With the Texas Rangers needing pitching, top prospect Jack Leiter got his first call to the major leagues. But with his debut going much worse than expected, the Rangers were forced to make a quick change.

Texas has sent Leiter back down to Triple-A, the team announced. In turn, fellow pitcher Owen White has been recalled to the major leagues.

Facing the Detroit Tigers, Leiter lasted just 3.2 innings, allowing eight hits and seven earned runs. He struck out three and walked three, throwing 82 pitches total. Despite Leiter's poor start, Texas still came back to earn the victory 9-7.

The Rangers did everything in their power to get Leiter's career off on the right foot, scoring four runs through the first two innings. However, Detroit answered back with four runs of their own in the bottom of the second inning. Another three would score in the fourth. While he only allowed one home run, Leiter consistently allowed extra base hits throughout his outing.

Texas will take the W, but nothing about Leiter's start impressed them. Rather than throw him back into the MLB fire, the Rangers will have their top prospect return to the minors for some extra seasoning. They'll be watching closely at his development as they ponder when is the right time to bring Jack Leiter back to the majors.

What Jack Leiter must do to return to Rangers

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jack Leiter (35) sits on the dugout bench after being pulled from the game in his Major League debut against the Detroit Tigers in the fourth inning at Comerica Park.
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Leiter came to Texas with plenty of hype as the No. 2 pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. He was sensational during his time at Vanderbilt, holding a 13-4 record with a 2.08 ERA and a 201/53 K/BB ratio. However, his time in professional baseball has been a different story.

The right-hander has made 46 minor league appearances in his career, 42 of them coming in Double-A. He holds a 6-17 record with a 5.25 ERA and a 248/108 K/BB ratio. However, things have looked better in Triple-A during the 2024 season. While he's only made three appearances, Leiter has pitched to a 1-1 record with a 3.77 ERA and a 25/3 K/BB ratio.

Leiter is still one of the most heralded prospects on the Rangers, currently ranking at No. 7, via MLB Pipeline. While his MLB debut led to concern – and Leiter's demotion – it won't end his career in Texas. The Rangers are still very much invested in the righty and are hoping he develops into a rotation fixture of the near future.

But it's clear there is still work to be done. He might have ample Double-A experience, but Leiter hasn't pitched many games at the Triple-A level. His demotion will allow him to fine tune his craft and improve his confidence for whenever he gets the MLB call next.

The Rangers may have came away with a victory, but Jack Leiter's big league debut was anything but a success. He'll now head down to Triple-A as Texas ponders their next move involving the right-hander.