that too and laughed my butt off. Some scouts don't deserve to be anywhere near a baseball field. Leake doesn't even have an average pitch? Funny stuff. I'm far from a scout and I've seen enough of Leake to see he has a very good slider and changeup. Other scouting reports disagree with his assessment too. Chapman's changeup and slider are average? Interesting. That's not what the other 100+ scouts who have seen him this spring think.

I think it's funny how there are some scouts still trying to spread false info just to make themselves look better after passing on Chapman. These are the same scouts who said Chapman had an attitude problem, wasn't coachable, had no slider or changeup to speak of. Chapman shows up to Reds camp and none of those things were true. The Reds have praised his attitude and coachability, and his slider and changeup have drawn strong praise. Walt Jocketty was right - the scouts spreading those rumors are just trying to justify their team passing on Chapman.

Your looking at it through rosy colored glasses. Not saying that you are wrong, just saying that sometimes a negative view point is necessary to keep things in balance.

Caveat Emperor
04-01-2010, 03:28 PM
I read that too and laughed my butt off. Some scouts don't deserve to be anywhere near a baseball field. Leake doesn't even have an average pitch? Funny stuff. I'm far from a scout and I've seen enough of Leake to see he has a very good slider and changeup.

He really doesn't. His stuff is fairly average -- the only thing that saves him is that he generates a lot of movement. Movement won't help him miss a lot of bats, though -- it'll just keep the ball (hopefully) either off the fat part of the bat or keep the bat on top of the ball and induce a lot of grounders.

reds44
04-01-2010, 03:31 PM
He really doesn't. His stuff is fairly average -- the only thing that saves him is that he generates a lot of movement. Movement won't help him miss a lot of bats, though -- it'll just keep the ball (hopefully) either off the fat part of the bat or keep the bat on top of the ball and induce a lot of grounders.
Are you judging him not missing a lot of bats off of anything other than 18 innings of spring training?

And part of "stuff" is movement, a large part of it.

OnBaseMachine
04-01-2010, 03:39 PM
He really doesn't. His stuff is fairly average -- the only thing that saves him is that he generates a lot of movement. Movement won't help him miss a lot of bats, though -- it'll just keep the ball (hopefully) either off the fat part of the bat or keep the bat on top of the ball and induce a lot of grounders.

Above average fastball (average velocity, plus movement, plus command), plus slider, above average to plus changeup. His stuff is above average. He reminds me so much of Tim Hudson.

Too many people define great stuff by velocity. Velocity is nice and all, but movement is a huge key too.

Caveat Emperor
04-01-2010, 03:39 PM
Are you judging him not missing a lot of bats off of anything other than 18 innings of spring training?

And part of "stuff" is movement, a large part of it.

Movement is a part of "stuff" -- but a 90MPH fastball is a 90MPH fastball. You're going to have a tough time creating a quality velocity differential on the changeup when the fastball is coming in at that speed. He's a little dude, so he doesn't even get the benefit of the long-stride that a guy like Harang does.

Honestly, I watched Leake pitch a little when he was in school, I've watched some video of him pitching -- franky, I'm not all that impressed with him. I'd like to see what he can do in the minors before I'm ready to annoint him the answer at the major league level. It gets a lot harder to rely on ground balls when it's professionals you're facing for all 9 innings.

He could end up being a quality middle-rotation guy, but I'd like to see him prove himself before he starts with the club.

membengal
04-01-2010, 03:41 PM
150 Ks in 132 college innings heading into the CWS last year, I believe, if the article I just went searching for is correct.

Not sure I buy that he "doesn't miss bats"...


Leake, meanwhile, can hit 94 on the radar gun, but he calls himself a sinkerball pitcher. His 150 strikeouts in 132.2 innings...

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

gm
04-01-2010, 03:46 PM
Remember Greg Maddux and the movement on his pitches? How'd that work out? :D

Remember Danny Graves and the movement on his pitches? How'd he work out as a starting pitcher?

Caveat Emperor
04-01-2010, 03:46 PM
150 Ks in 132 college innings heading into the CWS last year, I believe, if the article I just went searching for is correct.

Not sure I buy that he "doesn't miss bats"...

Micah Owings had 135 Ks in 129.2 IP his senior year at Tulane. Missing bats in college is nice, but it doesn't tell a lot about what's going to happen at the next level.

