'He's an anomaly': Dominguez turning heads

January 13th, 2022

is regarded as one of the most celebrated Minor League prospects in recent memory, with sky-high expectations accompanying his professional debut this past season. In Yankees general manager Brian Cashman’s view, the switch-hitting wunderkind lived up to the hype.

Dominguez played in seven games for a Rookie-ball team before jumping to Low-A Tampa, where he batted .258/.346/.398 with nine doubles, a triple, five homers and 18 RBIs in 49 games. Cashman said that he believes only a select group of prospects would be capable of handling a similar jump to a full-season league as an 18-year-old.

“His work ethic is exceptional; his will to be successful is exceptional,” Cashman said recently. “When you engage all the departments, whether it’s player development, performance science, the measurables that come along with it -- he’s basically an anomaly, something that doesn’t come along very often.”

A product of the Dominican Republic, Dominguez received a $5.1 million signing bonus from the Yankees in July 2019, which was all but $300,000 of the club’s bonus pool and a franchise record for an international amateur.

Rated as the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, the switch-hitting speedster has generated comparisons to some of the greatest athletes in baseball history, like Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout.

“There’s a lot of very talented people, and he has a higher level of degree and talent than most,” Cashman said. “If he can obviously put that together and match that to his performance level, you’re going to be talking about something very special.”

Kevin Reese, who was recently promoted to vice president of player development, said that the Yankees organization is “extremely excited” about getting Dominguez back on the field to continue his march toward the big leagues.

“Everywhere he goes, he’s turning heads,” Reese said. “His ability to connect with people, his ability to lead at such a young age, the exit velo, the speed. Some of the measurables that we do on our performance science side, it’s all off the charts. We just want to get him to play more baseball; I think all of the skill is there, all of the ability is there.”

Reese said that the Yankees have not yet decided where Dominguez will begin the season. He’ll likely be playing for Low-A Tampa, where the club recently named Rachel Balkovec as the first female manager in affiliated professional baseball. Balkovec worked with Dominguez as a hitting coach in the Florida Complex League last season.

“I think the conversation very much is, ‘OK, he can hit the ball hard. We all know that,’” Balkovec said. “But I think that once people understand the kind of person he is -- he’s a phenomenal person in the clubhouse. His aptitude is so high. He wants to learn. We’re literally doing offseason English classes right now. He and I aren’t even talking much about baseball.

“We’re talking about English classes so he can be a better person in the clubhouse, be a leader for both Latin American and American players in his future. Everyone knows his baseball talent, that’s obvious, but behind closed doors people need to understand it’s a really special person. What he brings to the clubhouse from a character standpoint is phenomenal.”