It’s now official! Jack Leiter, the number two overall pick in the 2021 Draft, has signed with the Texas Rangers. The right-hander inked a $7.9 million bonus, which is above the $7.78 signing slot. He is the son of former major league pitcher, Al Leiter.
Leiter signed one of the biggest contracts for a pitcher in the past 10 years. Gerrit Cole was the last largest signing bonus signed by a pitcher. Cole was able to net $8 million in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was the last largest signing before changes were altered to the signing process.
But, just how quickly can Leiter get through the Rangers farm system? The former Vanderbilt standout alongside Kumar Rocker pitched to an 11-4 record with the Commodores. In 18 starts, he held a 2.13 ERA and struck out 179 batters within 110 innings on the hill. His best game came against South Carolina, where he pitched a complete game, striking out 16.
It is clearly no joke about how great an addition Leiter is for the Rangers. The last Texas Ranger to be selected at the top five was Dillon Tate. Tate was the fourth overall selection in the 2015 draft. Unfortunately for Tate, he never made an appearance in a Rangers uniform. He currently pitches in the Baltimore Orioles bullpen.
Fans and scouts around MLB thought Leiter would’ve been picked by the Pittsburgh Pirates first overall. Although they went with Henry Davis, it was definitely not an easy decision to pass on the Vanderbilt righty. The Rangers were quite fortunate to land the right-hander. He was the first pitcher selected in the 2021 draft.
It is still unclear whether Leiter will be shut down for the remainder of the season, or if he will get an opportunity to pitch in the minors this season. It is clear that Leiter will have tremendous success once he steps on the mound once again, but just when will fans be able to see him in action?
Texas Rangers have been successful in their last few drafts. Just last season, they picked infielder Justin Foscue, who has been swinging a hot bat in High-A Hickory. Currently, Foscue is hitting .324 with 10 home runs within 20 games of play. The 2020 first-round pick missed some time at the start of the year nursing an injury.
Also, Texas has their top three prospects all in AA. According to MLB Pipeline, number one overall prospect Josh Jung returned from injury and picked up right where he left off. Through 32 games with AA Frisco, Jung is batting .310 with 8 home runs and 32 RBI’s. But, also making big strides in the AA level is pitcher Cole Winn. After struggles in his first professional season, Winn has got his ERA down at 2.91 in 13 starts, striking out 67. Sam Huff, briefly appeared last season with the Texas Rangers is also back with AA Frisco. He will work to hopefully be the starting catcher of the future.
Hopefully, Leiter could see a few innings next month at the minor league level. Leiter could be shut down for the remainder of the season. After pitching a full year at college, including a run at the playoffs he threw over 110 innings. The son of Al Leiter could impress this upcoming 2022 Spring Training, with a shot at cracking the Major League Club out of Spring. How long will we end up waiting to see Jack Leiter pitching at the major league level?