4 Bold Texas Rangers predictions for 2024

2024 is nearly here and it is time to make prognostications for a season that is still months away.
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Bold Prediction #2- Jack Leiter becomes 2024's Cody Bradford

Cody Bradford had a dominant first month for Round Rock in 2023 and turned that into a spot start in May against the Atlanta Braves. That turned into a variety of bullpen roles for Bradford. The highlight of the season for Bradford was his 3 2/3 scoreless innings against the Orioles in game 2 of the ALDS. In 2024 I think Jack Leiter will become the young pitcher who plays a significant role on the pitching staff.

Jack Leiter has been through some stuff in his two-and-a-half years with the Texas Rangers. He did not pitch after being drafted electing to go back to Vanderbilt for fall classes and to train with the coaching staff there. He then made his professional debut with Double-A Frisco in 2022 and mostly struggled in his first season there. He was returned to Frisco in 2023 and was inconsistent throughout the first half. After a horrible outing in July where Leiter could not get out of the first inning Texas shut him down. Leiter was placed on the development list and Texas went to work rebuilding his mechanics.

Leiter finally returned on August 27th back in a Frisco uniform. He pitched three innings, struck out four, walked none, and gave up just a solo home run in his return. The mechanical work was to help him be able to walk fewer batters and pitch in the zone more. Leiter proceeded to make four more starts, three for Frisco and one for Round Rock. In 16 2/3 innings pitched he walked six batters and struck out 25. It was an improvement on what Texas saw before being shut down.

The calendar now turns to 2024 and Leiter will likely begin this season with Round Rock. Similar to Bradford in 2023 if Leiter pitches well out of the gate he could earn an opportunity early in the season. The major league stuff is there for the right-hander. He has high 90's fastball to pair with a good changeup, curveball, and slider. Leiter needs to show that he can command the fastball to both sides of the plate and work on the quality of his secondary pitches. If he can show improvement on that a ticket to the show will be in the works. This video came out on Saturday of him on the mound,

If Leiter is in the pen he likely just needs two to three pitches to work and with his fastball velocity he could work in the middle innings or be a late innings option as well for Bruce Bochy. I think if Leiter pitches well over the first six weeks that could lead to a callup. He could be promoted for a spot start in place of someone getting extended rest. If he pitches well that will lead to more opportunities later in the season, and a return on the number two pick Texas invested in drafting Jack Leiter back in 2021.