4 homers in 9 games? Domínguez looks the part

Yankees' No. 2 prospect making an impression: 'His future is bright'

March 11th, 2023

TAMPA, Fla. -- Jasson Domínguez popped out with the bases loaded in his first at-bat on Saturday afternoon, then grounded out with two men on his second time up. The third time would be the charm.

“The Martian” connected for his fourth Grapefruit League home run in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 6-3 split-squad loss to the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field, a two-run missile off Connor Brogdon that left the bat at 107.6 mph and soared over the right-field wall.

“I was looking for a breaking pitch there, really,” Domínguez said through an interpreter. “But at the same time, you’ve always got to be ready for the fastball. So I reacted to the fastball and was able to connect.”

The youngest player in big league camp at age 20 and the Yanks’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Domínguez has been among the Bombers’ standouts so far in the exhibition slate.

Through nine games, Domínguez is batting .421 (8-for-19) with nine RBIs, three walks and a stolen base, striking out just twice.

Domínguez has played in just five games at the Double-A level, and though that inexperience figures to keep him out of the Opening Day center-field mix even with Harrison Bader nursing an oblique injury, manager Aaron Boone could see a scenario where Domínguez helps at the big league level this season.

“There’s no doubt, he’s a promising-looking player,” Boone said. “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.”

Domínguez, who alternates between Spanish and English in interviews as he grows more confident in a second language, said that he has enjoyed mixing in with the Yankees’ veterans this spring. Domínguez said that he has had productive conversations with Aaron Judge, Jose Trevino, Luis Severino and Domingo Germán, among others.

“It was hard to have an expectation, because I had no idea how it was going to be or what to expect from it,” Domínguez said. “But now being here, man, it’s been great. A great experience. I’m very happy to be here.”

Germán, who started Saturday’s game and permitted two runs over 2 1/3 innings, said that Domínguez has been “very impressive.”

“For a young kid to come in here and show that kind of poise in big league camp, that’s a skill,” Germán said. “His future is bright, I’m sure of it. He’s very good. You can see him every day; his discipline is there, he’s always paying attention.”

Boone said that Domínguez has made great offensive strides since the beginning of the 2022 season, and the organization would like to see him continue to fine-tune his defensive skills.

In the first inning on Saturday, Domínguez appeared to take a circuitous route to a wind-blown Will Toffey sacrifice fly, throwing home on a few hops as Kody Clemens slid home safely with Philadelphia’s second run.

“Athletically speaking, he certainly can play in the center of the field, with how well he runs,” Boone said. “There’s been a couple of balls off the wall that have gotten the best of him. More than anything, he just needs to continue to get experience and reps and play. It’s been really cool to see his improvement for such a young player.”