The New York Mets have added another player to the organization on a minor league deal, this time inking infielder Leon Byrd, according to Baseball America. The signing comes after the team reached agreements with RHP Donovan Hand and 2B Danny Hoy last week.
Byrd, 23, joins the Mets after they failed to sign him in 2012, following his 25th round selection from Cypress Ranch HS in Texas. Byrd went on to Rice University, where he played three years for the Owls. In 161 collegiate games, he hit .259 with 72 runs batted in and 19 stolen bases. In his final season at Rice, Byrd delivered a go-ahead double to defeat Houston in the 20th inning of the Baton Rouge Regional Final in the NCAA tournament.
The Texas Rangers selected Byrd with their tenth round draft pick in 2015, but, after hitting .203 in his professional debut, was released the following spring. Byrd then latched on with the Los Angeles Angels, but was cut last June before playing a game in their system. Byrd joined the independent Texas AirHogs for 54 games to end the 2016 season.
As a diminutive infielder, Byrd won’t showcase any power, but he should be scrappy enough to find his way onto Brooklyn or Columbia’s roster to begin the 2017 season.