Jasson Dominguez happy to see Volpe in MLB Admits ‘long way to go’

Jasson Dominguez is presented with a memento for his 2023 spring training achievements.

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Jasson Dominguez used to watch Aaron Judge, Josh Donaldson, and Anthony Rizzo on TV five years ago. But this year, he was in the same clubhouse with those players and played with them during the Yankees spring training.

He entered the spring camp as the Yankees’ No. 2 overall prospect and the youngest player in the top 10 for the team. Even though Jasson Dominguez is only 20, the 5-foot-9, 190-pound outfielder had a great spring at the plate. In 22 at-bats over 11 games, he hit .455/.520/1.045 with four home runs and nine RBI.

Jasson Dominguez feels like he still has a lot to learn before he can play in the major leagues for good.

“What I learned from the big leagues is that I have a lot to learn, that I got to keep developing…” he said. “I got a long way to go.”

When asked if he thought he needed to learn anything in particular, Jasson Dominguez replied, “Not really, just every tool; try to get better in every department.”

Jasson Dominguez Happy for Volpe, grateful to Bader

“When I saw Anthony Volpe [make the big league club] I was so happy for him,” he said. “Obviously I saw Volpe when I got [to Double-A], his progress, but like I said before I’m just focusing on controlling what I can control and that kind of decision is not on me. I just focus and do my job and other things happen.”

Jasson Dominguez was once in the same position as Anthony Volpe. He was happy to see the shortstop make the MLB team, but that doesn’t mean he thinks it’s his turn next.

Jasson Dominguez was lucky that while he was at big league camp, players, such as outfielder Harrison Bader, took him under their wing to help him do his job better. Even though Dominguez is usually a center fielder, he has started practicing every other outfield position and found himself was good at all of them.

“With Bader, I learned a few things in the outfield like how to get behind the ball, how to get to the spot quickly,” Dominguez said. “He’s a really good outfielder, a really good player and I learned that from him, and from other guys during spring training I just saw what they do, what’s their routine, and learned the good things about them, everybody on the team.”

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Being around and playing with major league players also enhanced Jasson Dominguez’s confidence, something he didn’t have to begin with.

Dominguez knows where he needs improvement

Jasson Dominguez smiled broadly and paused for a while when asked about his goals for this season. Many Yankees fans wanted the 20-year-old in the big leagues, but the team decided to send him to Double-A Somerset to start the season.

“My goal for this season is just stay healthy,” Jasson Dominguez said from TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, N.J., on Thursday, when his season opener was rained out. “Control what I can control.”

The man known as “The Martian” isn’t publicly campaigning for his arrival in The Bronx, but the buzz would grow if he picked up where he left off in spring training. Jasson Dominguez dazzled in his first big league camp with four home runs and .455 in 25 at-bats. He somehow met expectations that have always seemed impossible to meet.

Jasson Dominguez was signed with a franchise-record $5.1 million bonus out of the Dominican Republic in 2019. The switch-hitting center fielder was compared to Mickey Mantle and came with his out-of-this-world nickname. Because of the pandemic, he didn’t start playing professionally until 2021.

Jasson Dominguez is the newest sensation at the New York Yankees 2023 spring training.

A lot closer to his MLB cap

Last year, he hit 16 home runs, stole 37 bases, had an OPS of .837, and reached Double-A by the end of the season.

“He’s certainly a lot closer now,” manager Aaron Boone said last month, “and certainly on our radar with how the last 12 months have gone.”

Yankees moved Jasson Dominguez up from High-A to Double-A at the end of last season and played in five regular-season games. He had a hard time in those five games, going 2-for-19 with a batting average of .105. He hit a home run and a triple. But in the playoffs, the 20-year-old exploded hitting three home runs and driving in 10 runs. His 450/.560/.950 empowered the Somerset Patriots to win the championship for the Northeast Division of the Eastern League.

“It’s definitely gonna help because it’s kind of familiar now,” Dominguez said about his time playing in Double-A last season. “I got the experience, I played a couple of games and I know how it is, how it goes. It’s gonna be great.”

Last season, Jasson Dominguez only played five games with Somerset after crushing the pitchers he faced in Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.

“My decisions at the plate, what pitches are good to hit,” Dominguez said about his plate approach, which resulted in as many spring strikeouts (three) as walks. “I think that’s one thing that’s helped me a lot.”

Jasson Dominguez of the New York Yankees hit a home run against against the Phillies in the first spring training game on Feb 25, 2023.
AP

He also said that shagging fly balls with Gold Glover Harrison Bader in the center field helped him. But what he liked most about his first spring training in the big leagues was the people he hung out with.

“The best part is [just] being there,” Dominguez said before listing players he knew from TV before he actually met them. “Being able to see those guys — I never thought before I would be in the same clubhouse as [Aaron] Judge or Anthony Rizzo or [Josh] Donaldson. That’s the best part about it.”

He didn’t want to say when he would be able to hang out with those guys again in public.

At the end of spring training, Jasson Dominguez made a big Yankees impression. Anthony Volpe‘s age of 21 did not stop the Yankees from making him their regular shortstop. Dominguez, who is a level behind Volpe in the system, said that he is “so happy” for his friend but is trying not to look too far ahead.

“That kind of decision is not on me,” Dominguez said in English, a second language that he is speaking well. “I just focus on doing my job.”

This season, his job is likely to be more varied. Jasson Dominguez is the Yankees’ second-best prospect, behind Volpe. In his two professional seasons, he has only played center field, but the Yankees want to start moving him around. Dominguez said that he has started practicing in left field and that he is “feeling good about it.” The Yankees could have a hole in left field, where Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera have played.

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