Jack Leiter was supposed to be the next homegrown ace for the Texas Rangers. It may be time to re-evaluate that thought.
A consensus top 100 prospect entering 2022, Leiter was as can’t miss as a pitching prospect could be. His tremendous fastball and excellent slider gave him a strong 1-2 punch while his curve was expected to be an average offering at best. He has major league bloodlines in his father, uncle, and cousin. The Rangers aggressively had Leiter in Double-A to begin his professional career, a sign that they expected him to quickly ascend through the minors. Although he struggled last year, he was expected to show that he was still a key part of the Rangers’ future.
Jack Leiter just not progressing for Texas Rangers
Instead, Leiter has continued to regress. He has lost the command of his fastball, leading to it being hit hard. While his slider has improved, Leiter has not been able to throw his curve for strikes. His ability to throw strikes has regressed. The Rangers put him on the developmental list in the middle of June in an effort to clear his head and get back on track due to his struggles. That failed to work as Leiter has allowed 13 earned runs with five walks and just five strikeouts in five innings, covering two starts, since being reactivated.
Those disastrous outings made his already disappointing numbers even worse. Leiter has a 5.51 ERA and a 1.515 WHiP over his 65.1 innings this season. While his strikeout rate has increased, so too has his walk rate. In just a year and a half, that can’t miss prospect is starting to look like he is not what the Rangers had hoped for.
There is still plenty of time for that to change. Leiter is just 23 years old and is still young for his level. It is possible that he can make adjustments and become a key piece in a future rotation. The problem is that the future is now in question. Leiter is no longer considered a lock to be an ace although his stuff should be good enough. If he can command it.
The Texas Rangers expected Jack Leiter to be a future ace. Instead, it may be time to wonder if he will fulfill his potential.