Yankees Prospect Report: Jasson Dominguez on fire, top pitching prospect makes AAA debut

jasson dominguez, yankees
Oct 26, 2022; Surprise, Arizona, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Jasson Dominguez plays for the Mesa Solar Sox during an Arizona Fall League baseball game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While the Yankees enjoyed a thrilling 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays to capture a series win and propel themselves to 11-6 in the month of May, their Minor League affiliates had plenty of action of their own.

It was an exciting day for the organization, as top pitching prospect Will Warren made his debut with the Scranton Railriders, and their top position player prospects were all in action.

There wasn’t any shortage of incredible offensive showings, remarkable pitching performances, and encouraging signs of growth from players who could potentially make an impact in 2023 or 2024. From Tampa to Scranton, there’s plenty to discuss in today’s prospect report.

Trio of Top Position Player Prospects Impress in 10-3 Win

jasson dominguez, yankees
Oct 26, 2022; Surprise, Arizona, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Jasson Dominguez plays for the Mesa Solar Sox during an Arizona Fall League baseball game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After belting his sixth home run of the season, Jasson Dominguez now has an OPS of .811 and a 125 wRC+, despite a low average. Most people will point to the fact that he’s hitting just .212 to claim that he’s “struggling,” but those detractors couldn’t be farther from the truth. With an OBP of .378, it’s evident that Dominguez is still being remarkably productive without hitting for a high average. This is following a 2022 postseason with Somerset, where he went on a torrid pace, clocking three home runs in just five games. Fans and media alike got to marvel at the Martian in Spring Training, and he’s definitely living up to the “alien” title.

Back in Spring Training, Jasson Dominguez excelled in two key areas, showing off an ability to generate damage contact consistently while also rarely expanding the strike zone. While it was against Double-A level competition, according to Baseball Reference’s Opponent Quality score, he still put up numbers well above league average and his process at the plate was exquisite, and the Yankees were extremely impressed.

O-Swing% is how frequently you chase at pitches out of the zone, and barrel rate is simply barrels divided by plate appearances, but what is xwOBACON? This metric takes xwOBA (Expected Weighted On-Base Average) but only factors in the quality of contact, whereas xwOBA also takes into account walks and strikeouts. Dominguez’s strong walk-to-strikeout ratio would already indicate a strong xwOBA, so by focusing on how strong his quality of contact is, we get to see that Dominguez routinely demolishes the baseball on top of his uber-patient approach, which the Yankees love.

In his last 19 games, the Yankees’ #1 prospect has five home runs, driving in 19 runs in the process and posting a wRC+ north of 170. He’s also only recorded 16 strikeouts in those games while walking 16 times as well, giving him an OBP well above .400 in that timespan. The Yankees are going to have to ask themselves if they can keep him in Double-A much longer, especially considering that he’s been excellent since the camp broke in early March. His plate discipline is through the roof, and with the Yankees potentially needing an outfielder, they could look to give Dominguez a shot at winning the LF job sooner rather than later.

2023 MiLB Stats

  • 125 wRC+
  • .378 OBP
  • .433 SLG
  • .373 wOBA
New York Yankees, Austin Wells
Feb 20, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees catcher Austin Wells (72) looks on at Yankees Player Development Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After a rib injury sidelined Austin Wells in Spring Training, the University of Arizona product has been unbelievable for the Somerset Patriots. He launched his sixth HR with Somerset in just 12 games, adding another hit and walk on top of that to bring his season wRC+ to an unreal 181. Wells is slugging over .700 in Double-A on the season, and his career numbers at Double-A scream for a promotion. Considering the lack of left-handed power on the Yankees, promoting a top-five prospect in the system to Triple-A like Austin Wells, could yield massive results.

In his Double-A career, Wells has a .882 OPS with 18 HRs, 61 RBIs, and even eight steals without being caught! We’ve exited “small sample size” territory as well, as Wells has 301 plate appearances at this level. As a pick from college, Wells is further along in terms of development in comparison to prospects like Jasson Dominguez, who’s three years younger. His glove might not be fully developed, but who better to learn from in terms of catching defense than the Yankees’ incredible defensive duo that Kyle Higashioka and Jose Trevino have been for the last year and a half?

The Yankees could use his bat, and with his loft-oriented swing and incredible ability to pull the ball reliably, he’s a perfect fit for Yankee Stadium. Furthermore, Wells has collegiate experience in the outfield and at first base, so he can rotate between different positions to stay in the lineup and give the Yankees an offensive boost. He’s one of the most advanced bats in their system, and if the Yankees get him to Triple-A soon, we could see him in the Bronx late in the season.

