Leiter, the 2021 SEC Newcomer of the Year, blends a competitive nature with outstanding command to frequently dominate hitters in the SEC. The former 20th round pick of the New York Yankees in the 2019 MLB Draft now projects as a Top Five selection in the 2021 MLB Draft. The former New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year comes from a baseball lineage that includes his father, Al, a 19-year pitcher in the major leagues and uncle, Mark, who played 11 seasons as well.
In a conference loaded with high-end pitching talent, including teammate and future first-rounder Kumar Rocker, Leiter frequently topped the SEC’s pitching ranks during conference play. The Commodores continue to flood major league baseball with quality arms and Leiter’s right arm ranks as one of the best to come out of Nashville. Former teammate Austin Martin went fifth overall to the Toronto Blue Jays in last year’s draft and, in 2019, star outfielder JJ Bleday went fourth overall to the Miami Marlins.
Not since 2017, however, has a pitcher from Vanderbilt gone in the first round. That streak will end when either Leiter or Rocker’s names are called this summer.