Vanderbilt starting pitcher Jack Leiter continues to baffle all hitters in the Southeastern Conference. Leiter, the son of former Major League pitcher Al Leiter, threw a no-hitter against South Carolina a few days back. The 20-year old followed up the no-no with 7 more no-hit innings against Missouri on March 26th.
Almost 17 innings have passed since Leiter has last given up a hit. Fans can easily see why many high level baseball scouts are projecting the draft eligible sophomore to be taken first in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft. Here are three reasons why Leiter will be drafted #1 overall.
- Leiter Comes from Pitching Bloodlines
Not only did Jack Leiter’s dad Al pitch in the big leagues for 19 seasons, his uncle Mark Leiter and his cousin Mark Leiter, Jr. also pitched in pro ball. Simply put, Jack Leiter has the genetics to pitch at a high level. When an MLB team is about to invest millions of dollars with a first round draft pick, they tend to look at a player’s makeup and intangibles a little bit closer.
Leiter passes the intangibles test with flying colors. In fact, Vandy head coach Tim Corbin raves about Leiter’s work ethic and mental toughness (vucommodores.com). Those two strong attributes will be key reasons why Leiter will go #1 in July’s draft.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates Desperately Need Pitching
The Pirates have the #1 overall pick in the MLB draft and to say they desperately need pitchers would be a gross understatement. In fact, the Pirates pitchers had a pitiful 5.18 earned run average in 2019 which was next to last in the National League (baseball-reference.com). Drafting a powerful young pitcher like Leiter would give the struggling Pirates fanbase a reason to hope again.
The Pirates will have to decide between Leiter and his fellow Vandy teammate Kumar Rocker with their first round draft choice. There is no doubt that Rocker is an amazing talent and is a lot bigger physically than Leiter. However, Leiter possesses five pitches that are basically unhittable and this makes him a much safer pick in the first slot for the Pirates.
- Leiter’s Stats Do Not Lie
At 6-1 and 205 pounds Leiter does not come across as intimidating when looking at his frame. However, Leiter’s stuff is electric as the baseball seems to explode out of his right hand on each pitch. In fact, Leiter has a fastball that hits 96mph and a devastating curveball that makes all hitters’ knees buckle. The righty also has an above average slider and changeup that can keep hitters guessing at all times.
Before the 2020 college baseball season was cancelled because of COVID-19, Leiter was 2-0 with a 1.72 ERA. Leiter has parlayed that success into a stellar start to the 2021 season with a 6-0 record and a microscopic 0.25 ERA. The former high school Gatorade Player of the Year has also struck out 59 batters in only 36 innings of work thus far (CBC Sports).