We now enter the top half of our 2024 Detroit Tigers prospect rankings with the No. 15 spot in Eddys Leonard, a somewhat recent addition to the Tigers farm system. Leonard, 23, was acquired from the Dodgers in a small trade last season, right before the trade deadline. At the time, he was just thought of as some minor league depth for the Tigers, but that tune quickly changed after his performance in Triple-A Toledo.
Leonard slashed .302/.374/.530 with eight home runs, a .228 ISO and a 123 wRC+ in 171 plate appearances for the Mud Hens. He also walked nearly 10% of the time. This made Tigers fans' ears perk up a bit.
Leonard had been DFA'd by the Dodgers not long before being traded to Detroit. He was having a subpar season in their Double-A affiliate, slashing .254/.326/.411 with a 96 wRC+. But something clicked after he was traded to Detroit.
Thanks to some data from our own Rogelio Castillo, we can tell you that Leonard had the hardest hit ball in Toledo last season at 111.6 mph. He also had a solid average exit velocity of 90.2 mph.
Defensively, Leonard is a bit of a super utility player. He's played all over the infield, as well as some outfield. He got most of his time at shortstop last season.
Here's what MLB Pipeline has to say about Leonard's future on defense:
"While Leonard has good athleticism, average speed and solid arm strength, his long-term defensive home remains in question. He lacks the range and consistency to play shortstop regularly in the big leagues, and he also hasn't wowed scouts at second base, third or center field. His best paths to Detroit are as an offensive-minded second baseman or utilityman, but he’ll need to start hitting again in his new organization to meet that ceiling."- MLB Pipeline
He's off to a good start in that last department, but he'll need to keep it up. The Tigers love themselves a good super utility guy, so it's easy to see why they were interested in him. He played all over the diamond in Toledo last year.
Because of that, don't count him out in spring training. He could be a sneaky pick to make the Opening Day roster, especially since he's on the 40-man. He's also right-handed, which gives him an edge because the Tigers don't have a ton of right-handed hitters in the organization. He's far from a guarentee, but if he hits, he could give the organization something to think about.
Eddys Leonard has been an interesting development. He probably won't be a superstar, but he could be a nice role player, and potentially, a big league regular.