The Yankees were impressed by Jason Dominguez’s growth as a captain

Tampa – If it were up to Jason Dominguez, he’d be playing for the Yankees when he was 20 or 21.

The high potential Yankees, who turned 19 earlier this month, will have to move quickly for that to happen.

He played only 56 professional games, all last season, which were split between the Florida Complex and Low-A Tampa.

It looks like Dominguez is ready to start the upcoming minor league season in Tampa again, with a lot of attention going to be paid to new quarterback and manager Rachel Balkovich.

Not all of the attention has been positive for Dominguez, whose stock in the potential client ratings took a few hits after struggling in Tampa last season, when he had a 0.744 OPS and 67 eliminations in 214 appearances. Some scouts started wondering about his roof.

But he showed some strength on Wednesday in the Yankees player development complex, and after his teammates and coaches praised his demeanor and leadership abilities, Dominguez spoke confidently about his future.

Jason Dominguez
Jason Dominguez
New York Post: Charles Wenselberg

“My goal this year is to stay healthy,” Dominguez said. “I know if I stay healthy, the other things I can control.”

Interestingly, Dominguez did the entire interview in English, something that many young players from the Dominican Republic do not feel comfortable doing.

Jason Dominguez
Jason Dominguez
New York Post: Charles Wenselberg

This is part of his development as a captain, according to Balkovic, who worked closely with Dominguez last season as well.

“He has super abilities,” Balkovich said. “He wants to learn anything he can help himself, including English. He’s nervous [giving interviews in a second language], but he’s still pushing himself to do so. That’s largely about how he treats baseball, too. If we want to try something new or make an adjustment, he will listen to what we have to say. He’s really a smart kid who wants information and wants to know why. asking questions. He is a critical thinker.”

The next step will be to hone the initial skills that helped convince the Yankees to sign Dominguez for a $5.1 million bonus in July 2019.

Those skills impressed Yankees top player Anthony Volpi, who was working with Dominguez at the team’s junior camp this week.

Watching his BP is fantastic,” Volpi said. “He is a specimen. …we call him Mini Aaron Donald.”

Dominguez is listed at 5 feet 10 and 190 pounds – a far cry from the Rams’ 6-1, 280-pound defense end – but he is known for his impressive strength.

And Volpi wasn’t the only one to point to the network when it came to Dominguez.

“I always tell him he has to play football,” said Matt Tallarico, the team’s primary offensive coordinator. “No one can handle this guy. No shot.”

Jason Dominguez
Jason Dominguez
New York Post: Charles Wenselberg

However, none of that means Dominguez will emerge as a star in the sport he already plays.

It didn’t help that his 2020 program was wiped out when COVID-19 forced the closure of the minor league season before he made his professional debut last year.

The Yankees knew they were asking Dominguez a lot when they sent him to Low-A Tampa, but that was part of his development.

“We have seen players reach the major tournaments time and time again and this is their first taste of any challenge or failure,” said Kevin Reese, Vice President of Player Development. “He hasn’t played a lot of baseball, especially against this kind of competition. We wanted to push him and we will continue to do that.”

There will be more eyes on him as Dominguez moves through the minor league system, but he appeared to be enjoying the spotlight on Wednesday. Relaxed, confident and at times self-critical, while making a strong effort to communicate in English alongside Hector Gonzalez, the team’s cultural development coordinator.

Balkovic noted that Dominguez took it upon himself to use the Rosetta Stone to help him learn the new language.

But what really matters is what he can do on the field.

“The good thing about Jason is that he’s mature beyond his age,” said new batting coach Dillon Lawson, who was previously the minor league’s batting coordinator. “This helps us set expectations and honestly deal with him about the hardships he might face.”

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