Reds rookie starting pitcher Mike Leake is 4-0 with a 2.91 ERA through his first eight Major League starts. And as we pointed out in a post from the other day, he’s also had four quality starts this season in which he has not earned a win. And three starts in which he’s allowed just one earned run and come away with a no-decision. (So it’s not even that he’s been fortunate or gotten much support.) So why is it that Leake isn’t garnering more consideration in early National League Rookie of the Year discussion?
SI.com’s Jon Heyman ranks Leake as the second best rookie in baseball so far this season. But he (and he’s not the only one – far from it) also makes it seem like Leake is a DISTANT second to Jason Heyward, who – there’s no denying – is having a very impressive year. And Leake is referred to in the article about 10 less times than Stephen Strasburg, who has a 0.00 ERA through 0 starts so far.
At OMGReds, we are all for containing the oil leak that followed the rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. But we also feel strongly that the Reds’ Leake should be getting more headlines (not more headlines than the oil leak but) than he’s getting, and that it’s important to point out that several National League opponents have yet to figure out how to stop our Leake … from getting quality starts, which he’s had in seven of his eight outings.
Heyward may post big numbers, but don’t hand him the award just yet. Remember 1999? Preston Wilson hit .280 with 26 homers and 71 RBIs in 482 at-bats. But it was Scott Williamson who won NL Rookie of the Year honors with his 12-7 record, 19 saves, 2.41 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and filthy 107 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings.
All we’re saying is don’t forget about Leake if Heyward slumps and his strikeout total approaches 200. And let’s hope Leake continues to impress and far surpasses the 9 vote points Edinson Volquez received in 2008, when he wasn’t actually a rookie.