Either Jasson Dominguez's MLB cameo was enough to turn the tide, or the nation's top prospect evaluators finally started to see the development that had long been foretold prior to his big-league arrival.
Regardless of the source of the optimism, Dominguez rocketed up Baseball America's just-released Top 100 Prospects list for 2024, finally reaching the heights Yankees fans hoped he would upon his much-ballyhooed signing.
Though there hasn't been a version of BA's list that hasn't included Dominguez since his debut, the slugger fell all the way to No. 87 in 2022's preseason list, then ranked 67th and 55th in 2023's two editions of the experts' analysis.
Now? Dominguez's powerhouse big-league week, as well as .800+ OPS at Double-A and Triple-A, has him positioned at No. 16, well ahead of his prime and still turning just 21 years old in early February (with big-league time under his belt). Leave the Perazas in the past, too; Oswald is no longer ranked, but the Yankees still have six total prospects in the Top 100.
Jasson Dominguez, Yankees rank well in Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list
That's Spencer Jones, ready to make a similar leap next season if he plays to his abilities, at No. 46, followed by two other big-leaguers (Pereira and Wells) and breakout candidates Roderick Arias and Chase Hampton.
And, while Baseball Prospectus likes the Yankees' system a little bit less, they remain convinced that Jones deserves top billing, holding steadfast to their 2023 beliefs despite a slight step back on the field.
If Hampton fulfills the promise the Yankees believe he has, he'll swiftly make the fan base forget about Drew Thorpe (and so will Juan Soto's thundering bat and hopeful future extension, ideally). Perhaps Pereira's ranking, undaunted by the outfielder's September struggles, will also help the Yankees deal him for controllable pitching (though no one really knows how individual franchises assess prospect talent).
There are several wins on the docket here, though Dominguez swaying the doubters is clearly the biggest. For years, the local hype and outsized nicknaming didn't match up with expert assessments. All of a sudden, The Martian appears to have actually arrived in the eyes of those whose job it is to provide scrutiny. When his Tommy John rehab is completed -- Midsummer? Spring Training? -- the Yankees might just have another star to unleash and slot into Alex Verdugo's spot in the lineup.