Leo James Maurice Daigle
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 255 lb.
- School Southwestern University, Cal State Hayward
- High School Monte Vista High School (Spring Valley)
First baseman Leo Daigle was drafted in the 11th round of the 1997 amateur draft by the Detroit Tigers but did not sign until after the season ended. In 1998, Daigle hit .324/~.357/.421 for the GCL Tigers. The next year, Daigle began a long run at class A by batting .276/~.330/.406 with 36 doubles for the West Michigan Whitecaps. In 2000, the Californian infielder managed only a .236/.288/.349 campaign for the Lakeland Tigers, striking out 108 times.
At age 21, Leo hit .252/.311/.425 for Lakeland, then he returned again in '02 and put up a .258/.346/.455 line. He led the Florida State League with 23 homers and 17 times hit by pitch and led the league's first basemen in putouts (1,046), assists (74), errors (15) and double plays (115). He made the FSL All-Star team in his third year in the loop.
In 2003, Daigle finally made it to AA. Still just 23, he hit .238/.317/.398. He also came the closest of anybody to getting a hit in the no-hitter thrown by Seung Song on April 28, hitting a hard grounder in the second which required a diving stop by Harrisburg SS Albenis Machado. Going 0 for 1 for the Toledo Mud Hens the next year, Leo was let go and was picked up by the Chicago White Sox. They assigned him to the Kannapolis Intimidators. In his fifth year at A ball, he hit .292/.368/.488 with 18 homers and 90 RBI and led league first baseman with a .995 fielding percentage.
Leo was the 2005 Carolina League MVP. That year, he smacked the ball for the Winston-Salem Warthogs, batting .341/.414/.637 with 29 homers, 85 runs and 112 RBI. The hefty first baseman got another chance at AAA with the Charlotte Knights during the year but was overmatched at .220/.237/.341 with 27 strikeouts in 91 AB. Leo led the Carolina League in RBI and slugging and tied teammate Tom Collaro for the home run lead en route to winning the first Triple Crown in the league since Ray Jablonski in 1951 (also for Winston-Salem).
Chicago let the 26-year-old career low-minor leaguer go and he signed on with the Baltimore Orioles. Assigned to the Bowie Baysox, he was at .237/.317/.399 for them through August 27, 2006, with 15 homers.
Primary Sources: 1998-2006 Baseball Almanacs