There are many negatives heading into the 2020 season, but one of the biggest ones is not being able to see Jasson Dominguez rake this year.
There are Legends (capital L intended) such as Mickey Mantle or Derek Jeter. Then, there are legends, like that of Sidd Finch. That legend, of course, began with the April 1, 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated with an article titled “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch” written by George Plimpton.
According to Plimpton, Finch was an orphan raised by Yogis in Tibet, who could throw a fastball as fast as 168 miles per hour. Of course, you may notice the conspicuous date of April 1, 1985 – April Fool’s Day.
Finch may have been a hoax but the legend of The Martian may indeed be more fact than fiction. The alien in question is none other than Jasson Dominguez, and if all goes to plan he may be the first teenager to man Centerfield for the New York Yankees since Mickey Mantle, a man to whom he is often compared.
Dominguez, as has been well chronicled, was signed by the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic at just 16 years old, costing the Yankees just $5 million dollars. Dominguez is a switch-hitting unit that stands five feet ten inches tall and tips the scales at about 190 pounds.
To understand just how special Dominguez is considered to be, you must first understand the scouting system on which all professional baseball scouts operate. Players are graded on a 20-80 scale: 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.
Jason Dominguez, who is only 17 years old, has received grades of 60 or above on every single one of his five tools (Hit: 60, Power: 70, Run: 70, Fielding: 60, Arm: 60).
The scouts already see Jasson Dominguez as an above-average Major League talent.
His legend grew when, in the pouring rain of a fall day in 2019, Dominguez homered in his first professional at-bat, albeit a developmental league game. Expectations were high that Dominguez, who has been compared to the aforementioned Mantle and youngers like the Nationals’ Juan Soto, would dominate the minor leagues in 2020.
The absence of evidence of his greatness, though, is not evidence of its absence. Scouts believe Dominguez could succeed physically in the Major Leagues right now. He regularly produces 110mph exit velocities off of 95 mph pitching machines – but is that the equivalent of the proverbial kicker who hits 60 yarders in practice? Hardly. Squaring up a baseball remains the hardest thing to do in sports, and you can either do it or you can’t. Dominguez can.
We will have to stick to backyard highlights and sideline batting practice clips for another year, though, as COVID-19 continues to force patience upon us. The 2020 Minor League Season has been canceled.
I have to admit, I was kind of hoping the Yankees would carry Dominguez in their player pool for 2020. As 2020 has taught us, stranger things can happen. But alas it appears that even 2020 isn’t ready for the Martian Invasion.
This was a guest post by Derek Levandowski of NYY Recaps, check out his YouTube channel here