Happy MLB First-Year Player Draft Day! I figured draft day would be a great opportunity to talk about Mike Leake for a minute. If you’re asking yourself “who the hell is Mike Leake?” than shame on you. He’s no Stephen Strasburg, but at this point he may be better or at least has accomplished a lot more in the majors.

Overshadowed by the Strasburg sweepstakes in last year’s draft, Leake was the eighth overall pick by the Reds for a $2.9 million signing bonus. Following a strong spring training, Leake became the first pitcher to skip the minors altogether since Ariel Prieto in 1995. The former Arizona State Sun Devil is only the 13th pitcher and 21st player ever to be drafted and start his pro career in the majors (a full list of these players can be found here). The last position player to do it was Xavier Nady in 2000. While there was so much attention paid to the signing of Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman, Leake quietly coasted under the radar. What has Leake done since being told he would have not have to ride buses in the minors? Well he’s only been the Reds best pitcher to date and has yet to lose a game in his career.

Leake enters Monday’s action with a 5-0 record and 2.22 ERA (73.0IP/18ER) including 6.2 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 through 11 starts. And there’s also not much indication that he’s been getting lucky as his .281 BAPIP shows he’s just slightly under the average mark. You should easily have a couple more wins to his total, but the bullpen blew two games after he exited with the lead and twice the Reds have given him zero run support. The right-hander has been so effective that’s he’s third overall in the NL with a 2.7 WAR, which is Wins Above Replacements, a single number that represents how the number of wins the player adds to his team above what a replacement player would like a Triple-A pitcher.

Plus he pitches in one of the top five hitting parks in the country at Great American Ballpark where more home runs have been hit in the last five seasons combined that anywhere else. Leake has given up just four home runs, all at home in 46.0 innings pitched there. The rest of the Reds rotation’s ERAs are: 4.65, 5.43, 4.09 and 5.51. And Leake sits at 2.22 with the second most innings in that rotation. To put it simple, there’s no denying Leake’s success through June 7 this season.

He’s probably the only thing standing in Jason Heyward’s way for NL rookie of the year. Leake should get a ton of credit, but I’m surprised that he’s not been talked about and focused on as much as he should be. Think if Strasburg was putting up those kind of numbers after he gets called up tomorrow. That’s all you would hear about. Leake should get the same kind of attention with the legit season he’s having.

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