Jack Leiter is the complete package, and MLB scouts are paying attention to him. The son of former World Series champion and MLB pitcher Al Leiter, Jack did receive first-round interest from teams as a high schooler in 2019. Instead, he attended Vanderbilt, causing him to fall to the New York Yankees in the 20th round. Leiter has since become one of the most exciting pitching prospects this year. Last spring, he made an incredible college debut, tallying a 1.92 ERA with 22 strikeouts and eight walks. He’s been even better this year, throwing 127 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings with a 2.12 ERA.
He exceeded expectations by throwing a no-hitter against the University of South Carolina and holding the University of Missouri hitless for seven innings. Like fellow Commodore teammate Kumar Rocker, both pitchers have become baseball’s presumed one-two picks in this year’s MLB Draft. However, Leiter has a different profile to Rocker but very talented, and he is currently the third-best prospect, according to MLB.com.
Jack Leiter Draft Profile
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70, Slider: 55, Curveball: 60, Changeup: 55, Control: 50, Overall: 60
Leiter can work at 90-95 mph on most of his pitches. His four-seam fastball averages 93-94 mph this season, and he can top it out at 98. His spin rates are anywhere from 2200 and 2400 rpm, and he gets a ton of swings and misses from batters. When it comes to Leiter’s curveball, it’s something that can reach in the high 70’s, a pitch that can drop in for a strike, no matter the count. His other pitch is a low-80s slider that some scouts believe has more upside than his curve. Leiter is a good athlete and hard worker who should make the necessary progress to reach the majors.
Jack Leiter, Beautiful Curveball. 🌈 pic.twitter.com/IAAA5EaEZ7
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 28, 2021
There aren’t many weaknesses to Leiter’s game, but he is a bit undersized. Listed at 6’0″, 195 pounds. The other issue is which Leiter had a few starts where he was more hittable and prone to the long ball. He allowed 12 runs in a 15 1/3 inning span before being scratched from his next start on May 8, with the idea that Vanderbilt was monitoring his workload. It was concerning since Leiter has never pitched a full college season, and it set off alarms for some scouts. They were quick to be wrong after Leiter returned for a 13 strikeout, two-hit performance against Ole Miss last weekend.
Leiter has a small frame for a starting pitcher. His size can be similar to Marcus Stroman, though he has added some strength to his physique. As an overall pitcher, he draws comparisons to Vanderbilt alumn and current Cincinnati Red Sonny Gray. Gray was a dominant force on the mound during his years at Vanderbilt. Both pitchers share similar physical attributes, but Leiter has the upper hand over Gray. The velocity on his fastball is slightly above Gray’s. They also have identical mechanics, but Leiter has four potential 55 grade-plus pitches, something Gray never had. Either way, Leiter will be a promising pitcher for whichever team takes in early in the draft.
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