Leake Must Be on the Reds' Post-Season Roster: A Fan Perspective

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The Reds should have an easy task setting their post-season roster, as long as team management puts aside personal preferences. Some of the players who should be left off are veterans who are well-liked by most baseball people.

Reds' beat writer John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculated as to the players who are guaranteed roster spots, which leaves a half a dozen guys to fill the remaining two vacancies.

"There are ten locks for pitchers," Fay wrote in the September 18 edition. "The starters will be Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos, and Homer Bailey. Six relief spots will go to Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall, Jose Arredondo, Sam LeCure and J.J. Hoover."

Those arms make up ten of the eleven pitchers the Reds are expected to keep, an issue the club may want to reconsider before finalizing its roster. The club must keep two more pitchers, and take thirteen position players instead fourteen.

Since the staff has just two lefties, Sean Marshall and closer Aroldis Chapman, the Reds must keep rookie Tony Cingrani. He is the only lefty option who could go multiple innings, and he would prevent Dusty Baker from having to use Marshall too early in the game.

Cingrani's overall earned run average is 2.08, though he has pitched in just two games. The stat that stands out, though, is that no left-handed batter has gotten a hit off of Cingrani.

A twelfth pitcher the Reds must keep on the playoff roster is Mike Leake. He has versatility and is a better hitter than either of the two position players who should be left off the roster.

Leake is hitting .286 with two home runs. Miguel Cairo's average is just .176, and third catcher Devin Mesoraco is hitting just .212. Leake has also hit very well against the clubs Cincinnati is likely to face in the playoffs. He has gone 4-9 (.444) against Atlanta, 4-12 against Washington (.333), and 3-9 against St. Louis (.333). Leake has also frequently served as a pinch-runner, another aspect at which he is superior to Cairo and Mesoraco.

Another advantage to keeping Leake is the fact that he is a decent pitcher. Even though he is just 4-5 at home this season, his record is still much better than the 4-7 mark of Homer Bailey. Having been slated as the fourth starter, Bailey would have to pitch in Great American Ball Park. The Reds could very well be better served by having Leake take Bailey's spot, at least for the home games.

Doug Poe once delivered newspapers to Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez, three customers who have made him a lifelong fan of the Reds.

Sources:

Baseball-reference.com

Cincinnati Enquirer, 9/18/12

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