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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALZYER: MIKE LEAKE SP ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

With all of the top free agent ace pitchers totally off the board as we get ready to move into the late winter months, attention has now turned to the second-tier starters still available in terms of interest.  One such name who was snatched up on Tuesday was veteran Mike Leake who signed a five-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals as the John Lackey replacement.  As we always do with fresh signings, let's take a look at how Leake's fantasy baseball value changes with his new location.

Now 28 years old and in his prime, Mike Leake has served as a classic SP 4/5 type depending on if you are in an innings capped format.  Now with six season in the rearview mirror, Leake has proven himself to be a solid pitcher who puts up decent ERA's and average K totals.  In four of his six seasons, Leake has registered an ERA under 4.00 which include the last three years where he came in at 3.37, 3.70, and 3.70.  The strengths of Leake lie in his solid control that always straddles around the .20 mark, while also showing a knack for keeping the ball in the park with a mark there under 1.00 in terms of HR/9.  That helps Lake overcome some very mediocre K rates, with his career-high in strikeouts being 164; with that number actually being worth of the outlier bin since he has not topped 122 in any of his other five seasons.  Thus it was imperative for Leake to stay in the National League where his lack of K stuff is not as big a hindrance.  Even better, Leake signed on with the Cardinals which have one of the better pitching parks in baseball.  That should keep Leake in the 3.50 ERA/1.18-WHIP territory with around 135 strikeouts.  That is worth of SP 4 status in non-inning capped leagues, dropping to SP 5 territory in leagues that have a set number of frames. 

Ultimately when it comes to 2016 fantasy baseball, Mike Leake is a steady guy to round out your rotation who will never cost much at the draft table.  Solid and steady almost always wins the race.

2016 PROJECTION:  14-8 3.63 ERA 1.18 WHIP 134 K


 

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