The combination of these three starts has left Leake with an unspectacular 5.7 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9. His 3.92 ERA might be enough for owners in some leagues to buy into him, but his 4.78 xFIP could leave owners in savvier leagues passing on Leake. Still, I feel as though this Reds rookie has some very redeemable qualities.
First, while he's been called a "No. 3 starter," scouts seemed to really like him, especially his pitchability and his command. Some even like his raw stuff, like prospect expert
Additionally, after watching some video and taking a cursory glance at the
The slider is insane, getting more than 5 inches of horizontal movement. Very few pitchers are able to generate that kind of movement on their sliders. It's probably not quite at the level of a
The combination of good stuff paired with the scouts' raves about his pitchability tells me that, yes, Leake does indeed appear to be ready for the big leagues despite not having thrown a pitch in the minors yet. His stuff is very conducive to generating ground balls, and his secondary offerings should allow him to post an above-average strikeout rate. Because scouts have always made note of his stellar control, and because he showed this during his most recent outing, I'm not going to freak out about the 5.7 BB/9 thus far. He's also been able to find the strike zone at a slightly above league average rate thus far (49.7 percent), which should only improve and, at the very least, paints a rosier picture than his BB/9 does.
Oliver sees Leake posting a 3.68 ERA the rest of the way, and while that might be a little optimistic, an ERA around 4.00 (with significant upside) certainly seems attainable. I bought Leake during the first week of the season in both LABR and Tout Wars, and I'll continue to start him and expect good things. While I'd take a guy like