Baseball

It’s time for the Yankees to unleash Jasson Dominguez in 2021

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You may have heard a thing or two about Jasson Dominguez. The consensus top New York Yankees prospect, the 18-year-old center fielder is slated to turn put in his first full pro season in the low minor leagues. Known as “The Martian” for his other-worldly hitting abilities, Dominguez has been controversially compared to such MLB greats as Mike Trout and Mickey Mantle before even playing a game in the minor league system.

While those comparisons are silly at this stage of his career, they illustrate the amount of hype that Dominguez is coming in with. The Yankees spent more than $5 million of their allotted $5.4 million for signing international prospects in 2019 solely on Dominguez – this is not just any other prospect. The Yankees have already paid about as much as they possibly could have, and his subsequent journey through the minor leagues starts now.

Prospect Ranking (Yankees System/MLB Overall): 1/30 (MLB.com), 1/50 (FanGraphs), 1/33 (Baseball America)

It comes as no surprise that Dominguez is the team’s top prospect across all three rankings, but seeing him in the top 35 nationally before even playing a minor league game is awe-inspiring. Few scouts have see Dominguez play, but his tools even at age 16 (when the team signed him) are elite. Dominguez profiles as a true five-tool talent – none of his tools are ranked lower than a 55 on the 20-80 scale. There was talk of having the switch-hitting center fielder make his pro debut last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic quashed that possibility.

The Yankees would be wise to take it slow with Dominguez, at least at the start. This is a player who has yet to play a professional game and is still just 18-years-old. Dominguez will likely report to extended spring training before joining one of the Yankees’ Gulf Coast League teams. After that, a promotion to Low-A Tampa seems in the cards for Dominguez this season. With their season set to begin on May 4, perhaps Floridian Yankees fans will be seeing Dominguez by the time school is out.

Losing a season of development at age-17 could hurt Dominguez, but it’s all but impossible to know to what extent. At this point, Dominguez is just as much an unknown as he was when the team signed him. His bat speed and power are supposedly “off the charts for a player this young” according to FanGraphs, and MLB Pipeline refers to him as “the most hyped and tooled-up international prospect in recent memory.” One of the only things we know for sure about Dominguez is that he beefed up in 2020. MLB Pipeline still lists him at 5’10” and 190 pounds, respectable for a 17-year-old, but FanGraphs has him at 5’11” and 215 pounds, which looks in line with the Dominguez we now see in videos.

If you’ve never watched Dominguez swing before, please take the time to watch the video below. He gives a good interview, and then unloads on some baseballs:

A swing like that just can’t be taught. His powerful leg kick, high-torque load, incredible raw power and the ability to do it from both sides of the plate are unprecedented for someone his age. Watching him play professional baseball will be a treat this season.

It’s incredibly difficult to predict how a player with grade-A tools will perform vs. pitching at the highest level, especially a player as mysterious and young as Dominguez. So, fans would be advised to keep their expectations in check. While Dominguez looks like the best prospect the Yankees have had in years, fans shouldn’t turn on him if he isn’t instantly the next Mantle in his first minor league season. Yankees fans have waited patiently to get a glimpse at Dominguez, and after two years, the dawn of the Dominguez era is finally beginning.

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