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Rangers GM Chris Young Helped Make Jack Leiter's Road To Texas 'Extremely Special'

Jack Leiter is a Texas Ranger. While it was a joint effort by the entire front office, Leiter spoke highly of Chris Young's involvement in the process.

ARLINGTON, Texas — When Chris Young was hired as the executive vice president and general manager of the Texas Rangers last December, he admitted there would be a bit of a learning curve with the job. It's more than understandable, given that Young had never been a GM before.

But if there was any doubt of how much of an impact Young could make in his first season as the club's GM, Wednesday afternoon painted a much clearer picture. 

The Rangers officially announced the signing of Jack Leiter on Wednesday, the second overall pick in this year's MLB Draft. According to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, Leiter signed for $7,922,000 — the fourth-highest signing bonus in draft history and second to only Gerrit Cole's $8 million for a pitcher.

It's a big day for the Texas Rangers. And Chris Young was a critical part of getting Leiter in a Rangers uniform.

"He's made this whole process extremely special from the beginning," Leiter said. "I think it's extremely special that he's done it. He was a pitcher in the big leagues; a very successful one. Now, he's a general manager. You really can't find that anywhere else."

Leiter added, "Even before the selection was made, they made it clear to me and my family that this is what they wanted to happen. Through the whole process, it just felt like I was the right fit for them. It felt the other way around, like they were the right fit for me. It was a perfect match. On draft day, it was just those two things coming together. It was a very happy day for me and my family."

The night the Rangers selected Leiter, Young said the club got their guy. Leiter confirmed that the same sentiment when explaining what made the decision to sign with Texas much easier.

"He basically said, 'We're picking you. You can tell me what you want. You're the guy and we want you,'" Leiter said. "That, for me and my family, was really special. Some other teams would have like to negotiate and try to haggle numbers. None of that was involved in the process."

Now Leiter's professional career can begin. But it will be a while before he throws his first professional pitch. While the Rangers and Leiter have yet to finalize the details of his plan for the remainder of the year, both Young and Leiter confirmed that he will not pitch this season. In fact, Leiter will take on a full load of courses at Vanderbilt this fall to continue his education — something that both Young and Leiter highly value.

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The Rangers will still keep tabs on Leiter's workouts and throwing progression before his professional career truly takes off next spring.

"Certainly, we're going to devise a joint program with the Vanderbilt trainers and staff where he'll get all of his baseball work," Young said. "There's a great alumni of Vanderbilt players that go back in the fall. So he'll be surrounded by great players that he'll learn from and continue his development. 

"The education is an important part of it. I did that. Certainly, I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to go back and get my degree. I think it's important for Jack. It's a goal of his. Nonetheless, it's something that's very easy for us to work with."

Among those alumni that Leiter could workout with are David Price, Sonny Gray and former Rangers pitcher Mike Minor.

What seemed like a dream several months ago for the Rangers and their fans officially became a reality on Wednesday. Jack Leiter is a Texas Ranger. And in several months, his career will truly take off. 

The whole endeavor required a huge effort from the entire front office. And for Chris Young, it's quite an accomplishment for year one on the job.

"What stuck out the most from the top down in the Rangers organization was their want and desire to win," Leiter said. "That's the No. 1 thing that's stuck with me everywhere I've ever been. That's what I hope to continue to do as a Ranger."

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