Mike Leake

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Mike Leake
Mike Leake (14957328220).jpg
Leake with the Cincinnati Reds
Seattle Mariners – No. 8
Starting pitcher
Born: (1987-11-12) November 12, 1987 (age 31)
San Diego, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 11, 2010, for the Cincinnati Reds
MLB statistics
(through July 19, 2019)
Win–loss record101–95
Earned run average4.04
Mike Leake
Medal record
Men's baseball
Representing  United States
World University Championship
Gold medal – first place 2008 Brno National team

Michael Raymond Leake (born November 12, 1987), is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, and St. Louis Cardinals.

Leake played college baseball for the Arizona State Sun Devils of Arizona State University. The Reds selected Leake in the first round of the 2009 MLB draft. They promoted him to the major leagues at the start of the 2010 season, without having him pitch in the minor leagues, one of only 21 baseball players to go straight from the draft to the major league team that drafted them. Leake did play for the Peoria Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League in 2009, winning the Arizona Fall League Rising Star Award.[1] Though operated by MLB, the Arizona Fall League is not considered a traditional 'minor league'.

Leake pitched for the Reds through 2015, at which point he was traded to the Giants. A free agent that offseason, he signed with the Cardinals. The Cardinals traded him to the Mariners in 2017.

Early years[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Leake was born in San Diego, California, and grew up in Valley Center, California, the son of Chris and Sarah Leake. Both his brother and his father call him Mikey.[2] Leake grew up as a Seattle Mariners fan and idolized Vladimir Guerrero and Nolan Ryan among others.[3] He started playing baseball at age five by tagging along with his older brother everywhere, to the point that Ryan complained about Mike to his parents. Chris and Sarah Leake convinced Ryan to put up with Mike and teach him how to act both on and off the field.[2]

Leake is listed at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, in the Reds' media guide, but he himself admits that he is actually about 5-foot-10, 175 pounds.[2]

High school[edit]

His freshman and sophomore years, Leake attended Valley Center High School, where he started on the varsity baseball team. Leake transferred to Fallbrook High School, where he lettered in baseball two years and was co-team captain for the baseball team his senior season. He graduated in 2006.[3]

During his junior year, Leake batted .431 with 10 home runs and 31 runs batted in (RBIs) while compiling a 9–3 win–loss record with a 1.87 earned run average (ERA). The next year, he batted .342 with eight home runs and went 11–1 with a 1.87 ERA. His pitching performances those years helped him win the Avocado League Pitcher of the Year award twice.[3]

Leake was a two-time All-Avocado League honoree; he was twice named to both the first and second teams. He was named the team MVP his sophomore year and was selected to the first team all-CIF his junior and senior years. He was on the first team all-state those two years as well. Additionally, Leake won the Avocado League's Cy Young Award twice, was selected to the first all-academic team twice, and earned the Fallbrook High School Principal's Award twice.[3]

College career[edit]

After graduating from high school, Leake attended Arizona State University, where he majored in management.[4]


Leake began his season as the closer for Arizona State, but soon became a starter. Over the course of the year, Leake had a 13–2 record with a save and a 3.69 ERA in his 25 appearances, 13 of which were starts. His 13 wins, the third most in Arizona State history by a freshman, tied him with his teammate, Josh Satow, for the Pac-10 lead. Leake also set the Arizona State freshman record with 127 innings pitched and 94 strikeouts. Those were the sixth-most and ninth-most in the Pac-10 that year.

He was named to the First Team All-Pac-10. Collegiate Baseball Newspaper named Leake a Third Team All-American and a First Team Freshman All-American. Additionally, Leake was named to the All-Houston College Classic tournament team and the All-Coca-Cola Classic Team. He was also voted the Most Outstanding Player of the Tempe Regional.


Continuing where he left off at the end of his freshman year, Leake had an 11–3 record with a save and a 3.49 ERA in his 19 appearances, 16 of which were starts. Having totaled 24 career victories through this point in his collegiate career, Leake became one of only nine Sun Devils to reach 20 career wins. He also was one of only three Sun Devils to have done so by their sophomore year. He also batted .340 with 2 homers and 11 RBI in 47 at-bats while playing first base, second base, shortstop, left field, center field, and right field. He hit his first career home run against UCLA on May 4, 2008.

Leake led the Pac-10 with 121.1 innings pitched and was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year. He was also named First Team All-Pac-10 and Second Team All-America by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. However, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association named him Third Team All-America. Leake was also selected to the Second Team All-West Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association and was a semifinalist for the Roger Clemens Award, given to top NCAA Division I college baseball pitcher of the year. He was also selected to the All-Tempe Regional Team and the First Team Academic All-Pac-10. ESPN The Magazine made the sophomore an Academic All-District VII selection.

