Jack Leiter is one of the most exciting and thrilling pitching prospects that the Rangers have had in years. The Rangers drafted the Vanderbilt pitching prospect back in 2021 with the second overall pick in the MLB Draft. Rangers' fans across the United States celebrated getting one of the best pitchers in college baseball during the 2021 season.
Many Ranger fans expected he wouldn't take long to develop and expected him to make the Opening Day roster in 2024. However, it looks like that might not be happening anytime soon. Jack Leiter was just recently shut down and put on the development list to work on his mechanics. This means he will be heading out to Arizona to work on his pitching.
He was also sent to Arizona earlier this season but that was to make sure he didn't go over his ceiling of the amount of innings he was supposed to throw this year. I can live with him going down to Arizona for that reason. However, being put on that list for pitching mechanics should be super concerning for Ranger fans.
One of the main reasons he was sent packing to Arizona to work on his mechanics was his recent start where he gave up six earned runs in the first inning against the Midland Rockhounds. That was his worst start with the Frisco RoughRiders this season. This was also the first time he was chased out of a game in the first inning of his professional baseball career.
One of the main things that Leiter has been trying to fix is his command. His pitching spray chart is all over the place outside of the strike zone. In his first season as a pitcher in the Rangers organization, he walked 56 batters. It's not much better this year as he's walked 43 batters so far. His WHIP is about the same as last year as well. That's got to change if he wants a shot at moving up to Triple-A or even the Opening Day Roster for the Rangers.
Texas Rangers GM Chris Young has said he's willing to give Leiter an ample amount of time to show why he belongs in the organization before moving on from him. That could mean he has three-to-five more seasons to show why the Rangers should hold on to him.
If he continues to pitch the way that he does, Rangers pitching prospect Brock Porter could pass Leiter as the top pitching prospect in the Rangers organization. I'm sure Leiter would like to remain the top pitching prospect in the organization.
I hope Leiter takes advantage of this demotion to work on his fundamentals seriously. I think he has what it takes to be a starting pitcher in the MLB in the future. However, if he comes back from this demotion and hasn't learned anything, his days in the Rangers organization could be numbered.