A Look at Baseball America’s Updated Prospect Ranks for Jasson Dominguez:
It’s been a while since we mentioned the man, the myth, the Martian, Jasson Dominguez; the man the Yankees spent a large majority ($5 million) of their international bonus pool money for the 2019 spending period.
They signed another 10 international prospects in addition to Dominguez, seen here, and were rumored to be in on Jhon Diaz (MLB Pipeline #18 International) but were unable to acquire more bonus pool money to make that happen, and Diaz went on to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays.
However, this news is multiple months old, so why bring it all back up now?
Well, the Yankees may have just signed the next Mickey Mantle, the next Mike Trout, and possibly the greatest international signing ever. At least, according to the updated grades on him from Baseball America.
The Greatest International Signing Ever? Seriously?
Truly, it depends on how you look at it. If he is able to work up towards his potential- as determined by experts whose job it is to evaluate prospects- then he could very well be that player.
However, is it wrong to put this pressure on a 16-year-old? Especially considering that most people didn’t know was a prospect up until this past Spring/Summer when the original rankings for international prospects came out. In my opinion, 100% yes.
In the storied history of baseball, there have been a select few players that have performed up to the level that experts are pinning him too. Only 31 players in MLB History have gotten to 100+ bWAR, and Mike Trout’s projections have him joining that list within the next three to four years (he’s currently at 72.5 bWAR in 8 full seasons).
Mike King, the Yankees #19 prospect on MLB Pipeline, made his debut on September 27th, 2019, and is currently the most recent player in baseball history to make it to the big leagues. He did so with a 2 inning pitch, 2 hit, 1 run, and 1 strikeout outing against the Rangers. That made him the 19,682nd player to play in the MLB.
Equating Jasson Dominguez to being the next Mantle, Trout, or even the next Bobby Abreu (bWAR of 60.0; Ranked 189 Overall) that would place him into the top 1% of all baseball players ever (189/19682 = 0.0096).
If you want to say he’s the next Mickey Mantle, that brings him into the top 0.1% (20/19682 = 0.0010) of all players ever.
That’s crazy, and while I get this may be hyperbole from some, it has to be understood that while we are talking about a fantastic athlete, making comparisons like these are a bit pre-premature.
However, that isn’t to say we shouldn’t be excited about what evaluators have stated about his skill set. It’s truly unbelievable, and I’m excited to see how he develops, but again, I think equating him to becoming the next Mike Trout is far too early a comparison.
As the MLB promotes, just let the kid play.
But, what’s making everybody so hyped?
The Rankings (A Quick Background and Some Math/Statistics):
I know, I know, you want to see how Baseball America ranks Jasson Dominguez on the 20-80 scale. But, just in case someone doesn’t know what “20-80” means, I want to provide a quick refresher. And that means going into a little bit of math.
On the 20-80 scale, a score of 50 is considered to be average, which makes sense given 20+80=100, divide it by 2 and you get 50 (or the mean). However, the reason the outer limits are set at 20 (low) and 80 (high) are because of the use of standard deviations, with each increase (or decrease) of ‘10’ on the scale being one stand deviation above (or below) the mean. Think of a typical bell curve:
If we take μ (Greek letter Mu) to be 50 and we take 𝛿 (Greek letter Delta) to be 10, then it maps out easy as to why these limits of 20 (low) and 80 (high) are set (50 – (3 * (10)) = 20; 50 + (3 * (10)) = 80).
This then sets up the following as to the rankings of players based on their 20-80 scale rankings:
20 = A player who is in the bottom 1 percentile
30 = 3rd percentile
40 = 16th percentile
50 = 50th percentile
60 = 84th percentile (a.k.a. Top 16%)
70 = 97th percentile (a.k.a. Top 3%)
80 = 99th percentile (a.k.a. Top 1%)
(If you want a refresher on percentiles and their meanings, click here.)
In baseball terms, this would mean a player with that scoring (20-80) would be that good relative to other MLB prospects. So, if they had a graded 60 skill, it means that they are in the upper 34% of prospects in that skill. If 40, they are in the bottom 16%, etc. etc.
If you want to read more about Scouting Explained, check out this great Fangraphs article, which also explains the 20-80 scale in a similar way.
Finally, the Rankings!
So, now that we understand the lunacy of giving a player such crazy comparisons as being the ‘next Mantle’ or ‘next Trout’ (or ‘next Abreu’) at the age of 16 is crazy.
And, now that we understand how a bell curve works- a ranking of 70 means relative to other prospects he’s in the top 3%- and how that applies to the 20-80 scale for prospect rankings, lets see Dominguez’s scores.
Baseball America’s grades for Jasson Dominguez are laugh out loud absurd: Hit: 60 Power: 70 Run: 70 Fielding: 60 Arm: 60 He’s only 16 years old. That’s just nuts. https://t.co/U1225HmQvV — Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) November 13, 2019
Yeah, the hype is justified.
According to a report on these rankings over at SNY, it’s clear to see why Dominguez gets these grades, given two of the easier to compare skills: Power and Speed.
He has hit exit velocities of 110+ mph from both sides of the plate:
240 MLB players- with over 50 batted ball events- had a maximum exit velocity of 110 mph last year, out of 478. That puts him just over the 50% mark.
Dominguez can hit, at 16 years old, at a league average rate for exit velocity.
He ran a 6.3 second 60-yard dash:
That would come out to a dash of 28.57 feet/second.
That sprint speed would tie him with players like Jose Altuve, Javier Baez, Whit Merrifield, and Ozzie Albies with being in the Top 102 in the majors out of 568 recorded players. That is just under being in the top 18%.
Also, noted speedster Billy Hamilton ran a 6.2 second 60-yard dash.
(Just for Fun) Prospect Ranking Comparisons:
Let’s take a look at some of the current young studs in the major leagues, and their prospect rankings from the MLB Pipeline from 2017.
(Keep in mind, this is a different publication- Baseball America vs. MLB Pipeline- so his ranks between the two may be drastically different.)
Gleyber Torres; Age: 20; Ranked #2 Overall
Hit: 65 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 65
Juan Soto; Age: 18; Ranked #37 Overall
Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Ronald Acuna Jr.; Age: 19; Ranked #6 Overall
Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 60 | Overall: 60
(and just for fun)
Jasson Dominguez; Age 16; Ranked #66 Overall on MLB Pipeline 2019
Hit: 55 | Power: 60 | Run: 65 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55
The Yankees have something very special here, just see it for yourself:
Jasson Dominguez launched his first homer in a #Yankees uni today at Dominican instructs. @BenBadler was there to see him and ask about it. https://t.co/Cy9IW1jBbw pic.twitter.com/7wTN5XM9Ur — Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) October 3, 2019