NL Central Young Pitcher Debate: Rudy Owens v Mike Leake

I was just kind of thinking about this last night at work so I decided to make a post of it. Disclaimer: I am by no accounts an expert but just kind of wanted to put this up just for something for us to do in the boring off season. So...

Mike Leake

Drafted 8th overall in the 2009 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He bats and throws right, is 6'1'', 190 lbs. and last year was Leake's age 22 season (born 11-12-87).

Here is a scouting report on Leake written on April 5th of last year on fangraphs:

"Leake was a favorite amongst MLB teams as an advanced college pitcher that should make the Majors quickly. The right-hander did not have the best stuff in the draft but he still produced solid numbers: 1.71 ERA, 6.0 H/9, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.3 K/9. He also allowed just four home runs in 142.0 innings of work.

The Pre-Game Scouting Report: Leake’s fastball is said to be in the 88-94 mph range and it sits 89-91 mph. It is also said to have natural cutting action and good movement. When he’s on, he should produce a good number of ground-ball outs. As for his secondary stuff, he is said to have a 79-82 mph slider, a solid change-up and a show-me curveball. His control is good, his command is plus. Just 6’0”, he’s athletic, durable, and has good mound presence."

Leake's 2010 line spending the entire year with the Reds:

8-4   22GS  138.1IP  158H  5.9SO/9  3.2BB/9  1.86K/BB  1.2HR/9  4.23ERA  1.496WHIP  94ERA+  4.68FIP  4.31xFIP

His month of May was actually far superior to any of his other months of 2010 and made this line what it is.


Rudy Owens

Drafted in the 28th round of 2006 (830 overall). He bats and throws left, is 6'3'' and 215lbs. and last year was Owens' age 22 season (born 12-18-87).

Here a scouting report from Owens' page:

"Owens is 6′ 3″, 215 pounds, but throws his fastball in the 88-91 MPH range. He doesn’t project to have an increase in velocity in the future, although his fastball control is enough to make him such a valued prospect. Owens can locate his fastball wherever he wants, and complements that with his curveball and changeup.

The curveball is something Owens has worked on in the last year. Owens wasn’t effective in 2008 with his slider, and the Pirates had him switch to a curveball in 2009, which acts like a slurve. Owens feels good about the pitch, using it as a strikeout pitch to complement his excellent fastball control. Owens had a .214 BAA versus right handers in 2009, which shows that his changeup was also very effective.

Owens has the potential to be a very special pitcher. He has exceptional control over his fastball, and he has two great pitches to complement the fastball. He works fast, and throws strikes consistently. He will be adding a two seam fastball to the mix next season, which should give him another solid weapon for his arsenal. A left handed starter with exceptional control, and three strong pitches is rare to have, and it would only be better if he learns success with the two seam fastball."

Owens' 2010 line after spending the entire year with AA Altoona:

12-6  26GS  150IP  124H  7.92K/9  1.38BB/9  5.74K/BB  0.66HR/9  2.46ERA  0.98WHIP  2.95FIP


So the question(s) I ask of you is this: Who is better going forward? Is it Owens' for being left handed, still having the benefit of being brought along slowly in the minors, plus adding a 2 seamer this year? Or is Leake the better pitcher for making the jump straight to MLB at the same age and putting up a respectable line? Will Leake get better or suffer from being rushed to MLB?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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