The Future of the AL East? Top prospects Holliday, Domínguez homer in same game

June 9th, 2024

You can expect to see this in the American League East for years to come.

It's easy to foresee Orioles top prospect and Yankees top prospect having plenty of head-to-head matchups in one of MLB's most competitive divisions going forward. This weekend they competed against one another for the first time at Triple-A and both rose to the occasion Saturday, as Holliday and Domínguez traded homers during Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's come-from-behind 10-7 win over Norfolk at PNC Field.

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Domínguez threw the first punch, pulling a solo homer off Chayce McDermott (Orioles' No. 8 prospect) in the first inning well into the right-field seats. Holliday countered in the third inning, cranking a solo shot of his own off left-hander Edgar Barclay over the right-center-field wall.

It was Holliday's seventh homer of the season; he finished 1-for-4 with a walk and has slashed .302/.431/.566 over his past 15 games for Norfolk. It was Domínguez's fifth homer in 18 games during his current rehab assignment -- one in which he has slashed .348/.403/.636 across three levels -- as he continues to work his way back from Tommy John surgery. He also doubled later, finishing 2-for-4.

Together, it was a prime example of the serious upside both Holliday, the game's top overall prospect as well as Baltimore's No. 1, and Domínguez, baseball's No. 30 prospect per MLB Pipeline, bring in spades. They are only 300 days apart in age (Domínguez is 21, Holliday 20), but both made their debuts as 20-year-olds -- Holliday earlier this year and Domínguez down the stretch in 2023.

And they sport similar pedigree: Holliday was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 Draft, while Domínguez was one of the most hyped international prospects ever when he signed in 2019, earning a $5.1 million bonus and the nickname "The Martian” for his otherworldly talent. Now Holliday and Domínguez appear to be on similar trajectories back to the Majors, with similar overall timelines.

Domínguez hit four homers in a promising debut last September before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, and is tearing the cover off the ball since returning to the field, hitting .348 with nine extra-base hits and 11 RBIs during his current rehab assignment. The Yankees extended his rehab an additional ten days on June 4, transferring Domínguez to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for his second stint at Triple-A. He is expected to be optioned there when the rehab assignment officially ends on June 14.

But there is no reason Domínguez can't be back in the Bronx in short order sometime this summer. And if Juan Soto's forearm injury lingers or progresses into something more serious, it could be much sooner than that.

Holliday made his MLB debut on April 10 but struggled mightily over his first 10 games in Baltimore. He's still hitting a productive .274/.428/.475 at Norfolk this season, though his homer Saturday was his first since May 28. It remains to be seen if the Orioles will summon their top prospect again later the year as they battle for another playoff spot.

The Orioles entered the day trailing the Yankees by 3.5 games in the AL East, with so, so much still baseball left to play.