Al Leiter was serious when he told The Post his son Jack was “way better than me” at the same age. Sunday night was proof of that bold statement.
Leiter, the Summit, N.J. native and son of the former Mets and Yankees southpaw, was chosen second overall in the 2021 MLB Draft by the Rangers, becoming the first local product to go that high since Pedro Alvarez of Washington Heights was taken second in 2008 by the Pirates.
Leiter was taken in the 20th round out of high school by the Yankees two years ago, mostly because teams were aware he was unlikely to bypass college. Otherwise, he would’ve been a mid-to-late first-round pick. His father, by contrast, was a second-round pick of the Yankees in 1984 and went on to win three World Series crowns and compile a lifetime 3.80 ERA across 19 seasons.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Leiter has front-of-the-rotation stuff, a mid-to-high 90’s mph fastball and a hammer curve. He has famous baseball bloodlines and competitive fire and poise that scouts and analysts believe will serve him well at the next level.
He was dominant in his once full year of college baseball, helping Vanderbilt reach the College World Series. Leiter threw the school’s first complete-game no-hitter in 50 years during the regular season in his first SEC start. He compiled the most strikeouts in the country, with 179 in 110 innings, notched a 2.13 ERA, and was a consensus All-American. Now, he’s headed to the professional ranks, the next step in a dream that began years ago while watching his father pitch at the sport’s highest level.
The Pirates used the first pick in the draft on Louisville catcher Henry Davis of Bedford, N.Y., a major surprise. California high school shortstop Marcelo Mayer was projected by most experts to go No. 1.