Domínguez reassigned, but Yankees say 'it's get after it time'
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Conversations between managers and players while a demotion is taking place during Spring Training can range from difficult to mildly disappointing, depending on where the player fits into a team’s long-term plans.
For Yankees manager Aaron Boone, his chat with top outfield prospect Jasson Domínguez after Thursday’s game in Tampa, Fla., was simple and encouraging.
“I told him I don’t plan on sending him down very often moving forward,” Boone said Friday.
Domínguez was reassigned to Minor League camp and is likely ticketed for Double-A Somerset. His time hasn’t quite arrived, but the general understanding is he’ll be back with the Yankees eventually, whether it’s this season or a little further in the future.
Boone said his conversation with the 20-year-old center fielder was “really good, positive.”
“Really, the message just being, go continue to build on what’s been a really strong 12 months for him,” Boone said.
Domínguez, the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was the youngest player in Yankees camp, and he made one of the strongest impressions. The switch-hitter, nicknamed “The Martian,” batted .455 (10-for-22) with a double, four homers and nine RBIs in 11 Grapefruit League games. Boone noted how well Domínguez was able to control the strike zone from both sides of the plate, showing a maturity that often eludes young players whose eagerness can often hamper their plate discipline.
The only thing Domínguez needs now is experience, and more seasoning. That will come in the form of regular playing time in the outfield, something that isn’t plentiful in a big league camp when multiple players are needing reps.
“His first big league camp went really well. He fit in really well; he performed really well,” Boone said. “Now the work doesn’t end. We believe he can be impactful up here. Continue to gain experience and that message of, ‘It’s get after it time.’ I’m excited to see where this year takes him.”
Even managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner took notice; he was in the building for Domínguez’s two-run homer on Saturday off the Phillies’ Connor Brogdon, calling the line-drive, 107.6 mph blast “impressive.”
“We put a lot of money into him, right?” Steinbrenner said, referring to Domínguez’s $5.1 million signing bonus in 2019. “That was my entire [international] budget, pretty much, a few years ago. That’s how much we believed in him, even then. He’s another one that came on really strong last year. It’s exciting.”
Boone also pointed to how much progress Domínguez made from 2021 to 2022 as a positive sign that he’s on the right path. Domínguez played at three levels in the Minor Leagues in ’22, slashing .273/.375/.461, while displaying solid defense in center and above-average speed on the basepaths.
His Spring Training performance only helped cement those early first impressions.
“Last year, from spring on, he just continued to get better and better all season long,” Boone said. “He had a really good year. He carried that into spring and performed really well. Kind of showed all of us that reason to be excited about what his future is."