Breaking down the top 7 hitting prospects: #2 Matt Dominguez

(Quick side note: There was a minor problem in Stanton’s wOBA calculation.  I’ve edited the post to rectify the situation.  Not much has changed, as he only went from a .355 wOBA to a .359 wOBA, but an error is still an error.  My apologies for the mistake)

Surprise #1

You probably won’t see another list with Matt Dominguez ahead of Logan Morrison.  They cite Dominguez’s offensive regression and clamoring Morrison as a big slugging first baseman while ignoring his deficiencies.  Hopefully by the end of these two posts, I’ll have convinced some of you to join my side.  I’m going to go over why most everyone has been wrong about Dominguez in this section, and go over more of what’s wrong with Logan and why Dominguez is ahead in Logan’s section.

Matt Dominguez was drafted #12 overall in the 2007 draft.  His defense has always been very heralded, with some claims that his glove was ML ready out of high school.  His bat has not been dormant though, and the Marlins have been very aggressive with him.  He was one of only a handful of teenagers to see AA time in 2009.  After the jump, we’ll take a look at how he’s done in the minors so far.

Dominguez mixes being slightly worse than average in walking with being slightly better at not striking out.  His calling card though is his power; he’s not a slugger but he’s got pop in his bat.

One of the things that has driven me the most mad is people who claim his Jupiter stop saw a major drop in him offensively.  As we can see in his park adjusted numbers though, there wasn’t much of a difference at all, with his wRC+ only a 5 point difference.  Not only that, but he improved his BB% and K%.  And while he did not hit as many HRs, he made up for it with doubles and his .ISO is near-identical.  The main difference is BABIP, which is known for it’s random variance.  His Jupiter should not be seen as a negative, but rather him staying the course.

Jacksonville is another story, and just about everything came crashing there for him.  But keep in mind that he was just 19 years old in a league where the average age was 24 and a half.  This really isn’t any means for cause of concern.  Some say the jump to AA is even harder than the jump to the majors.  He’s young, he needs some time to learn.

One of the more interesting things about his stop in Jacksonville is that, even though he struck out more, he actually made contact more.  Take a look at his strike out rate via swinging v.s. looking so far in the minors:

Team KS% KL%
Greensboro 13.7% 3.9%
Jupiter 13.2% 2.8%
Jacksonville 12.3% 8.8%

Combine his high increase in striking out via looking with his major increase in walking, and we can come to the conclusion that he just did not swing the bat as much as he was before.  Expect to see both his strike outs and walks to fall back down towards what they were in Jupiter and Greensboro.

Defensively, the scouts certainly love him.  What’s interesting though is that Total Zone does not agree.  Take a look at his defensive numbers (Adjusted TZ is adjusting towards the talent level of the Major Leagues):

Team TZ TZ/150 TZ/150 (adjusted)
Greensboro -6 -10 -17
Jupiter +11 +18 +12
Jacksonville -3 -12 -18
Total +2 +1 +0

As we can see, he’s been rather polarizing.  The final result calls for him to be average defensively.  Now given the fact that defensive stats are far from being perfect, let’s give the scouts the benefit of the doubt and call him +5.  His Jupiter showing certainly shows his potential though, and he could live up to the expectations and be an elite fielder.  But again, let us be conservative.  Now with everything that’s been said, let’s take a look at his projected line.

Not Stanton territory, but just under 3 wins is still really good stuff.  And if he’s able to the +10 defender scouts think he can be, he starts to creep up on Stanton.

Offensively, he doesn’t have much upside, which is where the real gap between him and Stanton is.  Given his age, we could certainly see a raise in power towards a .200 ISO, but he probably doesn’t have 30 HR power in him.  25 HRs would put him at a .348 wOBA, but his ceiling is probably that of around a 4 WAR player.  Like Stanton, the fact he has shown a good amount of power at such a young age also means he doesn’t have too low of a floor either.  Plus, with his defense, even if he puts up a Pedro Feliz-like low-.300 wOBA, we’re still talking about a valuable enough player, sitting in the 1.5-2.0 WAR range.

There also has seemed to be some cause for concern regarding his platoon splits due to the difference in OPS.  But let’s actually take a look behind the OPS in his stops in Greensboro and Jupiter:

Hand PA BB% K% .ISO HR/150 BABIP
RHP 616 8% 16.2% .150 17 .311
LHP 189 7.4% 19% .265 36 .310

Dominguez has actually posted a better BB/K and better BABIP against RHP than LHP.  The difference is completely in the power numbers.  Due to the small sample size, we’re likely looking at the numbers regressing towards a norm.  Even if they don’t, we’re talking about roughly a projected .322 wOBA against RHP.  That makes him about a 1.8 WAR player in the 114 games against RHP, and 1.1 WAR in the 36 games against LHP.  He won’t be useless against RHP, instead he’ll be like Cody Ross where he gets by against them and then mashes the opposite hand.

All in all, Dominguez is far from being in Stanton territory, but thanks to playing good defense at a position of value, he should still be important piece moving forward.  Do not expect too much out of him offensively, but do not underrate him either.

Tags: Matt Dominguez Miami Marlins

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