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Thread: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

  1. #271
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    A general understanding of pitcher development indicates the transformation suggested is swimming against the current.
    I for one do not anticipate a transformation. I think a measured progression is more likely. I think Leake can make some minor improvements and become a solid #3. He's not that far off really. His 2011 season was just a tick below that level. If he can harness what he had that year and improve on it just a bit, he would make a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy for a lot of teams.

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  3. #272
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Would it?

    I'd argue that a whole host of pitchers continually add and subtract mph from their fastballs (and other offerings) and are in constant tinker mode, searching for the right mix of mph and movement.

    Leake has, by almost all accounts, an extra tick of speed he hasn't used yet in the majors. So far, he's gotten by with the same old, same old-- lots of movement, less speed. A control pitcher's arsenal without great control.

    It's not rare at all to think he could add some of those mph back into his fastball to both straighten out his wayward command and to miss more bats.
    I'd like to see an exhaustive list of starting pitchers that have added mph to their fastballs and significantly improved their results (assuming injury isn't a factor in a loss of velocity).

    Also, Leake pitched his last 350 innings with a walk rate of 2. Throwing strikes has not been his issue.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  4. #273
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    Amusingly enough, Mike Leake's fastball (career average FB of 89.1MPH) is actually closer to Kirk Saarloos (85.6 MPH) than it is to Johnny Cueto (93 MPH).
    And they are both much faster than R.A. Dickey's fastball (83.4 MPH last year). Moral of the story: pitchers are all different creatures.

    Furthermore, Leake as a 5th starter is one of the strongest plays in all of baseball- a fact that is continually overlooked. Some of the other 5th starters that teams are going to be trotting out there include Jonathan Sanchez (PIT), John Lannan (PHI), Barry Zito (SFG), John Garland (COL), and Kevin Slowey (MIA). A handful of teams have interesting arms who are either young guys with limited MLB success (Julio Teheran, Shelby Miller) or upside plays with high K rates and perpetual injuries or short track records (Dillon Gee).

    I really don't understand the drum that is being beat of (hyperbole alert) "Mike Leake is the worst pitcher in baseball, replace him immediately or face the consequences" when in all reality he's a very ordinary MOR/BOR guy who compares very well to not only other #5 starters in MLB, but also some teams' #3 or #4 starters. I would bet my bottom dollar that if Mike Leake were released right now, a large number of teams would put in claims on him for their MLB team as a starting pitcher.

    Why can't Mike Leake be Mike Leake? Why does he have to have a 95 mph fastball, 15 arm angles, a 6 pitch mix, or an ERA under 4? Why can't he just be who he is, and why can't we all appreciate that he brings a very positive skillset to the team, rather than pointing out that he isn't Chapman and assuming failure from his spot in the rotation?

    Leake got blown up in his first 6 starts last year. After that, in 24 starts, his ERA was 4.03, his WHIP was 1.30, his K/9 was 6.12, his BB/9 was 1.83, and his K/BB was 3.34.

    So let's say he doesn't get blown up at the beginning of the year. Why should anyone be upset if he continues next year with what he was for the last 24 starts he made and gives the team those numbers? Those numbers are closer to #3 on a lot of teams than they are "release me now" drek status.
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  6. #274
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve4192 View Post
    I can't imagine why anyone would have wanted to dump Leake prior to last season. His rookie year in 2010 was a great success and in 2011 he was the second best pitcher on the Reds behind Johnny Cueto. On top of all that, he was being paid peanuts, freeing the Reds up to spend money elsewhere.

    Unless 'a long time' is measured in months, I don't see how anyone could have wanted to get rid of Leake for 'a long time'.
    I didn't like Leake when he was drafted. He's pitched OK (some good, some bad, lots of mediocre in the middle). I want the team to strive for better than "OK" at every position on the diamond, because you never know who is going to be needed at a key moment in the season. Last year, a better pitcher would possibly have helped the Reds advance in the post-season. Instead, Mike Leake was ineffective and the Reds went on to get dumped in the opening round.
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  7. #275
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Forget everything else. If you can give me 180+ innings with a 4.50 ERA from the 5th starter I take that in a heartbeat. That's why I don't make it a point to try to tear down Mike Leake, as some do. To be fair I do see scenarios where his production drops further this year, but I do think it is not out of the question to see him improve.