That summer Leake played for the USA Collegiate National Team. The team won gold medals at the Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands and the World University Baseball Championship in the Czech Republic. In those tournaments Leake appeared 8 times and had a 3–0 record with a 0.64 ERA. He also hit .236 with a homer and 8 RBI in 55 at-bats.


Leake plays catch at the 2009 College World Series.

During his junior year, Leake went 16–1 with a 1.71 ERA, 142 innings pitched, and 162 strikeouts, limiting batters to a .193 average, the second lowest in the Pac-10. He threw seven complete games, including back-to-back shutouts, and compiled 26 straight scoreless innings at one point. His 40 career wins tied him for the third most in school history by a three-year pitcher. Leake joined Eddie Bane as one of only two Arizona State pitchers to win 10 or more games for three straight seasons, and Raoul Torrez as one of only two to win three straight Pac-10 titles.

For the second straight season Leake won the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Award, becoming the first back-to-back winner and the fourth two-time winner of the award. Also for the second year, he was named First Team Academic Pac-10, Most Outstanding Player of the Tempe Regional, and Academic All-District VIII by ESPN The Magazine. He won the National Pitcher of the Week award twice and the Pac-10 pitcher of the Week four times. At the end of the season Leake was named National Player of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association and became a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the best amateur baseball player, the Dick Howser Trophy, presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association to the national college baseball player of the year, and the National Pitcher of the Year award. He was also named the Academic All-American of the Year and was a unanimous First Team All-American.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Cincinnati Reds[edit]


Leake was drafted out of high school in 2006 by the Oakland Athletics in the seventh round (218th overall), but chose instead to attend college. The Cincinnati Reds re-drafted him eighth overall in the 2009 draft, which Leake accepted. He received a $2.3 million signing bonus and was signed to a $400,000 contract.[5] He played for the Peoria Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League, winning the Arizona Fall League Rising Star Award.[6]

In 2010, Leake competed for the Reds' fifth starter spot and ultimately won a spot on the Reds' twenty-five man roster amid competition from veterans Mike Lincoln, Justin Lehr, and Micah Owings and young pitchers Travis Wood and Aroldis Chapman.[7] Leake's contract was purchased on April 11, 2010. To make room for him, the Reds optioned Juan Francisco to the Louisville Bats, the Reds AAA minor league affiliate. They also designated Pedro Viola for assignment.[8] Leake became the first player since Xavier Nady, when he was with the San Diego Padres in 2000, to go directly from the draft to the major leagues (and is the most recent to do so, as of 2018),[9] and is the first starting pitcher to accomplish the feat since left-hander Jim Abbott of the California Angels in 1989.[10] He also was the first Cincinnati Red to do so since the abolition of the Bonus Rule after the 1965 season (shortstop Bobby Henrich, pitcher Jay Hook, and catcher Don Pavletich, who did so in 1957, all were "Bonus Babies").[9]

Leake made his major league debut on April 11, 2010, in a 3–1 victory against the Chicago Cubs.[11] On May 15, 2010, Leake earned his fourth career win.[12] With a career record of 4–0 at that point, he became the first Reds rookie starting pitcher to open 4–0 since Pat Zachry and Santo Alcalá did so in 1976.[13] Leake became the first rookie pitcher in Reds' history to remain undefeated after his 10th start by throwing six innings of shutout ball on May 30, 2010, against the Houston Astros.[14][15]

On June 5, 2010, against the Washington Nationals, Leake earned his fifth victory.[16] With this win, Leake moved to 5–0 in his career and joined Santo Alcalá as the only rookies in Reds history to begin their careers with that record.[13] Leake began to suffer from shoulder fatigue as the season progressed, and he was eventually put on the disabled list (DL). He came off the DL in mid-September and joined the Reds as part of expanded rosters, but never pitched. Leake did throw a bullpen session late in the month, but was determined to be not ready for pitching in the post season and effectively "shut down" once again. He did see action as a pinch-runner and pinch-hitter in the month after showing his hitting ability during the season.[citation needed]


Leake in 2011

Entering spring training, Leake was considered the sixth man in the rotation, and faced starting the season in the minor leagues. However, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey both went on the DL, and Leake made the rotation out of spring. He won his first two decisions, posting a 5.40 ERA. Leake was optioned to triple-A for the first time in his career on May 14 to make room for reliever José Arredondo to come off the DL. Arredondo's rehab assignment had reached the maximum 30 days, he had pitched well, and was out of options.[17] Leake was called back up on May 28 and started against the Braves, earning the win and pitching six innings of one-run ball.[18]


On May 21, 2012, Leake hit the first home run of his career, off Mike Minor of the Atlanta Braves in the fourth inning of a game at Great American Ball Park. On June 29, 2012 Leake threw his first complete game against the San Francisco Giants in a 5-1 victory. Leake made his first postseason appearance in the 4th game of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants. Leake surrendered a leadoff home run to the first batter of the game, Ángel Pagán. The Giants would go on to win by a final of 8-3.


