Yankees’ top outfield prospect could steal at-bats from veteran slugger

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at New York Yankees
Sep 8, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Jasson Dominguez (89) hits a two run home run in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are cautiously managing top outfield prospect Jasson Dominguez’s recovery from Tommy John surgery. Despite their careful approach, Dominguez is progressing rapidly and could start a rehab assignment in about two weeks, according to Aaron Boone.

The 21-year-old could make a significant impact in the second half of the season. However, given the Yankees’ rebuilt and dominant outfield, there may not be many opportunities available. One possible spot for Dominguez to find at-bats is at the designated hitter position, currently held by Giancarlo Stanton.

Stanton’s Struggles and the Yankees’ Potential Plans for Jasson Dominguez

This season, Stanton is hitting .220/.277/.457 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs. He’s posting a high 35.8% strikeout rate, a 7.3% walk rate, and a 109 wRC+. After a disappointing season last year, Stanton is trying to regain his previous form, but his three-year downward trend suggests that’s unlikely.

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees, giancarlo stanton
Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

While Stanton has maintained decent power metrics with a 41.3% hard-hit rate and 17.9% barrel rate, along with a max exit velocity of 119.9 mph, his contact numbers have significantly declined in recent years. If he continues to struggle, the Yankees might consider giving Dominguez some at-bats in the DH spot this summer.

Last year, Dominguez hit .258/.303/.677 with four home runs and seven RBIs in eight games. Despite displaying power, which can take time to return after Tommy John surgery, the Yankees are in no rush to bring him back too quickly.

The team needs all available players for a World Series push, and while Stanton will likely have some leeway due to his high salary, the Yankees can’t afford a liability in their lineup. If Dominguez can provide better offense, testing him at the major league level could prove beneficial.

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