    I do wish Chapman was starting, but for now, that is over and done with.

    I don't have too many concerns about this club, but Mike Leake being the 5th starter is certainly not one of them.

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  9. #276
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Quote Originally Posted by Plus Plus View Post
    Furthermore, Leake as a 5th starter is one of the strongest plays in all of baseball- a fact that is continually overlooked. Some of the other 5th starters that teams are going to be trotting out there include Jonathan Sanchez (PIT), John Lannan (PHI), Barry Zito (SFG), John Garland (COL), and Kevin Slowey (MIA). A handful of teams have interesting arms who are either young guys with limited MLB success (Julio Teheran, Shelby Miller) or upside plays with high K rates and perpetual injuries or short track records (Dillon Gee).
    This point doesn't make any sense to me -- it's OK to have a mediocre pitcher on your roster because everyone else has at least 1 mediocre pitcher on theirs?

    You should put together the best 5 pitchers you can possibly find in your rotation.
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    This is very reminiscent of last year's "Is Johnny Cueto an Ace" thread. Hopefully it results in similar fashion.

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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    This point doesn't make any sense to me -- it's OK to have a mediocre pitcher on your roster because everyone else has at least 1 mediocre pitcher on theirs?

    You should put together the best 5 pitchers you can possibly find in your rotation.
    The point is that there is a very finite number of pitchers who are appreciably better than Mike Leake- I think you are overlooking that fact.

    The 1998 Yankees somehow managed to struggle to 114 wins with a 4.24 ERA Andy Pettite and his 1.45 WHIP. And he was their #1 that year!
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    Thus his team was punished

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  14. #279
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post

    You should put together the best 5 pitchers you can possibly find in your rotation.
    It is reality though. Too many times people just look at the Reds roster and not the rest of MLB. People complain about the at bats players like Cairo and others get. Just look at how many at bats Yankees gave Jones, Nunez and Nix. And they have a 200 million payroll. Not every player is going to be a star. You have to pick your battles when building a lineup. What you want is the least amount of question marks for the most part.

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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    I'd like to see an exhaustive list of starting pitchers that have added mph to their fastballs and significantly improved their results (assuming injury isn't a factor in a loss of velocity).
    Can't do it. Don't have that information handy. Nor do you have the opposite information.

    We're both conjecturing here.

    (But my side makes logical sense.)

    Again, because you seem to be making up an argument that you can win instead of reading mine:

    -- Leake has extra mph in his back pocket.
    -- Leake has had that extra mph for quite a few years, but has, in the past, preferred to leave the extra mph in his back pocket and live with more movement.
    -- Leake is working on adding mph, as per scouting reports from Spring Training, in order to miss more bats.
    -- Scouts that have seen his results in Spring Training have been impressed with his tinkering between movement and mph, believing that he'll miss more bats, thereby giving himself a better out-pitch. This out-pitch will improve his numbers to MOR levels, and, if he gets extremely lucky, perhaps more.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Also, Leake pitched his last 350 innings with a walk rate of 2. Throwing strikes has not been his issue.
    Sure, it has. He often throws too good of a pitch as a strike. His problems (two-fold) are throwing it in the middle of the zone with not enough gas behind it.
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Quote Originally Posted by Plus Plus View Post
    The point is that there is a very finite number of pitchers who are appreciably better than Mike Leake- I think you are overlooking that fact.

    The 1998 Yankees somehow managed to struggle to 114 wins with a 4.24 ERA Andy Pettite and his 1.45 WHIP. And he was their #1 that year!
    Baselines are really important for context...

    In 1998, the average AL starter looked like this: ERA= 4.75, FIP= 4.64, K/9=6.16, BB/9=3.27

    The Yankees rotation looked like this: ERA=3.85, FIP=4.11, k/9=6.96, BB/9=2.81 making it easily the best in the AL that year.

