Who is Jack Leiter?

April 16th, 2024

He was the talk of the collegiate baseball world -- and, really, the baseball world at large, in 2021. Jack Leiter, taken second overall in the 2021 MLB Draft by the Rangers, was mesmerizing every time he took the mound for Vanderbilt. Now, after a solid start at Triple-A in 2024, the Rangers believe he's ready to contribute at the MLB level. But who is Jack Leiter? Here's a guide to the player who is the Rangers' No. 8 prospect:

Primary position: RHP
Height/weight: 6-foot-1, 205 lbs.
Bats/throws: Right/right
Birthdate: April 21, 2000 (Age 24 in 2024)
College: Vanderbilt
High school: Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.)
Born: Plantation, Fla.
Drafted: 2021, 2nd overall (by TEX)

He struck out the most batters in a single College World Series outing in 25 years

Leiter racked up 15 strikeouts over eight innings in Vanderbilt's 1-0 loss to N.C. State on June 21, 2021. It tied Mississippi State's Will Bednar, who fanned 15 on the previous Sunday, for the most strikeouts in a College World Series outing in a quarter century.

Delivery tweaks pay dividends

Leiter struggled early in his pro career, pitching to a combined 5-16 record with an ERA of more than 5.00 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2022 and 2023. But late-season tweaks to his mechanics showed positive results that he carried into the 2024 season. At the time of his big-league call-up on April 16, Leiter had a 3.77 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP for Triple-A Round Rock, along with 25 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings.

He made strong impression during '24 Spring Training

Leiter showed promise in the Cactus League in 2024. In six appearances, including a start, he struck out eight batters and pitched to a 4.26 ERA in 12 2/3 innings.

"He's looked way more comfortable to me,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I love his pace, the tempo that he has out there. And he’s throwing strikes. You can see he's different. He's a different pitcher this spring."

He tossed 20 consecutive no-hit innings in college

Leiter had his freshman season cut short when the college season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it didn't take long for him to make history in 2021, with two overpowering starts in which he didn't yield a single hit. He no-hit South Carolina on March 20, striking out 16. It was the first regular-season, complete-game no-hitter for Vanderbilt since 1971. He followed that up with seven no-hit frames against Missouri. Overall, he put together a 20-inning hitless streak and a 25-inning scoreless streak.

He is the son of former MLB pitcher Al Leiter

Leiter's family is well-known in baseball -- his father, Al, was a two-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion over 19 MLB seasons from 1987-2005, and his uncle, Mark, pitched 11 MLB seasons. Speaking of no-hitters, Al Leiter threw one for the Marlins against the Rockies on May 11, 1996.