Originally signed by the Tigers out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old in 2012, Leyba was acquired by Arizona as a prospect in the 2014 three-team deal that sent Didi Gregorious (SS, Yankees) from the Diamondbacks to the Bronx. Leyba has performed throughout his minor league career and earned his way on to the Diamondbacks’ 40-Man Roster this off-season. I got a look at the switch-hitting infielder in the Southern League this June.
Leyba demonstrates a quiet, short stroke from both sides of the plate. He looks to make early, hard contact, and shows less comfort late in counts, trying to handle spin. He finds the barrel on fastballs in different parts of the zone, and he lays off early count spin whether it’s in the zone or out. He lands in a fair share of hitter’s counts in AA his way, but his struggles with spin will expose him against pitchers who throw secondaries for strikes. I expect an increase in K-rate at the highest level. Leyba is a well-below average power threat, instead relying on regular contact to generate a no frills, future 45 hit tool.
An average athlete, Leyba fits best at second base as a big leaguer where he grades as average, including both his range and hands. He lacks the lateral movement necessary to stick at shortstop, and while he has enough arm for third base, his offensive skills are a better fit at second. A fringe-average runner, Leyba’s tools fall short of everyday impact. He has value as a solid Role 40 bench bat with both switch-hitting and defensive utility to play both 2B, 3B, and SS in a pinch, and the proximity to the big leagues adds value to the high-floor profile.