FORTY-SIX DAYS. Many reports indicate that is the only thing separating Jasson Dominguez and a contract with the New York Yankees.
Dominguez, a 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic, is the #1 International Prospect in the 2019 class according to MLB.com and is expected to sign with the Yankees when the international signing period officially opens on July 2nd.
When it comes to international amateur free agents, the phrase “expected to sign” typically means the two sides have already agreed to the deal and they are just counting down the days until the signing period opens to put pen to paper. And from the sounds of it, the dollar amount on that paper is going to be a historical one.
According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Dominguez is expected to command a signing bonus north of $5 million. To put that in to perspective, the largest signing bonus the Yankees have ever given an international amateur was $3.2 million to Dermis Garcia in July of 2014 followed by the $3 million they shelled out to Gary Sanchez in 2009. Excuse me while I go out on a limb here but I’d say that $3 million to ‘El Kraken’ was money well spent.
But we’re the Yankees, there is probably $5 million laying in a drawer in Cashman’s desk he forgot about. Who cares? Well, the answer to that is the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The most recent CBA states that each year teams will be given an initial spending cap for international amateur free agents based on market size – this means smaller market teams receive a higher cap in an attempt to level the playing field – and are then allowed to acquire an additional 60% of that cap via trade.
The Yankees recently learned their international bonus pool for the upcoming 2019-2020 signing period would be roughly $5.4 million with a potential max of around $8.6 million if they can acquire the entirety of the 60% additional allowance.
If you’re still awake after that CBA talk, you now understand the magnitude of shelling out $5 million of that allotment to a 16-year-old. So what do scouts see in this kid that makes him worthy of this monster payday?
This piece from a scouting report Badler posted back in February of this year may help you wrap your mind around why Cashman and the rest of the Yankees’ front office are willing to take such a risk:
“Dominguez has an exciting level of explosiveness, athleticism and loud tools, with 60s and 70s (on the 20-80 scouting scale) scattered across his tool set. He’s a bursty athlete with well above-average speed and arm strength, excellent bat speed and big power from both sides of the plate coming from his muscular, 5-foot-11, 195-pound frame.”
Many other scouts have noted his reputation as a ‘baseball rat’ and believe his current tool set is already enough to make him one of the top prospects in the Yankees organization. In fact, according to FanGraphs, once he signs his contract and officially becomes a pro he will likely be placed in the 100-135 range of their current prospect rankings across the entire league.
Listen, I have no idea if this kid will become the player worthy of this kind of money but I’d be lying if I told you I saw that left-handed swing of his and didn’t picture how many baseballs he’d put over Bald Vinny and the rest of the Bleacher Creatures’ heads in Section 203.