Reds select Leake

With the eighth overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday, the Reds picked right-handed starting pitcher Mike Leake from Arizona State University.

“I didn’t know they were that interested,” Leake said on a conference call Tuesday night. “I’m grateful and happy that they were that interested.”

Leake, a 21-year-old junior, was 16-1 with a 1.36 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) for the Sun Devils this season. In 132 2/3 innings, he had 21 walks and 150 strikeouts. Arizona State is currently participating in the College World Series.

Here is what Reds senior director of scouting Chris Buckley had to say about Leake:

“He’s a very polished college pitcher with four pitches. The numbers are just off the charts. He’s a very good baseball player. He’s one of their better position players. This guy hit the ground running in college.”

“It’s his command and how polished he is. He throws four pitches for strikes. He can throw them at any time. He’s an outstanding fielder. He has an outstanding pickoff move. He has all the intangibles that good pitchers have.”

Leake’s four pitches are a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. His fastball runs 88-93 mph and can touch 94 mph. He’s smaller pitcher listed at 6-foot and weighs 180 pounds…but Leake admitted his media guide exaggerated a little. He’s actually 5-10 1/2.

“It’s always been a thing that’s haunted me,” Leake said of his size. “I don’t let it get to me that much. I know all you have to do is show what you’re capable of and it will pay off in the end.”

Because ASU is still playing, negotiations to sign Leake have to remain on hold until his school is finished. He did not sound as though he wanted talks to drag out all summer.

“I will be ready to do it once our season is over,” Leake said. “The sooner we can get it done, the better. We can build a better relationship that way instead of going back and forth at each other with different negotiations.”

As for where he could start, Buckley did not commit to a Minor League level. His innings count indicates he won’t likely be rushed up the system this year if he does sign before the Aug. 17 deadline.

“This is a guy that’s 16-1 so he’s pitched a fair amount of baseball this year,” Buckley said. “You don’t want to rush him or put him in a situation where he could get hurt.”

Leake has a MLBlog already…check it out.


Here are the other Day 1 Draft picks by the Reds:

Compensation round, 43rd overall, RHP Brad Boxberger, USC.

Round 2, 57th overall, SS Billy Hamilton, Taylorsville HS, Mississippi

Round 3, 88th overall, LHP Donnie Joseph, Univ. of Houston

Here is the link to my wrap-up story on



Obviously, it takes dozens and dozens of scouts for an organization to comb through thousands of eligible players and watch their games, do interviews, etc. It’s one of the most unsung parts of the industry.

For fans, anybody taken after round one (and even some of the first-round guys) will garner shrugs because no one but their parents and those scouts know who they are.

Researching a story I did for Day 2 of the Draft, here are some players on the current Reds 25-man roster that were late round picks.

No one on the Reds epitomizes late, late round success better than reliever Daniel Herrera. The lefty was a 45th round selection (1,345th overall) by the Rangers in 2006.

  • RHP Jared Burton was taken in the eighth round (248th overall) in 2002 by the A’s.
  • OF Chris Dickerson was a 16th round pick (471st overall) by the Reds in 2003.
  • RHP Carlos Fisher was the Reds’ 11th round pick (332nd overall) in 2005.
  • Outfielder Jonny Gomes was the Rays’ 18th round (529th overall) selection in 2001.
  • IF/OF Jerry Hairston Jr. was taken by the Orioles in the 11th round (345th overall) in 1997.
  • Reds ace Aaron Harang was a 1999 sixth round pick by the Rangers (195th overall).
  • SS Paul Janish was a seventh round (138th overall) of the Reds in 2004.
  • RHP Mike Lincoln was taken by the Twins in the 13th round (367th overall) in 1996.
  • RHP Nick Masset was an eighth round (244th overall) of the Rangers in 2000.
  • OF Laynce Nix was taken in the fourth round (124th overall) in 2000 by the Rangers.
  • IF Adam Rosales was the Reds’ 12th round pick (362nd overall) in 2005.

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Well, we’ve certainly been lucky to have the Rangers drafting pitchers for us the last few years. Herrera, Harang and Masset; and Volquez, if the Rangers drafted him, too. A third of our staff! Regarding Leake’s stature, who are some successful, short pitchers these days? Isn’t Pedro Martinez under 6 feet? You don’t have to be 6’5″, do you?
— Max

Tim Lincecum is 5-11 and is only the reigning NL Cy Young winner. Greg Maddux, who Leake admires a lot, is 6-feet tall.

Another thought: 132 innings in 17 appearances. First, I had no idea collegians played so many games; and second, if he got 35 starts in a pro season, we’re lloking at someone who might eat up 250-275 innings. Riddle me this. How do his college numbers compare with Homer Bailey’s (I don’t even know if Homer played college ball)?

hey, Texas just drafted Ruben Sierra. Is tha R. Sierra’s son? Is it possible? If so, the years are really flying by.

It’s amazing the feat that Daniel Herrera has accomplished in 2 years and how late he was drafted. Any idea on how many players from the 2006 draft are currently in the majors?

Bailey was taken out of high school. As for Herrera, he’s beaten a lot of ’06 first-rounders to the Majors, including Reds’ first pick Drew Stubbs.

Lincecum, Kershaw, Longoria, Scherzer and Hochevar (overall #1) are among those from ’06 draft that are in or have been in the Majors.

I heard Leake is a good player.
I think he will do well for the Reds.

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