Leake started 31 games, going 14–7 with a 3.37 ERA and 122 strikeouts over ​192 13 innings.


Leake started 33 games, going 11–13 with a 3.70 ERA and 164 strikeouts over ​214 13 innings.


Leake began the season as the Reds #2 starter. In 21 starts for the Reds, Leake went 9-5 with a 3.56 ERA.

San Francisco Giants[edit]

Rest of 2015[edit]

On July 30, 2015, Leake was traded to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for pitching prospect Keury Mella and minor league third baseman Adam Duvall.[19] Leake was scratched from his second scheduled start with the Giants due to a strained hamstring.[20] On August 22 he was activated from the 15-day disabled list.

On September 13, in a 10-3 win over the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park, he pitched six-plus strong innings and hit his second home run of the season, picking up his first win in a Giants uniform.[21]

St. Louis Cardinals[edit]

On December 22, 2015, Leake signed a five-year, $80 million contract ($16M/yr) with the St. Louis Cardinals.[22] He was given jersey number 8, the same number he wore while playing for Arizona State.[23]


He made his Cardinals debut on April 6 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing four runs and seven hits in ​4 13 IP, resulting in being charged with the loss as Pittsburgh won, 5–1.[24] He earned his first win a Cardinals uniform on May 10 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in an 8–1 advantage.[25] In consecutive starts against the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres on July 10 and 18, he struck out at least ten batters in consecutive games for the first time in his career, after previously having two total ten-strikeout games in 189 starts. Covering his previous ​48 23 innings, he had struck out 45 batters while walking three.[26]

Overall, Leake struggled in his first season as a Cardinal, posting an ERA of 4.69, his highest ERA of his career. He finished 9-12 in 30 starts. He had the lowest left on base percentage of all major league pitchers, stranding only 65.6% of base runners.[27]


Leake in 2017

At the start of the season, Leake was 5-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 9 starts. From May 29 to August 26, Leake went 2-10. For the season with St. Louis, Leake finished 7-12 with a 4.21 ERA in 26 starts.

Seattle Mariners[edit]


On August 30, 2017, the Cardinals traded Leake and international signing bonus space to the Seattle Mariners for Rayder Ascanio.[28] He made his Mariners debut on September 1 against the Oakland Athletics, allowing only two earned runs on eight hits and a walk over seven innings to pick up his first win as a Mariner.[29] In five starts with the Mariners, he finished strong with a 3-1 record with 2.53 ERA, 27 strikeouts, and 2 walks in 32 innings pitched.[30]


Leake started 31 games for the Mariners, finishing with a record of 10-10 with a 4.36 ERA in ​185 23 innings. On May 4 against the Los Angeles Angels, Leake allowed Albert Pujols' 3,000th career hit. He had the fewest strikeouts per 9 innings in the major leagues (5.77), and he also led major league pitchers in highest contact percentage (84.8%) of batters against him.[31][32] In addition, he led major league pitchers in percent of balls pulled against him (47.8%).[33] Twelve batters reached base against him on an error, tops in the major leagues.[34]


On July 19, against the Angels, Leake took a perfect game through eight innings until allowing a hit by Luis Rengifo. The Mariners won 10-0.[35]

Personal life[edit]

Leake and his wife, Catherine, have two children, Jackson and Scotlyn.[36][37]

On April 18, 2011, Leake was arrested by the Cincinnati Police for shoplifting six American Rag T-shirts worth $59.88 from the Macy's store in downtown Cincinnati, after he removed their price tags and tried to leave without paying for them.[38] He had purchased an equal value of shirts earlier from Macy's, claimed he was trying to make an even exchange without talking to employees or going to customer service.[39] Leake was charged with theft, a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio that carried a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail if convicted. Leake had no known prior convictions.[40] He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of unauthorized use of property and entered a court-sponsored diversion program and was required to complete 30 hours of community service and counseling, upon which his case was dismissed. Leake apologized and called his mistake "a boneheaded move".[41]


