Mike Leake Skips the Minors, Named Reds Fifth Starter

The Reds 2009 first round pick Mike Leake will skip the minor leagues all together and start his career as a major leaguer. 

It came down to this wire, but Mike Leake beat out Travis Wood for the Red’s fifth starter spot to start the 2010 season.  Leake comes via Arizona State and college pitchers tend to make a quick transition to the Major Leagues, but what can we really expect from Mike Leake in regards to our fantasy baseball teams?

During his time at Arizona State Leake showed great command posting a 2.1 BB/9 his first year and a 1.5 BB/9 the following two seasons.  His final season at Arizona State Leake posted a 10.3 K/9, a jump up from 7.7 K/9 the season prior.  All the while scouts raved about his poise on the mound.

In his first showing as a member of the Reds organization, Leake threw 19 innings in the Arizona Fall League.  There he continued to show his great command ( three walks in 19 innings) posting a 1.4 BB/9, but the strikeout numbers didn’t show up as much (15 in 19 innings or a 6.8 K/9). 
This spring Leake walked four and struck out ten in 18 innings of work. 
Both his Arizona Fall League and spring training numbers are much too small of sample sizes to use for statistical analysis, but they all show pretty much the same thing: His command and poise are Major League ready now, but he may not have the strikeout upside to be a true impact pitcher right away.
In NL-only leagues Leake is worth a look, but prolonged success in his first season would be a lot to expect.  No matter what, his innings should be limited (I say should because Dusty Bake is the Manager) which would limit his overall production.
The bottom line: Don’t expect too much from Mike Leake in his rookie campaign, but monitor early progress for potential matchups down the line.