The Martian is landing in New York. Technically, he’ll make a pit stop in Houston to play the Houston Astros first, but the hyped-up center field prospect Jasson Dominguez has received an MLB call-up and will make his New York Yankees debut on Friday. With the Yankees in the midst of their worst season in 30 years, they desperately need a spark to invigorate belief in this team for next year. Enter the 20-year-old.
Why Jasson Dominguez Will and Won’t Succeed as a Yankee
He Will Because he’s What New York is Missing
The Yankees lineup on Monday was all right-handed hitters. They rank 22nd in the majors in stolen bases, 29th in batting average, and 26th in on-base percentage. The offense is putrid, to say the least.
Dominguez is a five-tool player who has lit up the minors this year after a slow start. In his last 74 games, he’s hit for a .297 average, a .384 on-base percentage, a .437 slugging percentage, and an .821 OPS. Obviously, this is over AA and AAA and not in the bigs, but the Yanks would be drooling over a .300 hitter with a 15+% walk rate if they could add that to their roster now. Oh yeah, and he also has 38 stolen bases.
What’s even scarier is that in August he looked like twice the player. He has a line of .396 / .463 / .604 for a 1.067 OPS over the 24 games he played in August, and that’s with his promotion to Triple-A around a week ago. His switch-hitting prowess is evident from both sides, as while he’s better from the left side (.828 OPS), he’s still a .260 hitter from the right.
He’s exactly what New York needs in the lineup, and he also possesses an above-average fielding tool in center field to replace Gold Glover, Harrison Bader. Ever since he was 17, Dominguez has been compared to Mike Trout, and if all 5 of his tools pan out positively like they’re projected to, he’ll be the next star to call the Bronx home.
He Won’t Because he’s Being Rushed to the Majors
In MLB’s 2021 top 100 prospects ranking, an 18-year-old Dominguez was ranked 32nd. The hype was insane around him, and he was dubbed “The Martian” for his out-of-this-world talent. The next year, he slipped to 61st. This year, he slotted in at 78th. While his tools and potential obviously give him a very high ceiling, he hasn’t wowed talent evaluators enough to move him up those rankings.
One has to wonder, if the Yankees were a competent team this year if they would be making this move and throwing Dominguez into the fire. There’s no doubt that he’s been great in July and August, but it could just be a hot couple of months. June was his worst minor league month in a long time, hitting only .186 with a .626 OPS, and at that point, it wasn’t even assumed that he would get an AAA call-up before the end of the regular season, much less an MLB audition.
Speaking of an AAA call-up, he only got to Scranton eight games ago. While he’s performed very well over those games, an eight-game sample size doesn’t seem like nearly enough to declare someone ready to receive his second call-up in two weeks. While some prospects are ready to skip AAA and go straight from AA to MLB, some prospects’ development gets ruined by the rush, and Dominguez’s development is one the Yankees cannot mess up.
Besides him, Austin Wells, who is also getting a big league call-up on Friday, and Spencer Jones, the Yankees farm system for hitting is absolutely barren. If Dominguez doesn’t become an above-average center fielder, the Yanks are in trouble as they try to rebuild around the huge contracts of Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, and Carlos Rodon, and the overpaid veterans like Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, and Anthony Rizzo.
The Yankees cannot afford Dominguez being a bust, and such giving him more time in the minors might’ve let him keep developing. Alas, he will touch down at Minute Maid on Friday, and hopefully, we’ll all be impressed by the new Yankees CF.
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