Now that the question of “will Aroldis Chapman be a starter or closer in 2013?” has been answered, there is no one on the Cincinnati Reds‘ roster who is breathing a bigger sigh of relief more than Mike Leake.
For someone who got off to as slow as a start as Leake did in the 2012 season, he ended up pitching a better as the season went on. Now that Chapman will be the closer, Leake has to show the Reds that he can pitch at the MLB level in the 2013 season. So needless to say, I would like to imagine the Reds will have a short leash with him this year.
Leake is entering his fourth year as a member of the Reds and for the most part, has done well on them mound. With a career 28-22 record and an ERA of 4.23, he has shown that he can be a dominant pitcher on the mound if he has stuff working and is in control of it. Not to mention, he is a pretty decent hitter as well.
However, that’s all in the past. This spring, Leake did not record a win or loss in Spring Training and had a 5.12 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched and struck out 12 while only walking three. The good news is, that was just a small sample in games that don’t matter.
If he can find a way to get back to what he did in 2010 (8-4) and 2011 (12-9), then there is no doubt in my mind that he can win at least 10-12 games this year for the Reds in the fifth spot in the rotation.
Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter @bs_rant1.