Bumstead
04-01-2010, 03:49 PM
Yet, so far he has done better than all the other options at the "next" level. Is there a certain velocity one has to have to be a quality 5th starter in MLB? The object is to control the strike zone, get outs, and give your team a chance to win. So far, he has outdone all the other options at those 3 things. Why wouldn't they give him the job?

dougdirt
04-01-2010, 03:54 PM
He really doesn't. His stuff is fairly average -- the only thing that saves him is that he generates a lot of movement. Movement won't help him miss a lot of bats, though -- it'll just keep the ball (hopefully) either off the fat part of the bat or keep the bat on top of the ball and induce a lot of grounders.

Scouting reports on Mike Leake:
From MLB.com (http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2009/reports.jsp?content=leake)


Fastball: Leake threw his fastball from 88-94 mph. It sat comfortably around 91 mph.
FB 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.

In terms of sheer velocity, at least in college, Leake had slightly above average velocity. In terms of movement, he has above average movement. Close to a plus change up, or above average.

Baseball Prospectus (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9988) backs up that his fastball is indeed above average as KG notes its a tick above average in velocity and plays up from there because of movement and location.

membengal
04-01-2010, 03:54 PM
Micah Owings had 135 Ks in 129.2 IP his senior year at Tulane. Missing bats in college is nice, but it doesn't tell a lot about what's going to happen at the next level.

No question. Although the Pac 10 is not a ham sandwich college league. I am trusting the scouts (not the USA today ones) on this, when they say it appears he's ready.

I am all about winning now, and have a little more trust of Leake's command than Wood. Wood is still real young himself, at just 23, and could use some more time in AAA.

I guess we will know one way or another soon. I won't yell either way.

Caveat Emperor
04-01-2010, 03:58 PM
I guess we will know one way or another soon. I won't yell either way.

Absolutely true. Opening day is less only a few days away -- and we'll start getting some answers to a lot of these debates we've been having all winter.

:thumbup:

TheNext44
04-01-2010, 04:01 PM
He really doesn't. His stuff is fairly average -- the only thing that saves him is that he generates a lot of movement. Movement won't help him miss a lot of bats, though -- it'll just keep the ball (hopefully) either off the fat part of the bat or keep the bat on top of the ball and induce a lot of grounders.

As long as he keeps his walks down and HR's down, he doesn't have to worry about "missing bats." Missing bats is not the end all be all of pitching. It's a nice, easy way to distinguish with a broad brush guys who have a good chance at succeeding. But you don't need to miss bats to succeed and you can miss them and still be a bad pitcher.

Also, he's been quoted as saying that he likes to stay at around 89-91 because that gives his fastball more movement. He could stay at 92-94, but his fastball would be flat, while he would K more, he'd give up more HR's.

I'm not totally sold on him, because he's only faced big league hitters a few times. But his velocity and his ability to miss bats is not one of my concerns for him.

bucksfan2
04-01-2010, 04:04 PM
What level of competition would Pac-10 baseball compare to?

SirFelixCat
04-01-2010, 04:07 PM
I guess we will know one way or another soon. I won't yell either way.

Agreed. And it's kinda nice to be arguing about which of our pretty solid young kids should be the #5 vs, say, #3, for a change :)

reds44
04-01-2010, 04:17 PM
I refuse to buy into the "doesn't miss bats" argument already, but at the same time I understand he's so green that all we have to go off of are his spring training numbers.

I know I'd rather him throw in the low 90's with movement than in the mid 90's with no movement.

westofyou
04-01-2010, 04:38 PM
What level of competition would Pac-10 baseball compare to?

High A ball

Those kids use metal bats. I spent a good part of the 90's watching Stanford play ball, they had some good players, but the whole does not equal the sum of those parts.

dougdirt
04-01-2010, 04:40 PM
High A ball

Those kids use metal bats. I spent a good part of the 90's watching Stanford play ball, they had soem good players, but the whole does not equal the sum of those parts.

If even high A. Half of those lineups couldn't cut it in Billings probably.

OnBaseMachine
04-01-2010, 10:39 PM
From Mark Sheldon:


No decision was made about the fifth starter -- between Mike Leake and Travis Wood. Both will have to endure another restless night.

"There are a few things we have to discuss first. We'll see," Baker said. "There's a lot more to it than just being the fifth starter."


http://marksheldon.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/04/two_cuts.html

The bolded quote makes it sound like they're leaning towards Mike Leake. I interpreted that to mean they are thinking of ways to create room for Leake on the 40-man roster. Or I could be reading too much into it ... we'll find out tomorrow.

Captain Hook
04-01-2010, 11:19 PM
From Mark Sheldon:



http://marksheldon.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/04/two_cuts.html

The bolded quote makes it sound like they're leaning towards Mike Leake. I interpreted that to mean they are thinking of ways to create room for Leake on the 40-man roster. Or I could be reading too much into it ... we'll find out tomorrow.

