Leake was selected by the Oakland Athletics during the seventh round of the
2006 MLB draft. Opting to go to college at Arizona State University, the
5'10" right-hander was nothing short of brilliant. In three years he posted
a 40-6 record with a 2.91 ERA. Leake led the Sun Devils to three straight
PAC-10 titles and won 10+ games in all three of his seasons at ASU (He was
one of only two Sun Devils to ever do so). His Junior year in 2009 was by
far the best of Leake's career and possibly one of the greatest in Sun Devil
history. Going 16-1 (leading the nation) with a 1.71 ERA (leading the
PAC-10), Leake won the PAC-10 Pitcher of the Year Award for the second
straight year (the only player to ever win the award in back-to-back
seasons) and was named the 2009 National Player of the Year by the ABCA.
Leake also proved in college that he's no automatic-out at the plate. He
batted .299 during his time at ASU in almost 100 at bats. His best year at
the dish was 2008 when he batted .340 in 47 at bats hitting 2 home runs and
driving in 11. Mike Leake is no stranger to success. During high school in
San Diego, Leake led the Fallbrook Warriors to three league titles in four
years. It seems that winning may be in his blood.
The Cincinnati Reds selected Mike Leake during the first round (eighth
overall) of the 2009 MLB draft. After pitching in the '09 Arizona Fall
talks about the AFL here) he is currently training with the Reds in
Goodyear, Arizona, once again in the state where he culminated his
baseball career. When Reds' beat writer John Fay mentioned Leake's status in
Arizona prior to Wednesday's game at Tempe Diablo Stadium, he grinned and
said, "I'm Godzilla". Dusty Baker had this to say about Mr. Leake:
“He has that quiet confidence. He has a great idea about how to pitch at
such a young age (22). He has great command of the strike zone. I remember
talking to Bob Welch (former Dodgers, A’s pitcher) who saw him at ASU and he
told me, ‘You’re going to like this young man. He keeps that cheese around
the knees.’ What I’ve noticed about him is that unlike most young guys he
recognized very quickly how a hitter reacts to a certain pitch. He doesn’t
throw a fastball past a hitter then come in with a breaking pitch to let a
hitter catch up. Nor does he throw a breaking pitch that a hitter is way out
in front of then come back with a fastball that enables the hitter to
So far this spring, "keeping that cheese around the knees", Leake has
continued to pitch according to his resumé. In two games so far he has pitched three
scoreless innings allowing only one hit while striking out two.
Joining a brigade instilled with some of the most talented young pitchers in
baseball, Leake and his pitching colleagues are doing what they can to
reinvent the Cincinnati Reds.
With the help of
Mike "Godzilla" Leake, the Reds beat the Angels on Wednesday shutting them
out 6-0. Mike Lincoln rebounded after his terrible
first spring outing. Imitating
teammate Homer Bailey, Lincoln hurled two perfect innings striking out a
pair to start the game for the Reds. Fifth spot candidates Mike Leake and
Travis Wood both pitched two scoreless innings allowing only one hit each.
Veterans Kip Wells and Arthur Rhodes also got some work in on Wednesday.
Both continued the youngsters' trend by pitching scoreless innings (Rhodes
1ip, 1h and Wells 2ip, 0h, 3bb, 2so).
Todd Frazier had no lingering effects after being
hit by an Aroldis Chapman
fastball in Friday's Spring Opener. Frazier led the Reds' offense
driving in two runs, after Laynce Nix and Corky Miller both hit RBI singles,
capping a five run eighth inning.