Jasson Dominguez’s Yankees debut sets a milestone unprecedented in 40 years

Jasson Dominguez becomes the Yankees' youngest player to debut when he steps onto the field vs. the Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 1, 2023.
Sara Molnick
Saturday September 2, 2023

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The debut of Jasson Dominguez in pinstripes is sure to go down the New York Yankees’ memory lane as a remarkable milestone. Aged 20 years and 206 days, the rookie, who made his debut in the big leagues on Friday, became the team’s youngest player to do so in nearly four decades.

In his very first at-bat, facing off against the Yankees’ perennial postseason rivals the Astros, Jasson Dominguez immediately demonstrated his distinctiveness. He blasted the Yankees’ nemesis and future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander to a 360foot home run that exited his bat at 100.2 mph. Batting from the left side against the right-handed pitcher, Jasson Dominguez let a curveball go for a strike before smashing a line-drive, two-run homer over the left-field scoreboard and into the seats, marking an impressive opposite-field hit at Minute Maid Park.

Sporting jersey No. 89, Jasson Dominguez made history by becoming the Yankees’ youngest player to step onto the field for a game since RHP Jose Rijo, who was just 19 years and 54 days old when he did so on July 6, 1984. Additionally, he became the youngest position player for the Yankees since Stan Javier, who was 20 years and 111 days old, achieving this feat on April 15, 1984. This moment also marked a rare occurrence for the Yankees, as it was the first time since August 13, 2016, that two debutant players in pinstripes got a berth in the starting lineup of the same game.

Jasson Dominguez showed exceptional talent on his Yankees debut


The anticipation surrounding Jasson Dominguez was already substantial when he made his Major League debut on Friday. However, his debut became even more impressive when he stepped up to bat.

In his very first career plate appearance, the 20-year-old Jasson Dominguez sent a two-run home run sailing off the bat against Justin Verlander. This remarkable first impression was in perfect alignment with the sky-high expectations that had surrounded the highly-touted prospect.

Verlander delivered a 94 mph fastball within the strike zone, and Dominguez, batting from the left side, crushed the ball, sending it a distance of 360 feet in the opposite direction, right into the Crawford Boxes in left field.

This pivotal hit gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead on their way to a 6-2 victory over the Astros on Friday. Jasson Dominguez, who managed to go 1-for-4 in his MLB debut just ten days after joining the Triple-A, etched his name in the Yankees history as the only one to blast a home run in the very first at-bat after Aaron Judge’s similar feat in 2016.

While the excitement surrounding Jasson Dominguez has been nothing short of extraordinary since he signed for $5.1 million from the Dominican Republic in 2019, even he didn’t entirely anticipate making his MLB debut at the tender age of 20.

Jasson Dominguez expressed his surprise, stating that he hadn’t expected to reach this point so quickly. He conveyed his happiness about the situation during the Friday afternoon interview through an interpreter, just before he was assigned the fifth spot in the batting lineup and began his role in center field.

If the Yankees‘ season had unfolded as originally envisioned, Jasson Dominguez probably would have reached his highest level of play at Triple-A RailRiders this year. However, as the possibility of making the playoffs seemed increasingly remote as September arrived, the Yankees chose to proactively assess their future prospects. This led to catcher Austin Wells also making his Major League debut on Friday, as the team looked ahead to evaluate their young talents.

Yankees ecstatic after the Martian’s debut


During the last month of the season, with a less intense atmosphere, Jasson Dominguez will take on the role of the Yankees’ primary center fielder. This opportunity allows him to accumulate valuable experience, and it provides the organization with a chance to gain deeper insights into their highly regarded prospect.

Aaron Boone expressed his belief that Jasson Dominguez has the potential to become a highly skilled player. He noted that the rookie was a work in progress and emphasized that they would have to observe how his career unfolded, considering his young age and exceptional talent. Boone anticipates that, in several years, Jasson Dominguez would develop into an accomplished player. The Yankees manager also mentioned that Jasson Dominguez is starting his journey in the big leagues, allowing him to shape his own narrative, and they will monitor his development and progress as he continues his career. Overall, Boone sees Jasson Dominguez as having the potential to become an outstanding player.

While Jasson Dominguez acknowledged his surprise at his swift arrival in the big leagues, Boone had a different perspective. According to the manager, he and bench coach Carlos Mendoza had their first encounter with Jasson Dominguez back in 2019, after the season had ended, when they visited the Yankees’ academy in the Dominican Republic.

Boone reminisced about the time when they visited the academy in the Dominican Republic immediately after Jasson Dominguez was signed. While observing the player during batting practice alongside Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar, they were struck by his exceptional skill set, even at the age of 16.

Furthermore, the Yankees manager noted that Jasson Dominguez had a welcoming smile and conducted himself with remarkable composure.

Although the immense expectations that have surrounded Jasson Dominguez since his signing, often drawing comparisons to current and future Hall of Famers, were arguably unjust to place upon the player, the Yankees are of the opinion that Jasson Dominguez has managed these expectations effectively.

In him, they see a laid-back young individual who has earned the respect and camaraderie of his teammates. Jasson Dominguez maintains a composed demeanor, no matter the circumstances on the field.

Aaron Judge mentioned that they were celebrating with excitement akin to children when Jasson Dominguez hit that two-run homer.

“We were jumping up and down like little kids when Dominguez hit that two-run,” Aaron Judge said.

The Martian landed

Jasson Dominguez boasts an impressive nickname, “The Martian,” which seems fitting for him. The sturdy switch-hitting phenom from the Dominican Republic often appears to be from another world when he wields a baseball bat. By the age of 16, he had become a millionaire five times over, signifying the extent of the Yankees’ desire for him after observing his workouts.

During Friday’s game, Jasson Dominguez had the pleasure of having his parents, aunts, uncles, and a host of friends and family in attendance.

Jasson Dominguez mentioned that when he reflects on his origins and place of birth, as well as the journey he undertook to reach this point, it undoubtedly becomes a special and significant moment for him.

The Yankees likely experienced their most enjoyable game of the year in this series opener at Minute Maid Park. With five rookies in the starting lineup and six in total, a blend of seasoned players and newcomers excelled in a resounding 6-2 victory.

Jasson Dominguez expressed that he anticipated experiencing a range of emotions when stepping onto the field. He acknowledged that his dream was materializing right before his eyes, and it was during that moment that he managed to connect with the ball, resulting in a home run.

The Yankees witnessed the debut of their top 2020 draft pick, catcher Austin Wells, who promptly hit a line drive to right field during his first at-bat. Joining him were other rookie starters: shortstop Anthony Volpe, third baseman Oswald Peraza, and Everson Pereira in left field. In a further display of their young talent, rookie pitcher Randy Vasquez, who was also called up on Friday, took over in relief of starter Carlos Rodon and delivered two scoreless innings.

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