Jason Leblebijian is a solid baseball player that has been pushing himself into the Toronto Blue Jays depth charts over the past year. After an impressive Spring, he could possibly get a chance to show off more.
Jason Leblebijian was a late round pick for the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2012 Amateur Draft. The product of the Bradley University Braves has done nothing but produce. After a few seasons with plenty of timely hitting to drive in runs, he put the entire hitting package together in 2016. During that season he slashed his way to a .294 / .361 / .436 line, to go along with that he hit 13 home runs and 26 doubles to go with his 55 RBIs.
The 2016 campaign in Single and Double-A was just a prelude to his 2017 season. Leblebijian burst into the season with a stellar April. He had 21 hits in 75 at-bats along with fou long balls and fifteen RBI. What a way to kick off the season. His May was equally impressive with a .286 batting average and 12 extra base hits. He would be elected to the International Leagues All-Star team as a reward for the excellent start of the year.
A really rough end of the season dropped his numbers for the total season but he has the talents and versatility to be a contributor on any baseball team in the Majors. Leblebijian played all four infield positions and the corner outfield spots this past season with the Buffalo Bisons. I believe this was part of the reason that his offense suffered along with the Bisons drop on offense as a whole in the second half of the year. It is hard to focus on your hitting when you have to carry around so many different baseball gloves while you travel.
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Leblebijian got the majority of his starts at third and second base but knowing he could sub in at short of first is a major bonus for a team. He has the offensive prowess and athletic ability to be a Ben Zobrist type as a key role player on a team. This Spring he has been on full display and getting plenty of opportunities to impress the Blue Jays brass.
He got off to a great start and has been playing all over the diamond for the Spring Birds. As of today, he is batting .257 but that does not properly show off how well he has been performing this Spring. In his 35 at-bats, he has three doubles, a home run, and five RBIs. This is while playing some solid defense in the field at a plethora of spots. He is also hot with the glove at any of his positions, check out the incredible grab in the video below.
At the plate, Leblebijian has a great quick swing. I really like seeing the toe tap load that he uses to shift his weight. It is an efficient first step to keep balance and load up on your back leg. He uses this in conjunction with his quick hands to develop some great raw power to the gaps. In the below video pay close attention to his first step and how fast his hands explode through the contact zone. The quickness he has to get to the ball is rather obscene. He hits the ball hard and with great contact when he has everything clicking at the plate. In the below video you will see he also can hit with plenty of authority.
He also utilizes the entire field in his approach at the plate. When he made contact he had was equal to all fields. He batted 59 balls to left, 58 to center, and 57 to right. This is the sign of a good hitter that also sported a .336 BABIP.
Jason Leblebijian has had a great Spring and has definitely put himself into the conversation as a valuable depth piece for the organization. It will be interesting to see what happens if he gets continues this Spring’s performance in the regular season. With the Blue Jays trying to build up the big league club with giant amounts of depth, Leblebijian could be the next hot hand to break into the lineup.