Reds' top draft picks will be on a fast track
By Hal McCoy, Staff Writer
Updated 12:44 AM Wednesday, August 19, 2009
CINCINNATI — They are going to start slow, but Mike Leake and Brad Boxberger will be riding the fast track for the Cincinnati Reds — if they earn it.
When general manager Walt Jocketty included pitching prospects Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart in the trade for Scott Rolen, he talked about replenishing the pitching supply with Leake and Boxberger, the team's top two draft picks in June.
"They are quality pitchers from quality college programs (Arizona State, Southern California) and they should be able to move up quickly," said Jocketty.
Both are signed and headed for Sarasota, but they won't pitch for a while. They'll be assigned to the Gulf Coast Rookie League Reds in Sarasota, where they will be worked out and evaluated, "Then maybe pitch in a fall league or the fall instructional leaage," said Jocketty.
Both were in Great American Ball Park Tuesday, playing Meet the Press before heading for Sarasota.
"I'd like to be here as quickly as possible, do my job and do it well," said Leake, listed at 6-foot-0 but admits he is 5-10. "It's all on my shoulders and hopefully if I do well I'll be moved up quickly.
"I'm flattered the Reds wanted me because I'm not typical, not at 5-10," he said. "I'm glad they had the trust to pick me and hopefully I can do something special here. I've been trying to get back in shape, mostly doing long toss and working out in my garage and at my old high school. And I've been in San Diego doing some surfing on the longboard.
Leake said he knows more about Reds tradition (from long ago) than he thought he did and said he gave all the wrong answers the first time he was asked about it. He's learning fast.
"I'm aware of the background and the rich tradition they have," he said. "Hopefully we can be a part of re-inventing The Red Machine."
Uh, Mike. It's The BIG Red Machine. But he'll learn.