2023 MiLB Stats

  • 181 wRC+
  • .352 OBP
  • .714 SLG
  • .460 wOBA
everson pereira, yankees
Hudson Valley’s Everson Pereira at bat during the Renegades home opener versus the Brooklyn Cyclones on April 19, 2022. Renegades 2022 Home Opener

One of the stars of yesterday’s post, Everson Pereira, hit his sixth HR of the season as well (Are we noticing the trend here?), with a single as well in the contest. The Somerset Patriots are a unit, and even on a night where Richard Fitts couldn’t get past the 4th inning, they still absolutely crushed their opponent 10-3. Already on the 40-Man Roster, Pereira has a .832 OPS on the season with a wRC+ now of 124. Similar to Wells, he also played in Double-A last year, slugging .504 in 29 games and posting a 128 wRC+. Now that his numbers are trending upward, we could see the 22-year-old outfielder make a case for a promotion as well.

All but one of his longballs on the season have come in the last two weeks, and he’s starting to really heat up at the right time. With Dominguez, Wells, and Pereira crushing the baseball, it’s becoming obvious why the Patriots dominated the Eastern League en route to a championship last season. In terms of prospect status, Pereira might play third fiddle to Wells and Dominguez, but in terms of production, he’s got as much talent as anyone in the system. With a Max Exit Velocity that screams 70-grade raw power and incredible athleticism, it’s his injury history and strikeout numbers that cause massive concerns.

With Pereira on the Yankees’ 40-Man Roster, there are at least some reasons to believe the Yankees could fast-track the athletic outfielder.

2023 MiLB Stats

  • 124 wRC+
  • .323 OBP
  • .509 SLG
  • .371 wOBA

These three are all putting on a show, and if you’re keeping a close eye on this Somerset trio, it’s hard not to be excited about the future of this organization. All it takes is one or two of these players panning out to alter the course of your franchise forever, and things are trending in the right direction for all of them.

Will Warren Battles Through Triple-A Debut

It surely wasn’t perfect, but Will Warren had a strong outing in his Triple-A debut against the Charlotte Knights. Across six frames, the 23-year-old righty allowed two runs on four hits with four strikeouts to no walks. Both runs came on solo shots, as Warren missed with some breaking pitches and got punished for those mistakes. As for his velocity, he sat at 92.4 MPH on the four-seamer and 93.1 MPH on the sinker, which is a tick below where you’d expect Warren to sit, but the nerves of a first start might have affected him. His sweeper is what the Yankees rave the most about with Warren, and he relied on it 39% of the time.

His sweeping slider, four-seamer, sinker, and gyro slider were all thrown at least 11 times in his start, and the Knights were only able to muster an average exit velocity of 83.8 MPH against Warren. You’d like to see more strikeouts and fewer home runs, but considering the way balls have flown in Triple-A and the fact that Warren struggled mightily last year when adjusting to Double-A, this is all par for the course. It’ll be a few months before he’s considered MLB-ready, but maybe he’ll surprise people with a hot start in the International League and convince the Yankees to see if he’s up to the task.

On the season, Warren improved to 4-0 with a 2.55 ERA and 43 strikeouts between Double-A and Triple-A, and he’s broken through as this organization’s best pitching prospect. If his velocity gains in Double-A stick in Triple-A, one could make the argument that Warren would become one of the most talented pitching prospects around right now. Just because MLB Pipeline says he isn’t a top-five prospect in the Yankees’ organization doesn’t reflect on his high-octane stuff at all. Pitchers are hard to project long-term, but it’s clear that Will Warren has the arsenal to truly impact the pitching staff.

Whether he sticks as a starter or not at the Major League level is yet to be seen, but with his large movement profiles and improving command, it’s hard to imagine he isn’t at worst a productive reliever. The Yankees haven’t had a long list of homegrown starters that become mainstays in the rotation, but can Will Warren break that mold?

2023 MiLB Stats

  • 2.55 ERA
  • 2.65 FIP
  • 30.5% K%
  • 8.5% BB%

Sleeper Prospects With Impressive Days

yankees, randy vasquez
Somerset Patriots rout Erie on Sept. 27, 2022 evening to force decisive Game 3 of Eastern League Championship Series Erie Seawolves At Somerset Patriots 9 27 22 1

Similar to Jasson Dominguez, Tyler Hardman has a low average that would deceive the average fan into believing he’s struggled at the Double-A level. After recording just one hit in four games last year in Double-A, Hardman’s slugging .515 with seven home runs in the early going, hitting that seventh bomb last night. He had a five-RBI night, raising his wRC+ on the season to 123, continuing his own red-hot month of May. Dominguez. Pereira and Wells are all leading the charge, but Hardman’s tacked on four home runs with a 171 wRC+ in the month as well, and this is coming off the heels of an impressive Arizona Fall League showing.

