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Diamondbacks Top Prospect #15: Infielder Domingo Leyba

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Baseball: World Baseball Classic Exhibion Game-Mexico at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Domingo Leyba

DOB: 9/11/1995 (Age 23)

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 160

Acquired: 2015 Trade with NYY and DET

Position: Second Baseman

B/T: S/R

Most Notable Tool: Hitting tool

Season Stats: 83 games, 358 PA, .269/.344/.381 (109 wRC+), 17 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 43 R, 5/7 SB for AA Jackson

2018 Season Summary: After a terrible shoulder injury that shortened his 2017 season to just 17 games and not fully recovered at the start of the season, Leyba spent the entire season for AA Jackson. The results weren’t spectacular with a 109 wRC+ after a breakthrough campaign in 2016, but certainly respectable enough to keep him on the prospect map for now. He had two good months (May, July) and two poor months (June, August). The strikeout and walk rates are solid with a 13% K rate and 10% BB rate, so plate discipline was never really an issue across the full season numbers. In fact the past two full seasons he’s played the walk rate has been about 9% vs. a strikeout rate of 14%, so Leyba has shown the ability to at least lay off borderline pitches at the AA level.

Tools: Hit 40/50, Power 35/40, Speed 50, Defense 45/50

I don’t know how much his shoulder was bothering him, but his tool set is rather average overall. The strong strikeout to walk ratio suggests he’ll put up a solid contact and walk rate. The lack of game-changing power, speed, or defensive versatility could cause him to get passed by better prospects in the system.d by better pros

Upside: Due to the lack of a strong throwing arm, Leyba is limited to 2B defensively. The team already has a core player established with 6 more seasons of team control in Ketel Marte, so starting at that position is out of the question barring any unforeseen moves. As a result, Leyba may have to make his mark as a utility infielder, although the team already has a utility infielder with a bit more defensive versatility in Ildemaro Vargas.

Risk: Due to the limited defensive profile and the lack of a potential impact tool, Leyba stands to be washed out of the system by higher upside players in front and behind him. A 109 wRC+ season at the plate in 350 PA is decent for a light-hitting prospect, but with the recent acquisition of Andy Young in the Paul Goldschmidt trade, the Dbacks have added a prospect to the system with a similar timeline and more upside. He’s already spent two seasons on the Diamondbacks’ 40 man roster and has not seen a single plate appearance above AA yet, which means the team only has 1 option year left.

Likely 2019 Assignment: Leyba will likely start the year for the Reno Aces, the AAA affiliate. At this point, there is very little development potential for Leyba there and it’s a sink or swim season for him as a prospect.

ETA: 2019 Season