As I continue my write-ups of potential 2021 draftees, I continue with another Vanderbilt pitcher. This time, it’s right-hander Jack Leiter. Leiter has gained attention from fans and teams alike due to his advanced command of the zone and the pure stuff that Leiter possesses.
Another reason to love Leiter is his maturity on the mound, he makes it seem like he’s a senior in college when in reality he’s only a sophomore at Vanderbilt. That’s enough talking about Leiter’s presence on the mound, now let’s talk about his college career and overall stuff that he possesses.
Name: Jack Leiter
Weight: 195 lbs
This is one of those players that is getting noticed from a rather small, yet impressive sample size. In four games, Leiter pitched to a 1.72 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and a 36.6 K% in 15.2 innings pitched. He even struck out 12 batters in his debut game with Vanderbilt against South Alabama. Leiter is a prospect that has been drafted and decided to go to college instead, he was taken by the Yankees in the 20th round of the 2019 draft.
Leiter has smooth mechanics that he repeats well and while he’s under framed to be a starter, his athleticism and overall pitchability are what makes him such an attractive piece in the 2021 draft. After a little bit of backstory on the 20-year-old, let’s BRKDWN his stuff.
Leiter’s fastball is one of his better options in his repertoire due to its command of both sides of the plate. His fastball is consistently 91-93 mph and he’s touched 96 with it. His fastball does tend to have some arm-side run to it, making it effective against lefties and righties alike. Many people are worried about his velocity long term. However, the hardest pitch in baseball to hit is a spotted fastball and that’s exactly what you’ll get from Leiter. His best pitch is easily his curveball, which I will discuss next.
When you look up the definition of “nasty” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Jack Leiter’s curveball. It is a legit plus offering based on its slower velocity and late bite. It’s normally 74-78 MPH but it plays well off his fastball. His confidence to throw his curveball remains his best trait, with its 12-6 movement and command it’ll be a devastating pitch for any hitter as he goes through the minors. While his curveball is his best pitch, his slider is another quality offering.
The power-portion of his breaking balls, his slider is thrown 82-83 MPH and is extremely good when he throws it away from a right-handed batter and when he buries it in the dirt against lefties. While the bite/movement is more evident with his slider, it could easily top as his best pitch going forward, but I like the curveball just a bit better. Again, his command is what makes this pitch shine.
Leiters fourth pitch is a changeup and it’s normally thrown 86-89 MPH, and I’ll just say he doesn’t need it. Especially, with how good his other two pitches are. He rarely uses his changeup, but when he does, it creates plenty of fade and may get better with more use. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes a more prominent pitch in his repertoire while in the developmental phase of Leiter’s career.
Yes, I know many, including me, are expecting Kumar Rocker to go number one overall in the 2021 draft. However, Leiter has opened some eyes during his time at Vanderbilt, and don’t be surprised if the Pirates take an extensive look at Leiter first overall. He might not have the velocity or track record of Kumar Rocker, but his command and stuff shouldn’t be overlooked in this draft. I think in the end he’s a top-five pick in this draft and should be a quick ascent through the minors.
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