He’s already reached reported exit velocities of 110 MPH on the season, and he hit six HRs while slugging over .600 in the Arizona Fall League against some of the best competition Minor League Baseball has to offer. He’s a surehanded glove at the hot corner as well, and if he can continue to build off of this hot month of May, he could generate plenty of buzz at the deadline and in the organization. One of the few positions the Yankees aren’t sure of in the future is third base, as Andres Chaparro’s yet to settle defensively at the position, and DJ LeMahieu is entering the later stages of his career.

Don’t be surprised if you hear his name more frequently over the coming weeks, and if he’s able to keep up this level of play, he’s going to turn a lot of heads in the organization. The raw power tool and defensive skills are there, it’s a matter of cutting down on the strikeouts and finding consistent success at the dish.

2023 MiLB Stats

  • 123 wRC+
  • .322 OBP
  • .515 SLG
  • .370 wOBA

With the bullpen injuries mounting, Deivi Garcia might be a name the Yankees look at to step up in their bullpen, and he tossed another scoreless frame last night against the Knights. Allowing just one hit and getting a strikeout with no walks, Garcia’s stuff is off the charts, but his command has left plenty to be desired. His 107.3 Stuff+ suggests it’s not the pitches he’s throwing that have caused him to post a sub-20% K%, rather his inability to locate in-zone causes issues with generating chases and not leaving it over the heart of the plate.

(X-Axis: Horizontal Break, Y-Axis: Induced Vertical Break)

Deivi Garcia isn’t getting enough vertical separation on his four-seamer and changeup, causing his changeup to generate a mere 19% Called Strike + Whiff% and making him significantly less effective at generating strikeouts. His four-seamer is a plus pitch, being released from a lower slot with plenty of velocity and carry that allows it to get whiffs up in the strike zone. Batters have a 31.7% Whiff% against the pitch, by far the best mark on any pitch in his repertoire.

It may make sense for Deivi to just utilize his fastball-cutter-sweeper and ditch the changeup altogether, and considering that his cutter has held batters to an average exit velocity below 80 MPH, it’s proven to be a strong soft-contact inducer for the 24-year-old RHP. It’s a work in progress, but Garcia can certainly become an effective reliever if he’s able to figure out what pitches play off of his four-seamer best.

2023 MiLB Stats

  • 4.09 ERA
  • 5.87 FIP
  • 19.6% K%
  • 15.7% BB%

One of the more underrated pitchers in the farm system, Brock Selvidge showed up in his outing against Dunedin, tossing four innings of one-run baseball on a solo shot, striking out seven batters, and walking none. He gave up six hits total, but his ability to generate swings and misses kept him out of trouble all night. The 20-year-old LHP came in relief of Tommy Kahnle, who got the start as an opener in his rehab assignment, where he hit 96.5 MPH on the radar gun. As for Selvidge, the Tarpons got an excellent display of why Selvidge could potentially become a fast riser.

The Texas native relied heavily on his fastball-slider combination, and while he sits at 91-92 MPH on his fastball, it’s served as an excellent soft-contact inducer that keeps the ball on the ground. The shape of his four-seamer needs improving, as it generates too much carry to function as a sinker but not enough carry to work up in the strike zone effectively, which is likely what’ll hold him back for now until he finds consistency with the pitch.

Selvidge relies heavily on his slider, using it even more than his four-seam fastball on the season. It’s yielded strong results this season, and he’s pitched extremely well in his Low-A debut season. All he’s done as a professional is perform, and 80 innings into his professional career, he has a 3.26 ERA and 3.32 FIP with a K-BB% above 20%. His ability to generate strikeouts and groundballs at a high level defines his success, and the Yankees might have their hands on their future top pitching prospect in a year or two.

2023 MiLB Stats

  • 3.74 ERA
  • 3.25 FIP
  • 25.4% K%
  • 4.9% BB%

The Yankees’ farm system had a strong day, splitting their four games with Low-A and High-A dropping their games but Double-A and Triple-A putting up massive wins in their contests. There’s a doubleheader for the Tampa Tarpons, meaning five games for the Yankee affiliates instead of four. For notable pitchers in the Yankees’ system, #30 Juan Carela, #26 Justin Lange, and #21 Sean Hermann are all starting today, and Lange is an arm to keep a close eye on. He’s walked 15% of batters faced this year, but he’s also struck out 45.5% of batters faced, giving him a 30% K-BB%.

Acquired in a Yankees-Padres trade that saw Luke Voit go to San Diego, Lange’s pitches are just absurd. Whether it’s a sinker with a Whiff% over 30% and a strong groundball rate or a cut-slider with a 63.3% Whiff%, Lange is an impressive arm that’s dominated in his Low-A debut season. He’s 21 years old, and if he can’t stick as a starter, I don’t imagine the Yankees would be too disappointed with an arm like his coming out of their bullpen down the road.