It doesn’t happen often and the last player to do it was Xavier Nady, but this weekend Mike Leake became the 21st player in MLB history to make the jump from college to the pros without spending a day in the minors. Mike made his professional debut against the Cubs on Sunday. Although he didn’t get credit for the win, he pitched 7 innings of strong ball. His only blemish is the 7 walks he gave up.
There were times during the game that he definitely looked jittery, but once he calmed down he started to show the dominance that he has shown throughout his collegiate career at Arizona State (boo ASU). Last season he went 16-1 for the Sun Devils with an ERA of 1.17 and 162 strike outs in 142 innings. His WHIP was a wafer thin 0.84.
He did participate in the Arizona Fall League during the off-season where he went 1-2 with a 1.35 ERA with 15 strike outs in 19 innings over the course of 5 starts. The Reds now find themselves in a very good situation having a bevy of starters to chose from. They have Harrang, Leake, Cueto, Arroyo and Bailey as their current rotation and Chapman mowing down batters in the minors. With Edison Volquez on the DL until no earlier than July, the Reds are going to have to make a major decision soon regarding one of their starters. My guess is that it would be either Arroyo or Harang that gets the cut. I just can’t imagine the Reds are going to let Chapman spend more than 4 starts in the minors.
As far as Mike’s autographed cards, they are flying high. After the start on Sunday his autographed cards were running from $50 – $100 and some as high as $200. That is an awful lot of movement for one start and I would definitely wait until he cools down before picking up any of his cards. Also Mike is a great through the mail signer. I actually got a few of his autographs during the off-season.