After a sterling season that only got better as it progressed, the New York Yankees sent top prospect Jasson Dominguez to the Arizona Fall League to wrap things up and get a few extra games in against top competition.
It did not go well.
After conquering Low-A, dominating High-A, and hitting the ground hard at Double-A before rebounding and leading Somerset to a championship (.450/.560/.950 with 3 homers and 10 RBI in 5 games), Dominguez seemed worn down in the AFL, hitting just .159 with very little pop in a small-ish sample size.
No sugar coating it. Luckily, the rest of Dominguez’s 19-year-old campaign doesn’t need much sugar coating to seem impressive, unless you’re Randy Miller and his Anonymous Scout friend who want to key in on the occasional hustle lapses of someone OPS’ing .907 at High-A as a teenager.
The ceiling on Dominguez has likely shifted downward since he’s arrived stateside, and all publications agree he ranks below both Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe in terms of future projectability. Still, after being dropped significantly in the rankings prior to 2022, he seems to have risen back up into the upper tier in most league-wide groupings after what he accomplished last season.
Which leaves us … here. The Arizona Fall League is the cream of the prospect crop, and Dominguez couldn’t hack it (for any number of reasons). In MLB Pipeline’s post-AFL top prospect rankings, he slotted in at 13th in the league’s top 30. He genuinely struggled. Also, by the nature of the league, he was ranked almost exclusively behind elite prospects.
Cause for concern that he was the worst among the best? Still an honor to be nominated? Yankees fans should be a bit conflicted here.
Arizona Fall League Top 30 Prospects: Should Yankees fans be encouraged or discouraged by Jasson Dominguez ranking?
According to prospect expert Jim Callis’ assessment:
"The Martian batted just .159/.250/.217 and his tools looked good rather than otherworldly. Yet he’s still a 19-year-old switch-hitter who projects to have at least solid speed and power, and evaluators think his floor is a big league regular."
Dominguez is no longer an unknown quantity. He’s done a good bit of growing between the ages of 16 and 19. He lost a year of competition to the pandemic, which he’ll never get back. What fans have seen hasn’t matched the ridiculously unfair comparisons to a Mike Trout/Bo Jackson hybrid who can run back kickoffs for touchdowns and won’t stop tweeting about the weather.
That’s OK, though. As Callis agrees — even after assessing Dominguez at his low point — The Martian still projects to be a big league regular at worst.
How dominant a regular has yet to be determined. It seems encouraging, though, that Dominguez still ranks in the top half of a prospect-heavy league’s Top 30 prospects, despite putting almost nothing on tape that warrants such a mention during his month in the desert. The five months prior did the arguing for him.