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Here’s what to know about Domínguez’s debut

Here’s what to know about Domínguez’s debut

HOUSTON — Jasson Domínguez’s aggressive burst out of the batter’s box caught Aaron Boone’s attention, prompting the Yankees manager to perk up at his dugout perch. It was the ninth inning of a Grapefruit League game — March 16 against the Pirates, to be exact — and the super-prospect known as “The Martian” was spicing up a sleepy affair by legging out a hustle double.

“You really saw him accelerate and see him run the way he is able to when he really gets to top speed,” Boone recalled this week. “For being built the way he is, kind of stocky and thick, that jumped out at me – like, ‘Whoa, there’s another gear there.’”

One of the most celebrated international prospects in recent memory, having drawn early comparisons to Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout before scoring a $5.1 million signing bonus out of the Dominican Republic, Domínguez can begin forging his own big-league story on Friday. The Yankees plan to add the switch-hitting outfielder to the active roster, with catcher Austin Wells also set for promotion from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

What to expect from Yanks prospect Domínguez in bigs

“Everyone has asked me what I’ve thought of him, and the only time I’ve ever played with him was during spring,” said Yankees rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe. “I’m like, ‘I don’t think I’ve seen a better player.’ So just based off that, I’m super excited to keep on playing with him.”

How can you watch the game?

Friday’s Yankees game against the Astros is set for 8: 10 p.m. ET (7: 10 p.m. CT) at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The game will be broadcast on Amazon Prime Video. It’s also the free game of the day on MLB.TV (out of market).

What position will Domínguez play?

With Harrison Bader having been claimed off waivers by the Reds, center field is open for Domínguez to pick up regular playing time through September. The majority of Domínguez’s professional experience has been in center field (208 starts in 295 games), though with a nod to their needs at the big league level, the Yankees did begin offering him reps in left field this season (47 starts, 44 of which came with Double-A Somerset).

“He’s capable playing out there [in center field],” Boone said. “We’ve obviously played him in left some too this year, trying to start to introduce the corner to him. He has, again, all the raw tools to do it: arm strength, speed, but still an improving player out there as well.”

Why is this happening now?

With the Yankees last in the American League East and in danger of their first losing season since 1992, management has made a conscious shift toward next season. Domínguez’s promotion follows moves to offer more playing time to younger prospects like infielder Oswald Peraza and outfielder Everson Pereira.

It helps that Domínguez has been on fire since his promotion to Triple-A, batting .419 (13-for-31) with three doubles, a triple, 10 RBIs and three stolen bases in nine games. Domínguez batted .254/.367/.414 with 15 homers, 66 RBIs and 37 stolen bases in 109 games at Double-A Somerset, and the Yankees were going to have to add him to the 40-man roster this offseason anyway to prevent Domínguez from being claimed in the Rule 5 Draft.

As should be expected of a 20-year-old, Domínguez is hardly a finished product; in some respects, he’s still quite raw. It will be a challenge to cut down his swings and misses against big league pitching; he’s struck out 133 times in 456 at-bats this season, though those numbers improved in the second half.

“He’s got power, bat speed and strike zone discipline. He’s had that really from a young age, the ability to understand the strike zone,” Boone said. “We even saw that in Spring Training; you just saw a lot of real quality at-bats. So he has all the physical and raw tools you need, coupled with the DNA to control the strike zone. Now it’s a matter of, can you take that to the highest level in the land and do it consistently there? That’s what we’ll start to see.”

How highly is Domínguez rated?

MLB Pipeline ranked Domínguez as the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect and has him listed at No. 77 overall in baseball.

Will he play every day?

Boone said that there is no set plan for Domínguez’s playing time, adding, “He’ll play a lot; all these young guys are going to play a lot. We’ll just day by day see what matchups are and who’s available and all that, but he’s going to play a lot.” Expect to see Domínguez in the lineup more often than not as the Yankees attempt to evaluate if they see Domínguez developing into their starting centerfielder for the 2024 season.

What uniform number will Domínguez wear?

Stay tuned. Domínguez was wearing No. 7 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, which is retired for Mantle. He was wearing No. 12 at Somerset, which currently belongs to Isiah Kiner-Falefa. This spring, Domínguez was issued No. 89.



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