Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting Top 5 Prospects at the End of 2021

(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Don Bosco plays Delbarton at home in Morristown on Friday May 31, 2019. D#22 Jack Leiter pitches the ball.Baseball Delbarton Vs Don Bosco
Don Bosco plays Delbarton at home in Morristown on Friday May 31, 2019. D#22 Jack Leiter pitches the ball.Baseball Delbarton Vs Don Bosco /

Number 2 – Pitcher Jack Leiter

This is assuming the Pittsburgh Pirates go this direction in this summer’s MLB Draft and select Jack Leiter with the top overall pick, making him the organization’s second best prospect behind Priester. Leiter has been dominant in 2021 as Vanderbilt’s co-ace and dominant might just be the biggest understatement to describe Leiter.

He’s tossed 42 innings, but has allowed just 2 earned run while striking out nearly half of all the batters he’s faced (46.1%) and letting up just one long ball. He’s also allowed just 10 batters to get a hit off of him for a 2.1 hits/9 rate. Let’s also not forget he’s thrown a no-hitter. Walks have been a bit of an issue at times, but his 10.4% walk rate isn’t awful.

Leiter has a four pitch mix with all of his offerings grading out as above average. His fastball took major steps forward in 2021 going from a pitch that sits around 90-93 MPH to one that sits around 96-98 MPH and has even reached into triple digits. This pairs well with his curveball, slider and changeup, all of which are seen as offerings he can absolutely use to get outs in the future.

Having two pitchers with ace potential leading off your list is very impressive. Leiter could easily be up there with Priester as two of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball. What’s even more impressive is that he won’t be the last pitching prospect we take a look at today.