Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- It might have been a rainy, dreary day for Vanderbilt’s home opener, but freshman right-handed Jack Leiter was a bright spot for the Commodores in their 3-0 shutout of South Alabama.
Leiter had an impressive debut for the Vandy Boys; finishing with 5-no hit innings and striking out 12 out of 15 batters.
“I don’t know if I expected it but I was confident in the group of guys behind me and obviously we had great defense and throwing to a catcher like C.J. Rodriguez makes things a lot easier. He manages a lot of it and played a great game behind the plate,” said Jack Leiter.
A humble response for the righty recently was tabbed by Baseball America as the No. 1 incoming freshman in the country and who was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 20th round of the MLB Draft in 2019.
Baseball runs through Jack’s blood. His father, Al, pitched 19 seasons (1987-2005) and won 162 games for the Mets, Blue Jays, Yankees and Marlins. He was a two-time All-Star and now serves as an analyst for the MLB Network.
Mark Leiter, Jack’s uncle, played 11 seasons (1990-99, 2001) for eight major league teams. And Mark Leiter Jr., Jack’s cousin, pitched in 2017-18 for the Phillies and Blue Jays.
Al Leiter was at Vandy’s opener, just a few rows up from behind home plate, and just like any proud father would, he was taking photos of Jack after the game as reporters interviewed him on the field.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my son today. What a way to start his Vandy Boys journey. It was very cool for me to watch his first outing in person and his performance was way better than anything I’ve ever done,” Al Leiter said on Twitter.
While Jack could’ve gone pro out of high school, he made it clear that Vanderbilt was where he wanted to be. And that is not surprising, considering the fact that head coach Tim Corbin has built one of the most solid college baseball programs in the country. He recruits the players that truly fit and Jack is one of those guys. He might be young, but his mindset is on a different level, especially when he’s on the mound.
“For me it’s just staying in the moment, like I said just always thinking about the next pitch and knowing whatever happened in the past I can’t control and same with the future. It’s really just about taking it one pitch at a time,” said Leiter.
With Sophomore Kumar Rocker already in the rotation, Leiter is now another young talent from Vanderbilt who is catching the attention of the country. The season is just getting started, but you can bet this is just the beginning for Leiter.