First HR of season for 'The Martian' may not have landed yet

April 19th, 2023

It hasn't been the smoothest transition to Double-A so far for Jasson Domínguez. But maybe the Yankees' No. 2 prospect (and No. 41 overall, per MLB Pipeline) is finding his swing.

Domínguez's first signature moment of 2023 for Double-A Somerset came Tuesday, when he slugged his first home run of the year in the Patriots' 17-9 rout of New Hampshire. The game-tying, two-run shot disappeared deep into the New Jersey night beyond the tall scoreboard in right-center field at TD Bank Ballpark, spurring the Patriots to a commanding five-run seventh-inning rally. Domínguez added a sac fly an inning later in Somerset's eight-run eighth.

They were exactly the sort of swings the Yankees hope to see from Domínguez, who entered play homerless and hitting just .077 (2-for-26) over his first eight games of 2023. The switch-hitting outfielder nicknamed "The Martian" also struggled in a tiny sample after reaching Double-A down the stretch in 2022, going 2-for-19 (.105) in his first five regular-season games at Somerset before helping the Patriots to their first Eastern League championship with a huge performance in the clincher. Prior to that, Domínguez enjoyed fine showings at both Single-A and High-A in '22, hitting .273/.375/.461 with 16 homers and 37 steals while advancing three levels at age 19.

Domínguez also made a big impression earlier this year at big league Spring Training, where he batted .455 (10-for-22) with a double, four homers and nine RBIs in 11 Grapefruit League games as the youngest player in Yankees camp. He'd only played five games at Double-A up to that point, inexperience that didn't make him a serious candidate to claim an Opening Day roster spot in the Bronx. But as Domínguez continued to impress, the Yankees didn't rule out the possibility of him reaching the big leagues at some point in 2023.

“There’s no doubt, he’s a promising-looking player,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told's Bryan Hoch in March. “I’ve been impressed with how at ease he is, how much he seems to enjoy the game and enjoy his teammates. It looks to me like in the batter’s box, the game is moving slow for him. He’s got that in his DNA, that knowledge of the strike zone. He lays off pitches easy and has really good thump from both sides.”

Those abilities made Domínguez one of the most hyped international prospects of all-time when he signed with the Yankees for $5.1 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, when he drew comparisons to Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout as a 16-year-old. While unrealistic expectations will always be impossible to live up to, swings like the one Domínguez took Tuesday serve to remind how high his ceiling still is.

On Wednesday, he'll be challenged by the No. 2 left-handed pitching prospect in the game, Ricky Tiedemann, when the Patriots host the Blue Jays' Double-A affiliate New Hampshire. Watch what happens for FREE on the MiLB Game of the Day.