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Mike Leake

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Michael Raymond Leake

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[edit] Biographical Information

Mike Leake was a top-10 draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2009 amateur draft who bypassed the minor leagues completely before making his major league debut on April 11, 2010.

Leake was 9-3 with a 1.87 ERA as a high school junior and hit .431. As a senior, he had a 11-1, 1.87 record and batted .342. He was first-team All-State in California both years. The Oakland Athletics took him in the 7th round of the 2006 amateur draft but he opted for college.

As a freshman at Arizona State University, Mike was 13-2 with a save and a 3.69 ERA to tie for the Pacific-10 Conference lead in wins, even with Josh Satow. He was named a third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. He set school freshman records for innings (127) and strikeouts (94). Leake was the only freshman pitcher to make All-Pac-10 that year. He hit .176/.200/.235 in limited time at the plate.

In 2008, the sophomore sensation had a 11-3, 3.49 record with a save. He fanned 104 while walking 20 and also picked off nine batters. Playing the field at times, he hit .340/.500/.574, playing every infield and outfield position except third base. He was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, finishing second in the Conferenmce in wins, third in strikeouts and 8th in ERA while leading in innings (121). He was a second-team All-American according to both Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America.

Leake spent the summer of 2008 with Team USA. He was 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA and hit .236 for the team. Mike allowed 10 baserunners but only one run in five innings in the 2008 Haarlem Baseball Week, getting a no-decision; playing the field regularly, he batted .263/.263/.263 as the US won the event. In the 2008 World University Championship, he batted .250/.400/.500 for the Gold Medalists. He allowed two hits and no runs in eight scoreless innings on the mound.

In 2009, Mike was 16-1 entering the 2009 College World Series, leading NCAA Division I in wins. The Cincinnati Reds chose him 8th overall in the 2009 amateur draft, the 25th first-round pick ever from Arizona State. Leake was signed by scout Clark Crist, but did not pitch again in 2009. He did however receive an invitation to the Reds' spring training in 2010. Although overshadowed by Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman and his 100 mph fastballs, Leake impressed the team's brass enough that he won the team's fifth starter job and made his major league debut on April 10 against the Chicago Cubs, bypassing the minor leagues completely. He was only the 21st drafted player to go directly to the major leagues since the institution of the amateur draft in 1965. In his debut, he gave up only one run in 6 2/3 innings but did not figure in the decision as the Reds won, 3-1. He collected his first major league win on April 22nd, 8-5 over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He completed his first season with an 8-4 record and a 4.23 ERA in 24 games (22 starts), with 91 Ks and 61 walks in 138 1/3 innings. He was shut down towards the end of the season as the Reds' management wanted to limit his innings and was not used in the postseason.

Leake started the 2011 season with wins in two of his first three starts, but then made the headlines for the wrong reasons when he was arrested on April 18th in a downtown Cincinnati Macy's department store for shoplifting. Security cameras had caught him removing security tags on 6 tee-shirts, worth around $60, and then walking out without paying for the merchandise. He appeared in court the next day and his attorney requested that he be allowed to enter a diversion program for first-time offenders, which would allow him to continue to pitch after admitting his guilt, paying a fine and performing volunteer work. Overall, he was 12-9, 3.86 in 29 games, including 26 starts, as his season was once again cut short because the Reds did not want to see his total of innings pitched increase too much over previous years. He pitched 167 2/3 innings, 30 more than he had pitched as a rookie the previous season. He walked only 38, putting him 10th in the 2011 NL in lowest walk rate, right behind teammate Bronson Arroyo.

On May 21, 2012 Mike hit his first career homer off Mike Minor of the Atlanta Braves in winning the game, 4-1. It was his first win of the year after starting out 0-5. He pitched his first career complete game on June 29th, besting Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants, 5-1, to improve his record to 3-5. He finished the year at 8-9, 4.58 in 30 starts, pitching 179 innings during which he gave up 201 hits. He was not on the team's roster at the start of the postseason, but the Reds' plans changed when ace Johnny Cueto was forced to leave Game 12 of the NLDS with an injury in the 1st innning; starter Mat Latos took over on the mound in the 3rd inning, after taking time to warm up while reliever Sam LeCure was pitching, the result being that the Reds now needed someone to start Game 4 with Cueto and Latos both unavailable. Cueto was placed on the disabled list and Leake took his place, getting the starting assignment. However, he gave up five runs to the San Francisco Giants in 4 1/3 innings and was charged with the 8-3 loss that tied the series at two games each. The Reds then lost the decisive Game 5 and were ousted from the postseason.

Leake had a great all-around day on April 17, 2013, facing the Philadelphia Phillies. On the mound, he pitched seven scoreless innings, and at the plate, he collected three hits and scored three runs to lead the Reds to an 8-2 win, his first of the season.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (2014)

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