A last-place team needs a reason for optimism, and the New York Yankees have exactly that in 20-year-old outfield prospect Jasson Dominguez.
Nicknamed ‘El Marciano’ (Spanish for ‘the Martian’) for his otherworldly talent, the Dominican native was promoted to Triple-A earlier this week, where he’s continued his torrid pace from Double-A Somerset.
In just seven games with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Dominguez has 11 hits in 23 at-bats (.478 average) with 10 RBIs and four walks. Best of all, he’s doubled twice and on Sunday he tripled, giving him 11 total bases in less than a week of work.
‘I’m in the camp that I think he’s going to be a really good player in this league,’ manager Aaron Boone said, as quoted by the New York Post. ‘I think he’s a really special talent. … Obviously he impacts the ball and is athletic and can run, but I like the fact that at a very young age, he can really control the strike zone.’
The sizzling stretch, however brief, could lead to a September call-up to the Bronx, where the Yankees are quickly fading into irrelevance. Losers of 12 of their last 14, New York has the option of benching veterans, such as center fielder Harrison Bader, in favor of some young call-ups, like Dominguez.
Jasson Dominguez, 20, smiles during a spring-training appearance for the Yankees
YES Network asked fans if Jasson Dominguez should get a call-up to the Bronx
And while it may seem early to be calling up a 20-year-old, it’s worth remembering that the Yankees were so confident in Dominguez’s ability that they gave him a $5 million signing bonus in 2019 – when he was just 16.
The contract was a double-edged sword for Dominguez, who initially drew criticism when he struggled to live up to the seven-figure deal in early 2021.
Of course, Dominguez was only 17 and 18 at the time, and with more experience came better results.
Prior to his call-up from Triple-A, Dominguez was batting a respectable .263 in Somerset with an impressive .367 on-base percentage, 15 home runs, 19 doubles and a whopping 37 stolen bases.
The switch-hitter is, in baseball parlance, a five-tool player: Dominguez can hit for both power and average, and he’s a fast, capable center fielder with an absolute cannon for an arm.
Perhaps most impressive has been his discerning eye, which has helped him reach base, even when he isn’t hitting.
‘I think the biggest thing with Jasson is that he’s been consistent,’ Somerset hitting coach Jake Hirst told NJ.com in May, pointing to his ability to draw walks.
Dominguez was given a $5 million signing bonus when he was just 16-years-old. Since then, fans have grown impatient as he’s climbed the minor-league ladder to Triple-A
Dominguez was batting .263 in Double-A with an impressive .367 on-base percentage
‘If you look at how he’s getting pitched, people are rightfully pitching around him in a sense. He’s not getting a ton of pitches to hit,’ Hirst continued. ‘I think it shows up in his walk rate. Early on, he missed a pitch or two because of the cold and the wind, maybe a ball got caught instead of going out.
‘But I think the most reassuring part in all of it in terms of processes is that he’s just controlled the zone really well. When some of the other results weren’t showing up, he was still controlling the zone and walking. In terms of his development, that’s huge.
‘He’s still hitting for power on both sides of the plate, and I think that’s always going to be something that he retains. I think it’s going to continue to be a strength for him, whether it’s max exit velocity or just being able to consistently hit the ball hard and in the air. He’s got more hits lately, but I don’t think there were any big adjustments.’
Hirst then echoed a sentiment many other baseball insiders have shared about Dominguez: ‘He has the ability to be a special player.’