The Rangers announced Wednesday that they’ve signed No. 2 overall draft pick Jack Leiter. He’ll join the club on a bonus worth a bit more than $7.9MM, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports (via Twitter). That checks in slightly above the $7.7899MM slot value associated with the selection. It’s also more than $1MM north of the $6.5MM bonus for #1 overall pick Henry Davis and seems likely to wind up as the top bonus in this year’s class.
That’s not too surprising considering Leiter’s pedigree. The 21-year-old has been touted as one of the likely top picks in the draft for more than a year and only reinforced that hype with a dominant season at Vanderbilt in 2021. In 110 innings, the 6’1″, 205-pound righty pitched to a pristine 2.13 ERA while punching out 41.6 percent of his opponents. His 179 total strikeouts tied with Vandy teammate Kumar Rocker for tops in the country among Division I hurlers.
Leiter entered the draft as the consensus top arm available. Each of Kiley McDaniel of ESPN, Baseball America and Keith Law of the Athletic placed the righty as the best pitcher on their pre-draft rankings and among the five most talented players in the class overall. Leiter’s arsenal is headlined by a mid-90’s fastball with excellent life that plays above barrels at the top of the strike zone. His assortment of secondary offerings are solid, and Leiter has the athleticism and mechanics to project as an obvious starting pitcher. He’s polished enough that he should arrive in the majors rather quickly.