We’ve been raving about Mike Leake’s maturity all season long. Apparently, Leake has been mature beyond his years for a long time:

During a national youth tournament a decade ago in suffocating August heat, hard-throwing 11-year-old Stephen Strasburg melted down. A couple of hits, an error and a wild pitch caused emotions to well up and explode. His catcher, an undersized whippet named Mike Leake, tried unsuccessfully to console the pitcher. Strasburg left the sprawling sports complex in Shawnee, Kan., after being removed from the game, and went home to San Diego by mutual agreement of his parents and coaches….

It is gratifying to former teammates and coaches from their youth travel team that these extraordinary yet dissimilar pitchers emerged from the same wellspring, the San Diego Sting. They recall Strasburg as a pitcher a head taller than everyone else struggling to hold back tears while delivering blistering heat, and Leake as the catcher precociously calling his own game and showing off a rifle arm powered by daily long-toss sessions with his older brother and dad. Everybody called him Mikey and he rarely pitched….

“He always had a natural understanding of the game,” said Bill Lawbaugh, manager of the Sting. “We could put him at shortstop, center field, catcher, pitcher. Whatever you needed Mikey Leake to do, every glove fit that kid.”

He’s not Strasburg, but I’m very happy that Mike Leake is a Cincinnati Red.