The Yankees hosted a Zoom with farm director Kevin Reese on Monday afternoon, and it took all of about two seconds for the Jasson Dominguez questions to start rolling, starting first with one about what went into the decision to leave him in extended spring training to start the year.
“I thought that would be at least a couple questions in before we got there,” Reese cracked.
There was some rather off-base speculation this off-season that Dominguez could play in Somerset this year, but instead, the 18-year-old top prospect in the organization wasn’t even assigned to a full-season team just yet, although Reese did expect that the logical progression would be for him to go to Low-A Tampa when the time is right.
Until then, the almost mythical creature that is “The Martian” will be something of a figment of everyone’s imagination, as very few of have actually been able to see him in person given that he’s still yet to play in his first professional game.
The hype train, however, remains full speed ahead. It is, Reese says, very justified, despite what a mystery he remains.
“I think the first thing you notice is the physicality,” he said.
“He doesn’t look like an 18-year-old kid. When guys come out of high school and show up here, usually you want to get them in the weight room and you want to feed them and do those types of things, but he’s very physical. You notice that in everything he does. He’s explosive; whether it’s running, whether it’s the way he warms up and the way he moves around, he jumps off the page at you as you watch him perform in whatever it is. I guess that’s the easiest way to describe it. I apologize that you have to wait a little bit longer for that mystery to unveil itself, but when it comes, you’ll know.”
There were some other mysteries that came to light, however.
Several of the club’s top prospects — namely pitchers Alexander Vizcaino and Yoendrys Gomez — as well as corner infielder Josh Smith, were noticeably absent from the full-season rosters that were (finally) announced on Sunday afternoon.
Reese said Vizcaino and Gomez are both out due to “minor injuries” but that both are active, throwing and getting built back up. While little information was offered on the nature of what exactly happened to either of them, he went into more detail on Smith, the Yankees second-rounder out of LSU in 2019 who was at the very least under consideration to start the season at TD Bank Ballpark.
“Josh Smith made a Jeter-ish play, for a lack of a better term, running into the tarp on the side of the field in an intrasquad game, and has some hand discomfort that’s going to keep him out for hopefully only a short period of time,” he said.
Reese took questions for roughly 30 minutes, including those from reporters in the Hudson Valley, Tampa and Scranton markets as well as Yankees media. He did, of course, field some Somerset queries as well, particularly if, with lots of attention being paid to Luis Gil and Estevan Florial here, there were some more “under the radar” type players on the Patriots roster that had caught his eye.
“There’s a couple guys,” Reese said. “Stephen Ridings is going to excite some people; we signed him after he was released, and he came into camp and opened a lot of eyes. Michael Gomez, Ron Marinaccio; a couple guys out of the bullpen there that clearly made some strides during the down time, and we’re excited to see them perform at that level.”