Leake throws a sinkerball that averages around 90 miles per hour (140 km/h), a curveball, a changeup with an average speed of 81 miles per hour (130 km/h), a cutter, and a slider at around 85 miles per hour (137 km/h).[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MLB.com's Mike Leake Page". MLB.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Mike Leake Isn't Pitching Like a Reds Rookie Archived September 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d e "Leake's ASU Bio". Thesundevils.cstv.com. November 12, 1987. Archived from the original on April 20, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  4. ^ "Mike Leake Player Page | MiLB.com Stats". Web.minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  5. ^ The Baseball Cube transactions page
  6. ^ "MLB.com's Mike Leake Page". MLB.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  7. ^ Mark Sheldon (March 25, 2010). "Reds anoint Leake as fifth starter". MLB.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  8. ^ Final/13Tue, Sep 27 (November 4, 2010). "Leake's ESPN Player Page". ESPN. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Reds' Pitcher Leake to Skip Minors, Debut Sunday". Content.usatoday.com. April 10, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  10. ^ Hertz, Marc (June 2, 2010). "Mike Leake Doesn't Need the Minors, Thank You Very Much". Tonic.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  11. ^ "Reds' Mike Leake has a solid major league debut". Content.usatoday.com. April 11, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  12. ^ "Leake's CBS Player Page". Cbssports.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  13. ^ a b Pat Zachry Knows What Mike Leake is Going Through Archived September 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Nightengale, Bob (June 2, 2010). "Rookie Mike Leake bypasses minors, pitching like Reds' ace". Usatoday.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  15. ^ Jesse Sanchez. "Two of NL's Young Surprises to Battle in DC". MLB.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  16. ^ "Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals – Box Score – June 05, 2010". ESPN. June 5, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  17. ^ "Leake optioned as Arredondo joins Reds | reds.com: News". MLB.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  18. ^ Cox, Chris (May 28, 2011). "MLB.com Gameday | reds.com: Gameday". MLB.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  19. ^ Haft, Chris (July 30, 2015). "Giants acquire righty Leake from Reds". MLB.com. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  20. ^ "Mike Leake to miss Friday start, replaced by Ryan Vogelsong". ESPN. Associated Press. August 6, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  21. ^ Corey Brock; Oliver Macklin (September 13, 2015). "Mike Leake homers as Giants sweep Padres". MLB.com. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  22. ^ Langosch, Jenifer (December 22, 2015). "Cardinals sign pitcher Leake to 5-year deal: Righty has made at least 30 starts in four consecutive seasons". MLB.com. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  23. ^ "Mike Leake agrees with Cards, looks forward to rivalry with Cubs". ESPN.com. December 22, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  24. ^ "Leake loses Cardinals' debut as Pirates complete sweep". USA Today. Associated Press. April 7, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  25. ^ Saxon, Mark (May 11, 2016). "Mike Leake and the Cardinals' infield finally strike the right chords". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  26. ^ Saxon, Mark (July 18, 2016). "Mike Leake, Cardinals' rotation finding another gear". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  27. ^ Major League Leaderboards » 2016 » Pitchers » Dashboard | FanGraphs Baseball
  28. ^ Seattle Mariners acquire Mike Leake from St. Louis Cardinals
  29. ^ Divish, Ryan (September 1, 2017). "Mike Leake pitches seven innings in Mariners debut, 3-2 win over Oakland". Seattle Times. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  30. ^ Mike Leake Stats | Baseball-Reference.com
  31. ^ Major League Leaderboards » 2018 » Pitchers » Plate Discipline Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball
  32. ^ Major League Leaderboards » 2018 » Pitchers » Dashboard | FanGraphs Baseball
  33. ^ Major League Leaderboards » 2018 » Pitchers » Batted Ball Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball
  34. ^ 2018 Major League Baseball Baserunning/Situ | Baseball-Reference.com
  35. ^ https://www.mlb.com/news/mike-leake-near-perfect-game
  36. ^ "Fun-loving Leake looks for a good fit with Cardinals". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. March 13, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  37. ^ "Leake's paralyzed father weighed heavily in righty's offseason choice". Fox Sports. February 18, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  38. ^ Cincinnati Reds' Mike Leake arrested, accused of stealing six shirts worth $59.88
  39. ^ Brown, David. "Report: Mike Leake paid for shirts, was trying to make exchange – Big League Stew – MLB Blog – Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  40. ^ "Reds pitcher Mike Leake arrested for stealing from Macy's department store | reds.com: News". MLB.com. April 18, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  41. ^ "Reds pitcher Mike Leake pleads guilty to reduced charge | reds.com: News". MLB.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  42. ^ "Mike Leake Player Page | FanGraphs Baseball". Fangraphs. Retrieved September 28, 2011.

External links[edit]