Eddys Leonard began 2023 as a Dodgers shortstop in Double-A Tulsa and ended it playing several positions in Triple-A Toledo as a member of the Tigers organization.
Leonard and fellow then-High-A middle infielder Jorbit Vivas were aggressive additions to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster in November 2021, to avoid potentially losing them in a Rule 5 Draft that never came, though nobody knew the draft would be canceled (a casualty of the lockout) at the time.
Leonard’s second year on the 40-man roster got off to a terrible start, with no extra-base hits in 20 games in April with Double-A Tulsa while hitting just .129 (9-for-70 with 10 walks). But he found his power soon after.
For the next three months, Leonard hit .286/.349/.482 with 20 doubles, 11 home runs, and a triple in 72 games, his .196 isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average) more in line with his previous two seasons in both Class-A levels (.204).
But the 22-year-old Leonard was a roster casualty of the Dodgers’ trade deadline activity. He was designated for assignment on July 29 to make room on the 40-man roster in the Lance Lynn/Joe Kelly deal with the White Sox.
Being in roster limbo while designated for assignment limited any leverage the Dodgers might have had in trying to trade Leonard, who ended up getting sold to the Tigers just ahead of the August 1 trade deadline.
While with the Dodgers, Leonard played all over the infield and even saw time in center field in 2021, ahead of being added to the 40-man roster that fall. But in 2022-23, 194 of his 213 starts (91 percent) with the Dodgers came at shortstop.
After joining the Tigers, Leonard was promoted to Triple-A Toledo and played all over the field, starting 17 games at shortstop, 10 games in center, three games in left field, four games at second base, and two games at third. But he kept hitting at a new level with eight home runs in 40 games, hitting .302/.374/.530 with a 123 wRC+ with Toledo.
Stats: .254/.327/.411, 96 wRC+, 11 HR, 20 2B, 92 G with Double-A Tulsa
Salary: in minors all year (minimum salary for non-first-year players on a 40-man roster in 2023 was $117,400, per the collective bargaining agreement)
Game of the year
After no extra-base hits in April, Leonard began his May with a load of them. He hit three doubles and a home run in a win over San Antonio on May 2, driving in four runs.
Leonard was named Texas League player of the week for his performance in that series against San Antonio, hitting .500/.545/1.000 (10-for-20) in six games.
Leonard is on the Tigers’ 40-man roster and has one option year remaining.