    And while Pettitte "only" posted an ERA= 4.24 and a FIP= 4.28 in 1998, it was still significantly above average for the environment of 1998 and to fair it was following 1996 where he posted an ERA= 3.87 and a FIP= 4.08 and 1997 where he posted an ERA= 2.88 and a FIP= 2.96.

    So really viewing Pettitte properly invalidates comparisons between Pettitte and Leake. Sticking Leake in Pettitte's environment likely balloons Leake's ERA/FIP above 5 given Leake's career numbers relative to league average in Leake's career context.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  19. #282
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Baselines are really important for context...

    In 1998, the average AL starter looked like this: ERA= 4.75, FIP= 4.64, K/9=6.16, BB/9=3.27

    The Yankees rotation looked like this: ERA=3.85, FIP=4.11, k/9=6.96, BB/9=2.81 making it easily the best in the AL that year.

    And while Pettitte "only" posted an ERA= 4.24 and a FIP= 4.28 in 1998, it was still significantly above average for the environment of 1998 and to fair it was following 1996 where he posted an ERA= 3.87 and a FIP= 4.08 and 1997 where he posted an ERA= 2.88 and a FIP= 2.96.

    So really viewing Pettitte properly invalidates comparisons between Pettitte and Leake. Sticking Leake in Pettitte's environment likely balloons Leake's ERA/FIP above 5 given Leake's career numbers relative to league average in Leake's career context.
    The point wasn't that Leake is Pettite at all.

    The point is that you can win without 5 extremely dominant starters, and you can win a lot. Pettite wasn't great in 1998 and the Yankees won 114 games and swept the World Series. Wells anchored that rotation, and really caught fire in the playoffs; Pettite pitched WS game 4 after pitching poorly in the season and postseason. But enough about him... this is about Mr. Leake!

    I think that being upset that Leake isn't elite when he is perfectly serviceable and probably even better than that as a BOR starter is a lot of misdirected energy. Its extremely difficult to find upgrades to guys like Leake when there aren't people who are definite upgrades who can be had at his price and provide his skillset to the team. Chapman may have been an upgrade, but 1) we won't find out this year because management put him in the pen making this now a non-issue, and 2) objectively, taking Chapman from the pen to the rotation and putting Leake into the pen likely weakens both areas in the short term; the bullpen would be certainly weaker, so starter-Chapman would have had to be significantly better than starter-Leake to offset that.

    My stance is that Leake is likely in the top half of starting pitchers in baseball, if you include all pitchers who are going to start games this year and also pitchers who "aren't retired by choice," if you will. Again, his numbers across 2010, 2011, and the last 24 starts of 2012 support that he is a guy with an ERA of about 4, WHIP of about 1.3, and K/BB of about 3. Even last year, including his poor first 6 starts of the season, Leake's ERA+ was 93. Why isn't this OK for a 5th starter in a rotation?
    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Thus his team was punished

    Long live punishment
    Quote Originally Posted by BCubb2003 View Post
    The base you want to acquire is home.

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  21. #283
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    A general understanding of pitcher development indicates the transformation suggested is swimming against the current.
    Pitchers learn new pitches and improve the ones they already have all the time. Their main goals... to change velocity and to add movement. That and location are the holy trinity of pitching. If pitchers couldn't adjust those, they would never get better or worse.

    Poetically, last season, Leake taught Arroyo a new way to throw his changeup and it made a world of difference.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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  23. #284
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Pettite was above average in the season. Not by a lot in terms of ERA+, but his 104 is above average and he also did it over 216.1 innings. That is rather valuable.

  24. #285
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    Re: Buster Olney says scouts are raving about Mike Leake

    Another interesting point.
    Bronson debuted in 2000, at age 23.
    He didn't really put together a good season until 2004 (age 27)
    He followed that good season up with a mediocre season (although plenty of IP)
    Then at age 29, he came to Cincy and put it all together.

    Now, granted, Bronson didn't get much of a chance in Pittsburg when he was young. However, part of the reason his IP were limited was because he had a pretty high WHIP and a pretty high HR/9. His K/BB ratio was also pretty poor.

    So in other words, I submit Bronson as a guy simliar to Leake that improved. However, IIRC, Bronson did throw a little harder than Leake did when he was young. Still Leake has had a better start to his career than Bronson did.
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