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.
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.