With the New York Yankees having two of the first 37 picks in the 2019 MLB Draft, hitting on their First Round picks this June is more important than ever before. In Baseball America’s most recent mock draft (subscription required), they have the Bronx Bombers taking a high school pitcher that has a familiar name to many New York baseball fans.
At the 30th pick, BA has the Yankees going with Al Leiter’s son, Jack Leiter. Currently, Leiter pitches at Delbarton High School in Morristown, New Jersey. It would be somewhat of a risk for New York to take him late in the draft because of his commitment to Vanderbilt University, one of the better schools in college baseball.
Here is some of what BA had to say about Leiter on their scouting report:
“Armed with one of the best breaking balls of the class, Leiter is the son of former 19-year major leaguer, Al Leiter, and is one of the most polished pitchers in the 2019 class. Standing at just 6 feet and 191 pounds, Leiter pitched in the 89-93 mph range throughout the summer but had a loud outing at the Area Code Games, where he touched 95 mph and sat in the 91-94 mph range for two innings.”
Leiter may not have the high velocity on his fastball, but at just 18 years old, a lot of the scouting reports that you read about him praise his ability to throw his offspeed pitches for strikes. If that is the case, he would already be a step ahead as he continues to develop as a player. Here is what Perfect Game had to say about those pitches and some video from the Perfect Game National Showcase last June courtesy of 2080 Baseball:
“Three quality secondary pitches he can use at any time… can spin both the curveball and slider well. Classic starting pitchers arsenal and the command to go with it.”
If the Yankees were to select Leiter in the First Round, it would be the first time New York would draft a right-handed high-school pitcher in that spot since they took Ty Hensley in 2012. As for high school pitchers as a whole, the last one New York took in Round One was left-hander Ian Clarkin in 2013.
Since the Yankees have a good amount of depth at pitching in the younger levels of their system, adding Leiter would be intriguing as another quality arm in the organization. Plus, he would be a player that fans would continue to track because of the familiarity with his dad.