No one would disagree that Mike Leake had an up and down 2012. Coming off a 2011 season where he posted some decent numbers (Leake led the starting staff in wins and strikeouts), the #8 overall selection in the 2009 amateur draft has contributed in an area some might not have envisioned.
Sure, there’s the whole issue about what Leake’s role will be for the 2013 Reds, but in the early spring, one role he has undertaken has been that of teacher. According to John Fay, Leake noticed a couple of minor league pitchers were tipping their pitches. And from that, Leake earned some praise from his skipper, Dusty Baker.
“This is what you hope guys do for each other,” Baker said. “Leake’s a ballplayer. From the day he got here, he was the only guy who didn’t leave in the fifth inning. You know how they herd like cattle in the fifth.
“Leake was the only guy that sat right there next to me and Eric Davis and paid attention. He’s a team guy.”
We know Leake is handy with the bat. While at Arizona State, Leake posted a career slash of .299/.402/.485 and owns an MLB triple slash of .274/.308/.348. There is also a string belief that Leake was robbed of last year’s Silver Slugger for pitchers which was awarded to Washington’s Stephen Strasburg.
This extra perspective can only aid the righty. The fact that Leake went this extra mile is a positive sign that he might not be letting all the chatter in regards to his role for the upcoming season affect how he can help the organization. It truly is an admirable quality.
Sure, the numbers he’s posted do account for something, but the willingness to help others pulls a little weight as well. Will this willingness have an effect on what Leake’s role will be for 2013?
Not a bit.