Yankees’ depth outfielder is proving to be a liability

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees hold high hopes that star prospect Jasson Dominguez will soon make a complete recovery and be ready to join the major league roster if needed. Dominguez, a young talent with potential All-Star qualities, faced an unexpected setback with Tommy John surgery last year.

However, he’s making a strong comeback in the Yankees’ minor leagues, showcasing his prowess with three home runs over eight games at the Double-A level. His impressive stats include a .333 batting average, a .353 on-base percentage, and a .606 slugging percentage across 34 plate appearances, culminating in a 167 wRC+.

The plan is to keep Dominguez in Triple-A as a strategic reserve, possibly replacing Trent Grisham, who has struggled significantly at the plate this season.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at New York Yankees
Sep 8, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Jasson Dominguez (89) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Grisham, 27, transitioned from an everyday starter with the San Diego Padres to a backup outfielder for the Yankees. In 21 games this season, he has managed only a .051 batting average with a .213 on-base percentage and a .128 slugging percentage, which includes one home run and three RBIs. His high strikeout rate of 31.3% combined with a walk rate of 14.6% underlines his offensive challenges.

Grisham last recorded a hit on April 29 against the Baltimore Orioles, a slump that underscores his declining offensive contribution.

The Future of the Yankees’ Outfield

While Grisham earns $5.5 million this season through arbitration and has one more year before free agency in 2026, his solid defense does not offset his current struggles with the bat. As the Yankees look to the future, Dominguez is poised to step in if needed later in the season or during the playoffs.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With the potential departures of Grisham and Alex Verdugo, who may leave via free agency, the Yankees could promote Dominguez and Spencer Jones to full-time outfield roles in 2025.

This abundance of outfield talent is a favorable scenario for the Yankees, especially considering the challenges they faced in 2023. Last year, the team frequently adjusted their lineup, struggling to establish a consistent outfield unit. The prospect of integrating Dominguez and Jones into the roster suggests a promising future, potentially stabilizing and enhancing the team’s outfield performance.

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