Maybe Leake winning the job will force the Reds to release Miles to make room on the 40 man.:pray:

TheNext44
04-01-2010, 11:27 PM
I think the big delay is figuring out if it is worth it to keep Nix, which involves moving someone off the 40 man roster. He probably only is going to be up for the first week before they bring up whoever is the 5th starter. Is it worth it to go with him for this role if it means losing another player for good?

They probably are seeing if they can move off a player from the 40 man roster without losing him. This is complicated even more by the Leake situation. Because of this, I'm thinking they go with Wood for now.

Nasty_Boy
04-01-2010, 11:37 PM
It's worth keeping Nix if it means moving Miles off the 40 man roster.

Ron Madden
04-02-2010, 02:54 AM
Maybe Leake winning the job will force the Reds to release Miles to make room on the 40 man.:pray:

Don't count on it.

Ron Madden
04-02-2010, 03:00 AM
I think the big delay is figuring out if it is worth it to keep Nix, which involves moving someone off the 40 man roster. He probably only is going to be up for the first week before they bring up whoever is the 5th starter. Is it worth it to go with him for this role if it means losing another player for good?

They probably are seeing if they can move off a player from the 40 man roster without losing him. This is complicated even more by the Leake situation. Because of this, I'm thinking they go with Wood for now.

Who knows. It could be the Reds are stalling, waiting for everyone else to set their roster in order to slip someone through waivers.

reds44
04-02-2010, 04:25 AM
I think the big delay is figuring out if it is worth it to keep Nix, which involves moving someone off the 40 man roster. He probably only is going to be up for the first week before they bring up whoever is the 5th starter. Is it worth it to go with him for this role if it means losing another player for good?

They probably are seeing if they can move off a player from the 40 man roster without losing him. This is complicated even more by the Leake situation. Because of this, I'm thinking they go with Wood for now.
Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to keep Francisco up for the first week of the season, if that's really what this is about? I understand (and agree) with getting Francisco consistent ABs in the minors, but if it's just until they need a 5th starter Francisco would make more sense.

Spring~Fields
04-02-2010, 05:17 AM
I think the big delay is figuring out if it is worth it to keep Nix, which involves moving someone off the 40 man roster. He probably only is going to be up for the first week before they bring up whoever is the 5th starter. Is it worth it to go with him for this role if it means losing another player for good?

They probably are seeing if they can move off a player from the 40 man roster without losing him. This is complicated even more by the Leake situation. Because of this, I'm thinking they go with Wood for now.

I am not very convinced that the "big delay" is regarding Wood or Leake.

I think that you are right with the roster moves thoughts. In addition they are probably looking at the dollars angle and the veteran experience theories for the various factions who might be in on the decisions.

Spring~Fields
04-02-2010, 05:21 AM
Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to keep Francisco up for the first week of the season, if that's really what this is about? I understand (and agree) with getting Francisco consistent ABs in the minors, but if it's just until they need a 5th starter Francisco would make more sense.

Why would you want to rush the very young Francisco?

membengal
04-02-2010, 07:08 AM
How is him being up for just one week rushing him? He already was up last September, and the minor league season doesn't start until next Friday night. If it would for some reason help whatever decision they are making having him up for a few days, I don't see that as rushing him...

bucksfan2
04-02-2010, 11:28 AM
From Mark Sheldon:



http://marksheldon.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/04/two_cuts.html

The bolded quote makes it sound like they're leaning towards Mike Leake. I interpreted that to mean they are thinking of ways to create room for Leake on the 40-man roster. Or I could be reading too much into it ... we'll find out tomorrow.

Actually C Trent took it as since Wood is on the 40 man the Reds are leaning towards him. He predicted that Wood would be the 5th starter.

reds44
04-02-2010, 04:17 PM
How is him being up for just one week rushing him? He already was up last September, and the minor league season doesn't start until next Friday night. If it would for some reason help whatever decision they are making having him up for a few days, I don't see that as rushing him...
What he said.

OnBaseMachine
04-02-2010, 07:56 PM
Mike Leake 5th starter?

From Fay:

Travis Wood is packing his stuff up. The #Reds will get to 25 before the game. It's probably going to Leake.

http://twitter.com/johnfayman

Reds Fanatic
04-02-2010, 08:02 PM
I got this list from Trent's blog today. If Leake did make the roster he joins this short list of players that skipped the minors and went straight to the majors:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_baseball_players_who_went_directly_to_the_ major_leagues