Too good to be true?
That's what Yankees wondered about prospect
NEW YORK — At times, Jasson Dominguez’s jaw-dropping baseball talent had stunned even the most seasoned Yankees’ evaluators.
“It was a bit shocking and very impressive,’’ Yankees international scouting director Donny Rowland said of watching “an elite level’’ athlete from the Dominican Republic with such a massive ceiling.
And he’s still only 16 years old.
“He’s the kind of player that kind of makes the hair on your arm stand up,’’ Rowland said on Tuesday, after the Yankees officially announced the signing of their top international target.
Dominguez received a record $5.1 million signing bonus, surpassing the Yankees' previous record of $3.2 million.
A center fielder with an “outstanding makeup’’ to go along with superb all-around tools as a projected, power-hitting center fielder, “it made going all-in on him an easy decision,’’ Rowland said of the Yanks’ bonus.
And “very rarely would I go that route,’’ since the Yanks’ more common international strategy has been to diversify and sign more players.
“Every now and then the right player comes along,’’ Rowland said. “This one’s worth it. To a man, everyone on my staff agreed.’’
Dominguez was ranked No. 1 among available international prospects by MLB.com and other outlets.
The next Mike Trout?
Rowland has heard the excited chatter, comparing Dominguez to a young Mickey Mantle or a switch-hitting Mike Trout.
“I don’t like to put comparisons like that on a 16-year-old player,'' Rowland said. "I think he’s going to be Jasson Dominguez and I don’t want to put him in the same vein as some people who’ve done some incredible things in our game.
“I don’t think it’s fair to them or to him.’’
Dominguez’s exit velocity already touches 108 mph and his launch angle “is in the happy zone,’’ Rowland said of his projectable power from both sides of the plate.