With the official start date for big league Spring Training uncertain, the Yankees plan to take a look at some of their top prospects not on the 40-man roster during a minicamp this week at the club’s Tampa, Fla., facility. Shortstop Anthony Volpe and outfielder Jasson Dominguez are among those expected to take the field.
The 20-year-old Volpe is likely to begin the season at Double-A Somerset, coming off a strong campaign in which he hit a combined .294/.423/.604 with 35 doubles, 27 homers and 86 RBIs in 109 games for Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.
The Yanks’ first-round selection (30th overall) in the 2019 MLB Draft, Volpe is projected to be ready for the Majors as soon as 2023 -- a consideration for club brass, as their big league shortstop situation remains unsettled. Shortstop Oswald Peraza, the team’s No. 3 prospect, also could see the Majors in ’23.
“[Volpe] broke out in just about every way,” said Kevin Reese, who was recently promoted to the Yankees’ vice president of player development. “There’s always the next challenge at the next level, and that next level for him is to go to Double-A and continue to have that kind of success. The game speeds up a bit, but he’s been a guy that has handled that all really well at a young age.”
In a recent appearance on the YES Network, Volpe said that he has outlined several personal goals in mind for the upcoming season.
“I want to hit breaking balls better than I did this past year,” Volpe said. “I’m working really hard on my arm strength, doing a weighted ball program. Stuff like that; not really results-oriented goals, but just stuff to try and help me become a better player that down the road can help the team.”
Like Volpe, Dominguez’s workouts also figure to draw attention. Some Yankees officials have attempted in recent months to tamp down hype surrounding the switch-hitter, who turns 19 on Monday and has received physical comparisons to the likes of Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout.
Nicknamed “The Martian” for his otherworldly on-field abilities, Dominguez received a $5.1 million signing bonus in 2019. One of Dominguez’s autographed baseball cards sold at auction this week for $474,000, a staggering haul for a player who has yet to log an at-bat above Low-A.
Dominguez’s first cracks at professional pitching generated a .252/.353/.379 slash line across 56 games with Low-A Tampa and a rookie-level club last summer, with five homers, nine doubles, 19 RBIs and nine stolen bases. Dominguez struck out 73 times against 27 walks in 206 at-bats.
Reese said that the organization is “extremely excited” about getting Dominguez back on the field, believing that more reps will help his raw ability shine through. Dominguez seems likely to begin his ’22 campaign with Low-A Tampa.
“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.”