Cleveland gets another Gator, this time Jack Leftwich in 7th round

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The 2021 Major League Baseball amateur draft continues to roll along and the latest Gator to get picked among the best that the collegiate ranks have to offer is pitcher Jack Leftwich. The fourth-year junior heard his name called in the seventh round on Monday by the Cleveland Indians at pick No. 216.

The Tribe also drafted his teammate ace pitcher Tommy Mace at No. 69 in the Competitive Balance B round sandwiched between rounds two and three, as well as prep Gators commit infielder Jake Fox with their very next pick at No. 95 overall.

This was not the first time Leftwich has been drafted — the Detroit Tigers took him in the 39th round back in 2017 before he elected to attend UF. While the second time around certainly resulted in a much higher selection, the overall results are rather underwhelming for a hurler who had high hopes in Gainesville, especially given that his ranking per MLB Pipeline entering the draft was No. 156.

The right-hander from Orlando began the 2021 season as the second starter in the rotation, but after six tries found himself relegated to a relief role. He settled into the bullpen reasonably well — though he did continue to have flare-ups now and again — and managed to strike out more than a batter per inning while keeping runners off base. Still, it never really felt like he had earned Kevin O’Sullivan’s confidence back after his demotion.

That said, Leftwich’s draft slot has an estimated value of $203,400, which he may have some leverage in negotiations considering both his higher projection as well as the option to return to Florida. It seems fairly likely that he plays another year in the Orange and Blue, unless there was more to O’Sullivan’s decision than we know.

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