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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

It's Mike Leake!

As a recent grad of Arizona State (for grad school), I'm delighted with the Reds' first round selection of Mike Leake (pronounced "leak," I think) as the Reds' first overall selection in the 2009 draft.

@ctrent says any reaction to a draft pick is an overreaction. I think that's a slight overstatement, but it's also true that baseball drafts are full of disappointment. Erik's been doing a lot of work recently evaluating past selections, and the numbers aren't pretty:
  • 57% of all college hitters in the first round bust. 11% become stars. Including the stars, 19% become every day regulars.
  • 65% of all high school hitters bust. 9% become stars. Stars included, 19% become every day players.
  • I’ve already ranted about high school pitchers, but college pitchers aren’t much better so I’ll just lump them together. 69% of all pitchers drafted in the first round bust. Just 3% become stars during their first six seasons. Including stars, 12% became average regulars or better.
  • About 7 of the 10 names you hear called tomorrow evening are going to flop, even some of the ballyhooed (and expensive) “big upside” players.
That all said, there's real signal in that noise, and the draft is still the biggest single source of talent in baseball, which makes it worth watching.

So, that all said, what do we know about Mike Leake aside from his Sun Devil pedigree? I don't know anything about him, so here's what I'm reading and watching:
  • Doug at rml is always my go-to source for all things minor & amateur. Here's his pre-draft profile of Leake.
  • MLB profile and scouting report.
  • Leake's blog. Leake goes by "Leaker." :)
  • Chris Buckley's audio on Leake. They'll never say anything bad about him, but it's hard to not feel optimistic about him from the descriptions. I've been hearing Tim Hudson as a comp, mostly due to height and polish. Obviously, that would be a nice addition to the organization.
  • I don't get MLB network, but Keith Law had a lot of nice things to say about Leake on ESPN News.
  • CTrent posted excerpts from a conference call with Leake. Sounds like a nice kid. And apparently, despite attending ASU, he sometimes reads books!
  • Red Reporter draft guru Thundering Turtle's takes on Leake, along with other commenters, are full of great links (some are linked below). Another TT take.
  • Kevin Goldstein apparently likes the Leake pick, which is nice to see. Losing access to him on draft day is my only regret in letting my BPro subscription lapse.
Reports on the next two of the picks are trickling in.

Bradley Boxberger is the 2nd selection as a comp for Jeremy Affeldt. Power arm with command issues. Might stick as a starter, but perhaps more likely as reliever.

Billy Hamilton is the 3rd selection in the second round. Apparently has major football commitments, which the Reds will have to lure him away from. They pulled it off with Adam Dunn, so maybe they'll pull it off this time as well.

3rd-round selection (4th pick) is Don Joseph I haven't seen much on yet. Power lefty out of a college pen, with a history of control issues. I like lefties who throw 93 mph as a general rule, so I like the pick, even if he his ceiling is (a hopefully healthy) Bill Bray.

All in all, it seems like a successful first day. My only concern is that if Hamilton does NOT sign, then the Reds will have failed to draft & sign a position player through the first three rounds. Pitchers are necessary, of course, but they're also higher risk signs, on average. But hey, let's hope for the best. Conceivably, the Reds could have just selected two starters, a lefty setup man, and a future SS/CF today. Hope it works out!


  1. Congrats on getting an amazing player & person in Mike Leake. I have been fortunate enough to have gotten to know Mike while at ASU. He is a very talented pitcher and also a great fielder and hitter. Mike is one of the nicest and most humble guys I know. He has a humorous side and can usually be found with a smile on his face. He is definitely a player to watch and should have a great career. Hopefully he'll bring ASU that championship we've been waiting for.

  2. Keri,

    Thanks for your note. I just finished up my grad work at ASU last June (just shy of one year ago!), so I'm thrilled to have Leake in the organization (assuming the signing process goes well--no concerns have been voiced thus far).

    Looking back through my old scorebooks, I did find a CWS game in which Leake pitched out of the bullpen for ASU vs. UC Irvine(19 June 2007). Unfortunately, I don't remember much of his performance... Looks like he shut down the opposition in a disastrous 8th inning, only to allow the losing run in the 10th inning. If I remember right, Jarvis (who Leake replaced) was the closer on that team, and it was he who really was most to blame for the loss.

  3. Here's a post I made following that game: