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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-38, Domingo Leyba

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Is he the best position player prospect in our system?

Arizona Diamondbacks Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 38: Domingo Leyba

  • Date of birth: September 11, 1995
  • Ht/Wt: 5’11”, 160 lbs
  • Position: Infielder
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: S/R
  • 2016 MLB numbers: N/A
  • SnakePit Rating: 3.95 [pattern of votes below]

Weren’t we just speaking about Leyba the other day? Oh, yeah: we were, when discussing the shortstop situation. To recap: he’s the youngest player on the 40-man roster, who’ll be only 21 until September, and along with Robbie Ray was part of the return in the Didi Gregorius trade. Looking back a year, player development director Mike Bell said of Leyba, “I expect him to have a big year this year. He performed well in the Cal League last year considering his age... I think he is really going to blossom.” And so it proved, with Leyba now being rated by some as the top position prospect in the Arizona farm system.

He started 2016 in High-A and batted .294 for Visalia, with a 62:29 K:BB. That got him a promotion to Double-A Mobile and the results there were actually better, as Leyba hit .301 and improved the K:BB to 22:17. He can play on both sides of the middle infield, but 101 of his 122 starts last season were at shortstop. Per John Sickels of Minor League Ball, “He remains a fairly aggressive hitter but better physical strength/maturity have helped, plus some mechanical tweaks to his swing enable him to get to his strength more frequently. Leyba's defense is quite steady. Although his range isn't spectacular, he is more reliable than most infielders his age.”

It’s also worth noting Leyba is a switch-hitter. His 2016 average was almost identical from both sides of the plate, but the on-base and slugging percentages were both significantly better as a left-handed hitter. Overall, his OPS from the left was 129 points better than from the right. At this point, there’s still polishing to be done, and it remains possible that he may end up moving to second permanently. That decision may depend on how other prospects, such as Jack Reinheimer, pan out.

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