Domínguez avoids hype while leading Yankees prospects in AFL

October 19th, 2022

No international amateur ever has signed with more fanfare than Jasson Dominguez.

The Dominican outfielder elicited comparisons to some of the best athletes in baseball history -- Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Mike Trout -- before the Yankees paid him a $5.1 million bonus in July 2019. He quickly earned the nickname "The Martian" because of his out-of-the-world tools. He already has played in two SiriusXM All-Star Futures Games as a teenager, homering in this year's contest at Dodger Stadium.

MLB Pipeline's No. 39 overall prospect says he's aware of all of the hype but tries to tune it out.

"I'm very aware of the high expectations that people have, but I try my best not to listen or pay too much attention to these kinds of pressures," Domínguez said through interpreter Annalee Ramirez. "I just focus on what I came to do and what I do best. I know I have been compared to a lot of big names, but my hope and what I am working toward is that my career is as good as theirs, if not better."

The latest step in Domínguez's development is an assignment to the Arizona Fall League. The fourth-youngest player in the developmental circuit, he went 5-for-27 (.185) with eight walks in his first nine games with the Mesa Solar Sox.

The Yankees' No. 2 prospect began 2022 in the Single-A Florida State League, then became the youngest regular (age 19) in the High-A South Atlantic League when he arrived there in July. He was also the second-youngest player in the Double-A Eastern League when he moved there for the final week of the season.

Domínguez batted .273/.375/.461 with 16 homers, 72 walks and 37 steals in 120 games across the three levels. He believes that facing against older competition is helping him become a better player.

"As you continue to move up, you come across people who are more prepared and intelligent when it comes to the game," Domínguez said. "So if you are more prepared and intelligent, then you're going to continue to move quickly. I want to work on everything and I want to improve on everything."

Listed at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, Domínguez is considerably stronger than that and at least 20 pounds heavier. He generates tremendous bat speed from both sides of the plate, controls the strike zone better than most teenagers and has solid-to-plus speed, arm strength and center-field ability. While New York is trying to avoid rushing him, he's on course to reach Yankee Stadium as a 21-year-old in 2024.

Yankees hitters in the Fall League

Tyler Hardman, 3B/1B: New York made Hardman its fifth-round pick in 2021 after he won the Big 12 Conference batting title by hitting .397 at Oklahoma. His right-handed power is his best tool, and he belted 22 homers in 111 games while hitting .255/.320/.464 between High-A and Double-A.

T.J. Rumfield, 1B: A 12th-round choice from Virginia Tech in 2021, Rumfield stands out most with his physicality (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) and disciplined approach at the plate. He batted .284/.381/.411 with four homers in 52 games in High-A.

Yankees pitchers in the Fall League

Nelson Alvarez, RHP: Alvarez compiled a 2.85 ERA, .184 average-against and 65 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings in High-A. The 2019 13th-rounder from South Florida works with a 92- to 96-mph fastball and a decent 79- to 82-mph slider.

Yorlin Calderon, RHP: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, Calderon sets up an 82- to 85-mph changeup with a low-90s sinker. He threw a seven-inning no-hitter in his first start of 2022 and posted a 3.88 ERA with a 75/16 K/BB ratio in 58 innings between Rookie ball and Single-A.

Shaine McNeely, RHP: A 16th-rounder out of Cal State Fullerton in 2019, McNeely sports a 90- to 94-mph fastball and an 82- to 85-mph slider with high spin rates. He logged a 5.28 ERA with a 25/4 K/BB ratio in 15 1/3 innings between Rookie ball and Single-A.

Leam Mendez, RHP: The best of New York's AFL mound prospects, Mendez misses bats with a 92- to 95-mph fastball with riding action and flashes a promising mid-80s splitter. A Cuban signed in February, he had a 4.30 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings between Rookie ball and Single-A.