Jack Leiter’s Rise Is All Dad Can Ask For
Vanderbilt starting pitcher and top prospect Jack Leiter has been nothing short of incredible on the bump this year. The 21-year-old went 10-3 with a 2.16 era this season, with 156 strikeouts in 96 innings. With both him and another top prospect Kumar Rocker headlining Vanderbilt’s rotation, it’s no surprise they find themselves in the college world series yet again.
Jack’s father, Al, had an illustrious 19-year career in the major leagues and had his best years with the Mets. Al is incredibly proud of Jack’s success and cannot wait to see what he does at the next level.
“Oh my God, he’s been the gift that keeps giving,” Al, the former Mets and Yankees left-hander who now works for MLB Network and as an adviser for the Mets, told The Post in a phone interview. “He’s brought us a lot of joy.”
Al never pushed baseball onto Jack either, he fell in love with it on his own. Jack always had a fascination for pitching while he was young but never had the size to be an elite pitcher then.
Jack Leiter Took The Next Step Freshmen Year
It was Jack’s freshman year of high school when he took the next step as a pitcher. Al had provided him a workout plan that he had used in the majors, and Jack clearly used it thoroughly. By the end of his four years at Delbarton School in New Jersey, Jack was a coveted prospect. So coveted, the Yankees tried to take him in the first round in the 2019 MLB Draft.
At Vanderbilt, Jack just kept getting better and better. This season, he threw the school’s first no-hitter since 1971 while striking out sixteen. He and Rocker would be deadly to face in College World Series. Jack demonstrates himself with such poise and focus, Coach Tim Corbin and the rest of the team take exception.
“He gets to the facility and it’s full-on go,” Corbin said. “He’s wired to compete every single day.”
Jack Leiter’s Rise To The Majors
If Jack decides to enter the MLB Draft this year, he will be a top-four pick. Both he, Al, and everyone in the baseball world know that. However, Al and Jack have not even discussed the draft yet. Al’s ideology was to be where your feet were. For Jack, that meant enjoying your time at Vanderbilt with your teammates and not look so far down the road yet.
I think you get in this tunnel of trying to be your best, trying to get better and working hard, being dedicated and having a process, program, and routine, you kind of lose sight of, ‘Hey man, step back, know when to turn the music off, know when to dance, know when to laugh and smile and be with your boys.’ ”, Al added.
Al knows Jack has a long path ahead of him if he wants to be held in the same regard as his father. Al also acknowledged that Jack is a far better pitcher than he was at his age. Velocity, control, off-speed; Al knows the sky is the limit for Jack.
He’s got some work to do to catch up to dear old Dad, but as far as where he is now and where I was at his age, it’s not even close,”
Which Team Lands Leiter?
The question we’re all going to be wondering until the draft on July 11th. Which team is going to be lucky enough to land Leiter? The draft order currently has the Pittsburgh Pirates drafting first, followed by the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, and Baltimore Orioles. Leiter is almost certain to be drafted by one of those teams, but who?
One of the aforementioned teams is not like the other. The Boston Red Sox are a good team. Chaim Bloom has made some great moves for them so far, and they’re playing good baseball so far this season. Along with this, Boston has some great prospects in Triston Casas, Jeter Downs, and Jarren Duran, who has been crushing it in Worcester for the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate recently. The addition of Leiter for any team would be huge, but a team that’s already winning? Lookout.
The Pirates are the Pirates. If they take Leiter, it will only be a few years before they trade him for some prospects no one has heard of. The Rangers are not close to competing at all. With other big names in SP Kumar Rocker and SS Jordan Lawler, Leiter to Boston at four is not all that unlikely.
Jack Leiter, like many of the names in this year’s draft, is a generational talent. He will terrorize the league for years to come if he maintains his health, and it will be incredible to see the pitcher he develops into at the next level.
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