It was an unconventional start, but that didn’t stop Jack Leiter from setting a new career high.
Completing a suspended game due to rain on May 31, MLB’s No. 15 prospect took the mound in the second inning of a scoreless contest and fanned a career-best eight batters across 5 2/3 frames in Double-A Frisco’s 3-0 win over Wichita Wednesday night.
The Rangers’ top prospect was still working through some of the command issues that have hampered him in his last few starts, but he was able to pitch around four hits and three walks to keep runs off the board for the first time since May 7.
After allowing three of the first five batters to reach base via two walks and a single, Leiter induced a pivotal double play ball off the bat of Austin Martin (MIN 2) in the bottom of the third. From there, he settled in and set down 12 of the next 14 batters he faced, striking out seven of them.
Leiter fanned two to open up the bottom of the seventh before he exited the game after allowing back-to-back singles. Reliever Grant Anderson retired the final batter of the inning, keeping the shutout intact.
The 22-year-old fired 55 of his 93 pitches for strikes while generating 10 swings-and-misses. With six swinging strikeouts and two caught looking, 33 of Leiter’s 44 whiffs this season have come on the swing-and-miss.
After seeing his ERA balloon to 6.38 two starts ago, the Vanderbilt product lowered it to 4.93 with his third effort this season of allowing no earned runs. He’s holding opposing batters to a .231 average and has surrendered just one home run in the first 34 2/3 innings of his pro career.