Think Tank on Mike Leake (1-0)
BJOL #66 with a bullet :- )




Leake is a groundball pitcher in a league with juiced baseballs giving flyball pitchers headaches, so that's useful.  Seattle has a normally-good-fielding infield, which will also help. Moving to the AL won't help him as much, but he's still better than some other options (most of which the Ms have tried already).  His hits-per-9 have ballooned in St. Louis, though.  Perhaps that's defense, perhaps juiced balls also get through the infield faster, perhaps he's just catching too much of the plate with adequate-but-not-overpowering stuff.  

The Cardinals paid for a 3-WAR pitcher who only gave them 1 WAR.  The Mariners got the discount and are trying to pay for a 2-WAR pitcher they'll actually get.


Conceded of course they're dealing away strength, clearing the decks for pitchers the Cards see as better-AKC'ed.  We sloughed Boog to the Orcs, keeping Haniger, too.  Agreed it's an interesting discussion whether the Cards are selling high, that is, whether they see an imminent dropoff coming.  Worth nothing however that the Cards' clubhouse, notably Pham and Lynn, begged to differ on Sept. 1.

As to Leake's groundball tendencies, here are three F/X images worth consideration.  For some reason they're not pasting into the article, so please click over:

1 RELEASE POINT:  Note that Leake throws from a low-side arm angle, about 8" below average.

2 PITCH MOVEMENT, CATCHER'S ANGLE:  Leake's normal fastball has a 2x9 movement or even 1x9, as opposed to the usual 5x8.  It drops about a baseball's worth compared to a normal "sinker."  Hence his 54.5% grounder rate placing in the top 5 in baseball right now.

3 CALLED STRIKE ZONE:  It's amusing that Leake gets strikes taken away at the top of the zone, and given back to him below the knees.  That's a pretty inordinate number of red called strikes at the shins this year.

Any/all of which could create some problems with AL hitters' reflexes, you'd think.


Leake got 2.0 and 2.3 WAR for the Reds, then got 1.6 in the split year, and 2.5 for them last year.  He had 1.9 Cards WAR going into this September, so he'll be at what, 2.2.  I couldn't agree more:  I'd want to pay him cash for 1.5 - 2.0 WAR per season and then hope for a "Cardinal Way" type of 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 WAR off that.




M's have two scouts to see Otani


THAT would be a splash move, even if they don't let him do his thing as a 2-way player (although watching him DH every day and pitch every 5th day would be tremendous). Might as well at least throw your hat in the ring - the Ms have to get lucky sometime, and getting that extra $750k international bonus pool money could be for precisely this purpose.

Otani is the kind of player who could change the complexion of the Mariners in one stroke of the pen. Guess we'll have something to hold out hope for this offseason.


You had me at Stars & Scrubs.  :- )  And if the M's made it to the final semi's on Otani, here's one blogger who would be in pitching --- > that the chance to DH would be a big card they'd play on him!   As IceX (who is from the NPB) points out, you can amputate 15 competitors right off the bat.  ... or can you? ... those doity Dodgers may just go for some RF action ...


IceX Sez


Isn't this like the third or fourth time Dipstick has traded for some middling mid-contract pitcher?

Wade Miley... Unmentionable... Leake...

What a garbage scow. 


Welllllll .... far be it from me to discourage the very Stars & Scrubs reaction that I've spent twenty years nurturing.  :- )  And a move for Mike Leake doesn't in any way absolve the M's responsibility to find a #1a to slot next to James Paxton.  Without a doubt they do.  If the M's spend the next two years running Pat Gillick Hondas out there, in the hope that Cano & Cruz & Zeus & 14 Hondas are the magic recipe... well, everybody else who tries it always finds out the same thing.  There's one Pat Gillick.

But assuming that a Shohei Otani, or another whale of his ilk, is in the hopper, then --- > there's something to be said also for a Supporting Cast.

Fact is, the last month-plus we've been listening to Bat and Zoom make some pretty interesting points about the kinda pitcher who does it The Cardinal Way.  Comes Friday night and we saw one of 'em do that for us.  Not sure if he's gonna do it again but that's what he did that time.


Dr D




Leake's nice in a vaccuum... I personally just don't feel buying Civics is working and the game doesn't appear to work that way anymore. Between the usual suspects and the Dodgers

In addition, I hesitate to say Otani's a silver bullet. 

Of note, he is significantly younger and less developed than any batter or pitcher who's crossed the Pacific thus far.

In terms of health, it's possible that Otani has less mileage, but the reps may not be there and he was injured most of this year  

I don't really have the facilities to watch Otani regularly and I don't doubt his talent... But I'm not placing placebo-level status for the M's on him.

Maybe if you get him and Darvish, I'll be a bit more willing to. 

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