Player: Jack Leiter Scout Date: 3/20/2021 vs. South Carolina
Organization: Vanderbilt Position(s): RHP
Height: 6’ Weight: 195 lbs. Bats: Right Throws: Right
Fastball: Absolutely dominant pitch on day. 90-97, sat 95. Final pitch (number 124) was 96. True 4-seamer, occasional arm side run but typically pretty straight. Rising look when working up in zone. Gets solid downhill plane despite shorter stature.
Change: 83-85. Far and away his fourth best offering on most days, was only off-speed working early in outing. Flashed plenty of arm side run. Inconsistent and rarely used currently but flashed easy above average upside.
Slider: 79-82 big 2-8 breaker that shows plus at times. Had no command of it on day, regularly missing glove side or bouncing. Mixing in cutter that runs. Seen this be his best pitch on days, this day it was just not working for him.
Curve: 76-77, 12-6 break, many scouts like this as best offering. No feel for it in first 7 innings on day. Best came in 8th and was unquestioned plus in one good offering. Consistency needs to be better. More loop than big faller. Plays close enough to slider batter doesn’t know where it will end.
Delivery/Mechanics: 3/4 to high-3/4 slot. Big leg kick in stretch and windup. Tons of drop and drive. Lands with very wide base. Fights against front leg some leading to late effort. Base combined with violence at the finish screams future arm issues. Ability to use legs suggest staying as starter highly likely.
Summary: No-hitter on the day with 16 Ks and one BB. Absolutely dominant on day despite none of the secondary offerings working. One pitch pitcher for 7 of the innings and couldn’t be touched. Overall, there is some longevity concerns with the effort late, but has established himself as a real 1-1 candidate. Outing after he went 7 hitless before being removed. Pure stuff he is on-par with Kumar Rocker, prior knock was lack of track record against high level talent, no longer a factor. Ace upside, injury risk, quick mover with aggressive approach on mound.
This is my official mock draft, but this isn’t a list nor is it a prediction, but rather if I were in the given team’s front office, it is who I would pick. The MLB Draft is not one where you draft for need, although I like Andrew Vaughn as the number two player in this draft, he doesn’t go to the Royals as they just selected Nick Pratto, a first baseman, a couple years ago. There is some buzz the Orioles may go for somebody easier to get under slot but, this is the only time and place I will mention this as I hate breaking news, it isn’t my thing and there is too much that goes with it, it is my understanding Adley Rutschman will need shoulder surgery, likely immediately after signing, so he should be an easy sign. For me Rutschman, healthy or not, is in a tier all his own, followed by Bobby Witt Jr., Vaughn, and C.J. Abrams in a second tier. J.J. Bleday starts a third tier for me that ends after Nick Lodolo, my only pitcher in tier three, with Bryson Stott heading a massive fourth tier that extends somewhere into the second round for me as I don’t think there is a ton of difference between Stott at 11 and Brooks Lee at 38 or Nasim Nunez at 49. I think this draft is incredibly top heavy but lacks in its depth of star talent. I do think day two will be very interesting as there will likely be a lot more high school talent available than in typical years as the college class near the top is stronger than the HS class.
Fastball: 88-95, sit 89-92. Heavy downhill plane. Flashes good, late arm side run but inconsistent. Flattens out up in the zone. Can overthrow and spike fastball at times. Spots well when staying within himself. 50 future, 45 current.
Change: Saw one, 84 mild dip, mild arm slow but maintained good slot.
Slider: 83-84, More cutting action than sharp break. Flashes two plane at best. Dip comes late allowing pitch to play up. 55 future potential, 45 current.
Curve: 73-76, Not fair vs. HS hitters. 12-6 break. Mild bump making it hard to read. Absolutely falls off table. Can drop into top of zone for strike or bounce it for a chase pitch. Not afraid to double/triple up. 55 current, real chance at 65 future offering.
Other Pitch: N/A
Delivery/Mechanics: 3/4 slot with some arm bend and whip. Late effort with stiff front leg forces body to fight against leg. Repeats delivery well and consistent arm slot. Not afraid to attack hitters but can rush and overthrow at times. Mature body that uses legs well. Drop and drive making most of powerful core and legs. 1.45 delivery on CB, 1.15 on FB.
Summary: The mature body and the fact he already uses his legs well limits upside some, although the body fighting against his land leg helps bring some back. I don’t expect the fastball to improve much but may become more of a regular to hit 95 than occasionally touching it. Curveball as good as it gets at high school level and can play in big leagues today. Need to see more from the change to have good feel for it, slider has real potential. Leiter carries an upside of a potential number three arm, but the current delivery could lead to health/innings concerns. Higher floor than most out of the Northeast thanks to bloodlines and advanced approach along with genuine carry pitch. Small chance of a future move to the infield, but most likely outcome a number four starter with upside of number three arm.