September call-up and Yankees’ No.2 prospect Jasson “The Martian” Dominguez has wasted no time showing off at the big league level.
“El Marciano! He’s my favorite Martian!” – John Sterling, WFAN
Nicknamed “The Martian” for his out-of-this-world talent, September call-up and New York Yankees’ No.2 prospect OF Jasson Dominguez wasted no time showing off at the big league level. He launched a Justin Verlander fastball for a home run in his first MLB at bat. In the days that followed, the Yankees extraterrestrial phenom has been red hot, blasting his way into rarified air with four home runs and a three-hit game in just seven games to begin his career.
Through his first eight games, Dominguez owns a .258/.303/.677 triple slash, 158 OPS+, four home runs, seven runs batted in, and collected a hit in six of eight games. The kid already owns a three-hit game, has homered off a reigning Cy Young winner, and though the sample size is way too small to count, owns an OPS in the realm of OF Aaron Judge (.980). Oh yeah, and he’s 20 years old.
With his fourth home run, Dominguez became just the third Yankee in franchise history to record multiple runs batted in (RBI) in three of their first seven games and just the second player in franchise history with four home runs through their first seven career games.
It is worth noting that Dominguez’s entire Major League resume is contained within nine days, and this may just be momentum carried over from his hot stint in AAA. While the likelihood of Dominguez maintaining this pace throughout the month of September and beyond is low, The Martian’s explosion onto the scene should be celebrated by Yankee fans everywhere. There has been very little to cheer about in the Bronx this season, and for at least this short while, baseball is fun to watch again.
Meet the Martian
Formerly a top international prospect, Jasson Dominguez first signed with the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic for a franchise-record $5.1 MM back in 2019. The then 16-year-old Dominguez was already turning heads with his impressive 5’10”, 190lb frame and five-tool skillset, even earning comparisons to three-time MVP OF Mike Trout.
For four years, Bombers faithful have eagerly watched Dominguez climb through the minor leagues. After reigning as the Yankee’s number one prospect for some time and putting on a show during an explosive 2023 Spring Training, many fans were convinced El Marciano was ready to break camp with the big league club. Ultimately, Dominguez started his 2023 campaign in AA Somerset, posting a decent .254/.367/.414 triple slash in 109 games.
With September call ups a mere nine days away and Dominguez mired in AA, it seemed the young switch hitter would have to wait until 2024 to get his shot at the big leagues. Following a long-anticipated promotion to AAA on August 22, Dominguez scorched his way through the end of August, slashing .419/.514/.581 in nine games, earning his spot with the big league club.
No Signs of Life
On September 1, the Yankees arrived in Houston four games under .500 and staring down the barrel of their first losing season since 1993. From June 4 to Sept 1, the Yankees posted an abysmal 32-44 record, sliding firmly out of the playoff conversation behind the surging American League East and firmly into last in the division. Approaching September 1, the Yankees found themselves with nothing to play for but pride and struggled even to do that.
All the while, General Manager Brian Cashman seemed content. Attendance numbers were a non-issue and the Yankees were free to be terrible without financial consequence. At the trade deadline, the Yankees lone success stories were SP Gerrit Cole and the bullpen, both of whom were performing admirably. The offense was piss poor, which is without a doubt the most generous summary the Yankees have earned with the bats in 2023.
Instead of adding a single piece to support an offense with a worse OBP than the then 30-77 Oakland Athletics, Brian Cashman decided to add two relief pitchers (literally the only thing the Yankees did not desperately need). RP Spencer Howard, with a career 7.20 ERA in 115 innings, was released without throwing a single pitch for the Yankees. The other, RP Keynan Middleton, has admittedly been fantastic for the club thus far, but the fact remains the only piece the Yankees added was not a starter (Carlos Rodon, Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes all injured), not a bat (5th worst OBP), but a reliever – the one area that was performing well already.
The decision to call up the young prospects was not even Brian Cashman’s. Apparently, Yankees Owner Hal Steinbrenner overruled the GM – causing the release of 3B Josh Donaldson and waive of OF Harrison Bader to make room for the Bombers youngsters.
Also, it would be absurd not to mention the platoon of OFs Franchy Cordero, Billy McKinney, Willie Calhoun, and Jake Bauers have a combined 612 PA in 2023, and have hit a combined .190. OF Everson Pereira played 81 games in the minor leagues, hit 18 home runs, 64 RBI, hit .300 and OPS’d .921 before making his debut. OF Estevan Florial has 99 games under his belt at AAA this year, and has recorded a 25-homer, 25-stolen-base season while also recording an OPS of .920. Instead of two outfielders tearing AAA to shreds, Brian Cashman preferred five months of late-20s outfielders who couldn’t cut it elsewhere. Make it make sense, Brian.
While 2023 seems like a lost season no matter how well the Baby Bombers 2.0 might do, 2024 seems promising for a now youthful Yankees club. The Martian, SS Anthony Volpe, Everson Pereira, INF Oswald Peraza, and C Austin Wells are all finally here, and after a three-game sweep in Houston, it’s hard not to imagine the dawn of a new era of Yankees baseball. Who knows, if Hal Steinbrenner overrules Brian Cashman enough times the Yankees might even be a contender.