The Texas Rangers drafted Jack Leiter number two in 2021 because he was considered a slam dunk future ace that would move quickly through the minor leagues. In reality he has become more of a long-term project. Players that were drafted before him and after him have progressed at a much faster rate and some have even made their major league debuts, all while Leiter is still marooned at Frisco.
The latest with Leiter is that he was shut down after a July 7th start that did not see him make it out of the first inning. He was put on the developmental list after that and has not pitched in a game since that day. He was recently seen at Globe Life Field pitching off the mound in front of many of the Texas Rangers executives to Brad Miller and Austin Hedges. There is not much known about a return to game action this season. I do think we need to discuss where the Rangers went wrong with Jack Leiter. Many fans will say it was sending him to Frisco to start his professional career. I think the series of mistakes started right after he signed.
What Texas should have done with Jack Leiter after the 2021 MLB Draft?
If you are following prospect-related news this summer it is not hard to find stories about number one overall pick Paul Skenes pitching in games the same summer he was drafted. He is not pitching a lot. Just four innings so far. That does include a two inning appearance on Saturday night where he struck out five batters in an A-ball game. That comes after a college baseball season with LSU that ended with a College World Series championship in June.
Jack Leiter back in 2021 was drafted number two coming off a Men's College World Series appearance with Vanderbilt. The Commodores lost in the championship series to Mississippi State in three games. At the time it was completely understandable to shut down Leiter till Spring of 2022. In hindsight it does not appear that was the correct decision.
Leiter should have pitched that summer. He could have started for the rookie ball team in August and then got some time at A-ball Down East or High-A Hickory. He could have thrown 5-10 innings and then called it a summer. It would have given the Rangers a better idea of where to send Leiter to start the 2022 season. If he had pitched in games and maybe struggled there is a good shot he does not start 2022 at Frisco.