Jasson Dominguez’s unique hitting approach lures Yankees to call him early

Jasson Dominguez of the New York Yankees
Sara Molnick
Thursday August 31, 2023

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The Yankees’ approach toward Jasson Dominguez has few comparisons in the MLB. There are seldom any example of a prospect, who gets an MLB call within a week of making his Triple-A debut. But for Jasson Dominguez, it turned out to be a possibility solely because of his selective batting style.

Less than a week ago, PinstripesNation revealed how the Yankees are planning to part away with Harrison Bader and replace him with the Martian.

Although it might feel like Jasson Dominguez has been here for a long time, the excitement about him only started about four years ago. That means he has been a part of the Yankees team for about 20 percent of his life. And he is now closer than ever to joining the team in The Bronx. When he was 20 years and 196 days old, Jasson Dominguez played his first game in Triple-A on Tuesday.

Just a day after putting Bader under waivers, the Yankees extended the MLB call to the young hitter, who continues to impress with his bat.

Jasson Dominguez’s hitting catapults him toward the Yankees

In the International League, where most players are around 26.4 years old and pitchers are around 27 years old this season, Jasson Dominguez’s performance was a good match, even though he’s younger than most. Against a pitcher named Drew Hutchison, who is 33 years old and has played in the major leagues for seven seasons, Jasson Dominguez got his first hit in Triple-A baseball. It was a single that helped bring in two runs.

Later in the game, he hit a double against a pitcher named Ben Bowden, who is 28 years old and throws with his left hand. This pitcher has played in 39 games in the major leagues before. Then, Jasson Dominguez hit another single that brought in a run. This was against another left-handed pitcher named Taylor Lehman, who is 27 years old. This pitcher has not played in the major leagues yet.

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Overall, Jasson Dominguez got three hits out of six times he went up to bat. He was playing with other players like Franchy Cordero, who is 28 years old, Wilmer Difo, who is 31 years old, and Jake Lamb, who is 32 years old. These three players have played in the major leagues for a total of more than 15 years.

Jasson Dominguez quickly proved that he could shine in a Triple-A lineup that had experienced players from the major leagues. According to Joe Migliaccio, the Yankees’ hitting coordinator, regardless of the stadium, jersey, or pitcher, Jasson Dominguez’s excellent preparation and talent ensure his performance. He emphasized that there’s no doubt about his ability to perform well.

After his promotion to Triple-A last week, everyone was expecting Jasson Dominguez to make the Yankees MLB team in 2024. A similar situation happened with Anthony Volpe last year when he moved up to Triple-A in September and then went on to secure a spot in the big leagues for the next season. However, the Yankees’ slide and Jasson Dominguez’s progress, particularly with his recent strong performance, enticed the Yankees to call him to the MLB roster ahead of all expectations.

The Martian’s impressive journey

A switch-hitting outfielder, Jasson Dominguez didn’t start off strong at Double-A Somerset. In his initial 67 games until the end of June, he had a batting average of only .197 with a .702 OPS. He struck out 85 times and walked 56 times in 304 plate appearances.

However, something changed when July began. In his last 42 games at Somerset, Jasson Dominguez improved significantly, hitting .333 with an .895 OPS. He struck out 44 times and walked 21 times in 202 plate appearances. He turned things around after a slow start at Double-A Somerset and performed much better from July onwards. This improvement earned him a promotion to Triple-A.

Jasson Dominguez at his first spring training game on Feb 25, 2023.

According to Migliaccio, they observed positive trends in Jasson Dominguez’s performance during the second half of the year at Double-A. Migliaccio stated that a lot of credit for this improvement goes to Jasson Dominguez himself. He didn’t panic or make drastic changes to his stance, mechanics, or training approach. Instead, he stuck to a high-quality, professional routine that he follows every day.

Migliaccio emphasized that the most impressive aspect is Jasson Dominguez’s consistency in maintaining this routine despite being only 20 years old. Whether he has a tough game where he goes 0-for-3 with three strikeouts or a great game with a 3-for-4 performance including two doubles and a home run, Jasson Dominguez has a routine tailored to his specific goals for improvement. Migliaccio finds it remarkable how dedicated Jasson is to his daily practice in the batting cage.

According to Migliaccio, Jasson Dominguez faced some unfortunate outcomes due to bad luck at the start of the season. He highlighted that Jasson’s strong work ethic and his personality which had a positive impact on others continued unchanged. Along with this, his ability to judge pitches at the plate, deciding when to swing at pitches within the strike zone, and avoiding swings at pitches outside the zone, also remained consistent.

Migliaccio remarked that they felt like an impressive performance was on the horizon for Jasson Dominguez. He explained that the focus was on improving his ability to face experienced pitchers and to find ways to use his strengths against the pitchers’ strategies. Migliaccio also acknowledged Jasson Dominguez’s skill in adapting to this approach, evident in his progress while in Double-A. This progress led to his promotion to the next level, indicating his improvement.

Jasson Dominguez has been getting better at hitting baseball this year. This is partly because he’s growing and getting stronger. He’s been able to hit the ball more accurately and make smarter choices about when to swing the bat. Joe Migliaccio, who helps the Yankees with hitting, thinks Dominguez’s improvement is because he’s choosing which pitches to swing at more wisely.

Migliaccio said that in Jasson Dominguez’s first year in Single-A in 2021, he swung and missed 25 percent of the good pitches to hit. This was more than the average for the league. But this year in Double-A, that number went down to 18 percent, which is better. According to Migliaccio, Jasson Dominguez is now chasing after pitches outside the strike zone about 10 percent less than he did in 2021.

Yankees prospect Jasson Dominguez is playing for the AAA RailRiders on Aug 27, 2023.
@RailRidersTT

Migliaccio explained that if he were to break it down, in the past when Jasson Dominguez was younger, he used to swing at all the pitches within the strike zone and those outside of it. But now, he swings at everything within the strike zone and avoids swinging at anything outside of it.

That aside, it’s important to note that Jasson Dominguez still has a lot of space for getting better as he keeps progressing. From the very beginning, Migliaccio had a firm belief that they could help the Martian improve his ability to hit the ball higher without sacrificing his contact rate. He pointed out that there had been a significant seven percent improvement in his ability to make contact with pitches within the strike zone, which is important for the impact he wants to have.

Yankees expectations shouldn’t overburden Jasson Dominguez

There’s another thing that the Yankees are really happy about when it comes to Jasson Dominguez. He’s their third most promising player, according to Baseball America’s rankings halfway through the season. And it’s not just about what he does on the field that’s exciting. They started noticing this during the spring when Jasson Dominguez did really well while practicing with the big league team. And this impressive behavior has been going on all year long.

Migliaccio emphasized the importance of understanding how special Jasson Dominguez is as a person. He described him as a really good person and an amazing young man with a great sense of humor. Migliaccio also pointed out how well Jasson Dominguez carries himself. He noted that Jasson Dominguez’s exceptional character with his impressive baseball skills has made him the type of player that an organization would want to shape its future around for potentially the next 10, 12, or even 15 years.

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