Jasson Dominguez to take over for Harrison Bader in Yankees’ September plan

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

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The Yankees September strategy is set to unleash another young talent Jasson Dominguez. He is to sub in for Harrison Bader to experience the big-league grind and get prepared for the future centerfield role, as the latter’s return to the Bronx looks uncertain.

Although Jasson Dominguez has recently moved up to Triple-A, the idea of him making an appearance in Yankee Stadium during the last month of the season doesn’t appear improbable. While “Dominguez”The Martian” isn’t currently included in the 40-man roster, his upcoming addition to shield him from the Rule 5 draft during the offseason might actually play to his advantage, potentially opening the door for his inaugural MLB performance in the upcoming month.

Given the Yankees’ intensified focus on their future due to their highly disappointing season, as evident by their decision to field four players aged 24 or below on Sunday, there is a possibility that Jasson Dominguez might be considered for a call-up in September.

According to manager Aaron Boone, he holds the belief that Jasson Dominguez possesses the potential to become an exceptional player in the league. Boone expressed his view that Dominguez is a unique talent, highlighting his ability to impact the ball, showcase athleticism, and run. Additionally, Boone emphasized the impressive quality of Jasson Dominguez’s strike zone control, especially given his young age.

Boone expressed hope that this particular aspect of Jasson Dominguez’s skill set will prove to be highly advantageous for him once he makes his way to the major leagues. In his initial seven games at Triple-A, the 20-year-old has posted impressive stats, going 11-for-23 with 10 runs batted in, four walks, and just one strikeout.

Jasson Dominguez likely to step in for Harrison Bader

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The Yankees’ acquisition of Harrison Bader carried a heartwarming narrative, as he hailed from Bronxville, N.Y., just a stone’s throw away from Yankee Stadium. Observing him excel in center field has been enjoyable, as he’s showcased top-notch skills unless he’s grappling with the stadium’s ceiling obscuring his view.

However, the story took a different turn when Harrison Bader joined the Yankees last summer. He was sidelined in a walking boot and didn’t step onto the field until mid-September due to plantar fasciitis. This season has been marred by his absence as well, missing the first 30 games due to an oblique strain, followed by a 16-game hiatus in June caused by a hamstring strain. Moreover, his performance last September was lackluster, and his stats this season have been underwhelming.

Harrison Bader’s performance in center field is typically dynamic, and he brings elements of speed, power, and energy to his plate appearances when he’s in good form. Nevertheless, extended periods of poor performance and a series of games lost due to injuries define his relatively brief tenure with the Yankees. This chapter of his career is likely to come to an end once he enters free agency after the conclusion of the World Series.

Harrison Bader exhibits streaky periods of exceptional performance — a characteristic that was evident last October, as he smashed five home runs across nine playoff games. However, he’s also susceptible to extended slumps akin to those experienced by Giancarlo Stanton.

This is precisely the situation Harrison Bader finds himself in now, as the Yankees navigate through the final games of a season that will mark their first absence from the playoffs since 2016. Furthermore, this season could result in their first subpar record since 1992. In the recent Saturday loss, Harrison Bader’s performance was lackluster, going 0-for-3 with a groundout to the catcher, a flyout to center, and a strikeout. This downturn has left him with a 3-for-31 record in his last ten games, culminating in a season batting average of .246. Over the course of 80 games, he’s managed to hit seven home runs, yet he hasn’t hit a single one in his last 42 games since July 3.

Harrison Bader admitted that it has been a difficult period, mentioning after Saturday’s game that things have been tough. The trade between the Yankees and Cardinals involving Jordan Montgomery for Harrison Bader on the 2022 trade deadline day didn’t unfold as the Yankees had anticipated.

Yankees top brass open to let Jasson Dominguez make MLB debut

Last week, the Yankees made a forward-looking move by promoting Everson Pereira to assume left-field duties and Oswald Peraza to take over third base. So, why not take this rebuilding process up a notch?

Brian Cashman has the opportunity next Friday to accelerate this process by including Jasson Dominguez in the Yankees’ September call-ups. This move would involve utilizing the 20-year-old, who can switch-hit, as the center fielder for the remainder of the season.

Although Jasson Dominguez recently earned a promotion from Double-A to Triple-A, coinciding with Pereira’s major league debut, he’s already showcasing impressive performance for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In six games, he boasts a remarkable .450 batting average and has contributed eight RBIs.

Just last Saturday night in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, Jasson Dominguez stood out with a stellar 4-for-7 performance in a doubleheader sweep against Lehigh Valley. This included a three-RBI effort while batting from the second position in Game 1 and playing left field, then taking on the center field role in Game 2.

It raises the possibility of the Yankees introducing Jasson Dominguez to the major leagues with around 100 at-bats in September. The Yankees don’t have much to lose, and considering he needs to be added to the 40-man roster by winter anyhow, Brian Cashman could easily create a spot by designating outfielder Franchy Cordero for assignment – a player who isn’t in the Yankees’ future plans.

Jasson Dominguez made a positive impression during his initial big-league spring training this year, achieving a .455 batting average with four home runs and nine RBIs across 22 at-bats spanning 11 Grapefruit League games. However, it’s important to note that most of his plate appearances came against fellow minor league players.

By allowing Jasson Dominguez to face major-league pitchers in September, the Yankees can offer him valuable experience and preparation for the upcoming spring. This will also provide him with the opportunity to compete against Pereira for a starting position in left or center field, especially if the Yankees don’t address both positions during the offseason.

In the previous spring, Anthony Volpe secured the Yankees’ starting shortstop position, even though he had not played in the major leagues before and only had 22 Triple-A games under his belt. Could receiving major-league at-bats last September have potentially improved Volpe’s performance in his rookie season at the plate?

There’s a possibility, but it’s important to note that Oswald Peraza held a higher position on the organizational shortstop depth chart compared to Volpe at this time last year. As a result, Peraza was the one who got the chance to play in the latter part of the season and even started in a playoff game when the Yankees were transitioning away from Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

In this September, there are no obstacles preventing the Yankees from fully committing to a rebuilding phase. With a record of 62-67 and 33 games left to play, the Yankees should continue giving opportunities to Pereira, even though he’s only managed 2 hits in 18 at-bats across five games. Notably, in Saturday’s 0-for-3 performance, all his outs were solidly hit.

Furthermore, it would be prudent to promote hitting-focused catching prospect Austin Wells in September, allowing him to experience some time behind the plate as well as at first base (as Boone mentioned on Saturday).

Lastly, Jasson Dominguez should be brought up to take on the center-field role.

Unfortunately, Harrison Bader’s reliability is in question, and what compounds the situation is the Yankees’ surplus of center field prospects. Pereira, Jasson Dominguez, and Spencer Jones, ranked as the organization’s top prospect by MLB Pipeline, all fit this category. Jones, who bears resemblance to Aaron Judge in stature and left-handed swing, has shown promise by moving up from High-A Hudson Valley to Double-A Somerset on Sunday.

Considering Harrison Bader’s likely departure next year and Jasson Dominguez’s potential ascent to a regular big-league role, it would be wise for the Yankees to give Jasson Dominguez an opportunity this week. Allowing him to spend time with Judge, observing how the veteran prepares for major league games, and getting him accustomed to the rhythm of low-stakes MLB games could better equip him for facing big-league pitching when the pressure to win supersedes the rebuilding phase.

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