It’s really happened y’all, Jack Leiter is officially a member of the Texas Rangers!
The 2021 second overall pick signed his first pro contract on Wednesday, agreeing to an over slot bonus of roughly $7.9 million, which constitutes a record figure since the rules changed on slot bonuses back in 2011. The record for a pitcher in the first round still belongs to Gerrit Cole in that year, who signed for around $8 million with the Pirates.
After a long process that had many Texas Rangers fans concerned that Leiter’s deal would get done, GM Chris Young and company ultimately pulled it out. Not that there should’ve been any concern, of course. It would’ve made little sense for the 21-year-old to return to Vanderbilt for a final season after being offered a lump sum of money right from the jump.
Instead, Leiter will wear No. 22 for the Rangers, which is just perfect considering he wore that number during his dominating years at Vanderbilt.
Jack Leiter is now officially a member of the Texas Rangers organization
The red, white and blue never looked so good! Ditto on No. 22.
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Signing Leiter is truly a momentous achievement for an organization that hasn’t had the chance to draft many premier talents like the former Vanderbilt ace over the years. With pitching development also having been a struggle, Leiter enters the Texas minor league ranks more polished than most, which should mean less pressure to go through a “full” development process.
Don’t mistake this for lesser expectations, however, as the 21-year-old will be expected to live up to his draft hype as one of the aces of a future rotation.
Leiter won’t begin pitching in the minors immediately, as he’ll complete his degree in the fall and rest coming off a large college workload, a prudent decision that should leave him fresh for his first pro campaign in 2022.
It remains to be seen which affiliate he heads to, but it’ll be intriguing regardless.
But at long last, Jack Leiter is now officially a member of the Texas Rangers organization.