Padres sign Domingo Leyba to minor league deal

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Credit: USA Today Sports

The San Diego Padres signed 26-year-old infielder Domingo Leyba to a minor league deal.

Leyba, a longtime member of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, ranked as high as 26th in Arizona’s system and slashed an unimpressive .152/.238/.223/.461 in his 126 MLB plate appearances.

However, it’s his minor league numbers that are likely what attracted the Padres to the utilityman.

Leyba has always been considered a strong hitter, and his 2019 and 2021 campaigns in Triple-A fully support that notion. In 2019, Leyba slashed .300/.351/.519/.870 with 19 home runs and 37 doubles in 457 at-bats. In 2021, Leyba slashed .313/.335/.577/.912 with 13 home runs and ten doubles in 208 at-bats.

The switch-hitter is an extremely aggressive hitter who puts the ball in play quite a bit, evidenced by his minuscule strikeout and walk rates.

Once considered a 40-grade power hitter, Leyba’s back-to-back Triple-A seasons in which he’s slugged over .500 show that his power tool has developed nicely alongside his already solid hit tool.

Leyba isn’t anything special as a defender and struggled at second base in 2021, posting -3 DRS at the position. Based on Leyba’s play in the minor leagues, this was likely more of a fluke, as he’s flashed plus defensive skills at second base, shortstop, and third base in the past.

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In March of 2020, Leyba was suspended for 80 games by MLB after testing positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. That is a little bit of a concern, but the infielder has not had any other issues since. 

The Dominican infielder will provide the Padres with Triple-A depth in 2022 and may be able to hit his way into some MLB playing time.

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