What Texas actually did with Leiter after the 2021 MLB Draft?
Leiter did everything a normal draft pick does. He signed his contract, had an introductory press conference at Globe Life Field, and threw out the first pitch at a home game. He was then sent to Arizona. That is where the normal draft pick comparisons stop.
He did not pitch in an actual game until the 2022 shortened spring training that occurred after the lockout. He did pitch with the major league team. He was then packed up and sent directly to Frisco. It was a very aggressive assignment for any draft pick, much less someone that was carrying the hopes of a franchise that has struggled to develop pitching.
The Texas Rangers incorrectly thought that with Leiter's pedigree and having pitched in the SEC that he would be able to handle an assignment directly to Double-A Frisco. I am sure the thought process by Chris Young and the player development staff was that he would spend 2022 developing at Frisco and maybe get sent to Round Rock by September. Then he would be an option to be in the rotation at some point in 2023.
That has not happened for Leiter to this point. SEC baseball fans like to say and believe that baseball in their conference in comparable to the kind of talent that is seen in Double-A. That is far from the truth as Leiter's career can attest to.
The stuff Leiter has is elite and major-league quality. What has held Leiter back from realizing that potential is the other stuff that comes with being a pitcher. He has struggled with command of his pitches including his fastball. The secondary stuff for Leiter does not consistently have that sharp break that is necessary to miss bats. He is still learning how to be more efficient and be able to pitch deeper into games.