Former Toronto Blue Jays farmhand Jason Leblebijian will seek a new opportunity in the desert this season after inking a minor league pact with the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this month.
The Blue Jays selected Jason Leblebijian in the 25th round, 775th overall in the 2012 amateur draft from Bradley University. The infielder exemplified perseverance and hard work over the course of the next seven seasons in the minors with the Jays.
Leblebijian would eventually earn consistent playing time and a promotion to Triple-A in 2017 when it appeared he was on the cusp of a major league call-up. The journeyman received consecutive All-Star honours in both 2017 and 2018 representing the Bisons at the mid-summer classic. Last season, Leblebijian and catcher Danny Jansen were the Bisons All-Star representatives.
In 2018, Leblebijian hit .220/.315/.362 with 10 homers in 84 games with Buffalo and will in all likelihood begin the 2019 campaign in Reno with the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate. In 650 professional games, the 27-year old is a career .256/.331/.391 hitter with 52 home runs and 52 stolen bases.
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Leblebijian signed his deal with the Diamondbacks on the 10th of January, one day after former Blue Jay’ Travis Snider also inked a minor league contract with Arizona. Snider was a former first-round pick of Toronto but never lived up to the lofty expectations placed upon him. He and Snider will presumably be teammates in Triple-A to begin the season.
A change of scenery may be just what Leblebijian needs to get him over that hump and an eventual shot at the majors. Until then, he will provide the D’backs with Triple-A depth and an ability to play multiple positions around the infield.
Other former Blue Jays signing minor league deals in the recent weeks are Drew Hutchison (Yankees), Gift Ngoepe (Phillies), and Taylor Guerrieri (Rangers) as we inch closer to the start of another season.