Dominguez should see some playing time

As part of FanSided’s collaborative August post, the baseball bloggers of FanSided are commenting on what players should get a look at the major league level this upcoming September. While some teams have plenty of options available to bring up for a cup of coffee this upcoming month, the Marlins’ cupboard is rather empty on prospects. With Mike Stanton already tearing up the majors and Logan Morrison and Cameron Maybin brought up by necessity, the Fish really have their most important youngsters already up in the majors.

One name that you may not hear for a callup, even though he is the only logivcal remaining option, is third base prospect Matt Dominguez. The 20-year old has not stood out with his performance this season, but could be worth a look in the majors for September. In the upcoming Call to the Pen post, I discussed the primary reason why the Marlins should bring him up, but here I’d rather go into further detail about Dominguez’ minor league production and update his progress from the beginning of the season.

Earlier this season, our own John Herold went over each of our major hitting prospects, and ranked Dominguez as the second-best prospect of the system. In particular, the reasoning behind the ranking is that Dominguez is widely considered a spectacular defender at third base (he was considered by some as major league ready for the position out of high school) and because his position made him intrinsically more valuable than Logan Morrison.

However, one of the primary things John brought up as well was the fact that Dominguez’ performances were often downplayed by factors not visible in the raw stat lines. In particular, his “step back” performance in 2009 in High-A was actually more of a product of the depressed league and park run environments of High-A Florida State League as compared to Low-A South Atlantic League. This year, the primary problem John pointed in out in Dominguez’ early season performance was in BABIP. This season, Dominguez has a .279 BABiP that has contributed to a .251/.331/.413 slash line (.337 wOBA). However, Dominguez’ 2010 BABIP may be about even with his skill level, as his career BABIP sits at just .285.

However, John’s point about level does apply to Dominguez’ 2010 line. According to FanGraphs, his .337 wOBA equates to a 102 wRC+, meaning that his performance so far this season is merely average compared to his league. A league average Double-A bat with his kind of defensive play is probably still fairly valuable. And while a translated batting line (translated to major league performance) for Dominguez’ season would look ugly, this is totally acceptable given his age. Dominguez is just 20 years old, the same age as draft classmate Mike Stanton. Stanton certainly has outperformed expectations for a player so young, but Dominguez still has plenty of time available until his age becomes comparable to other players in his league. The current average age in the Southern League is 24.2 years of age, meaning his general competition is older. A league average performance at his age may be at least on track towards developing into a successful major leaguer.

One of the interesting observations John made before the season started was about Dominguez’ plate discipline numbers. Thanks to data from StatCorner, ┬áJohn was able to track swinging and taken strikeouts for Dominguez’ PA in the minors. This was the table he displayed before the season:

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

The numbers remained mostly static, outside of the small-sample Jacksonville numbers from 2009. When we take a look at 2010, we can see that the numbers still remain similar. Dominguez is striking out swinging in 13.2% of PA and striking out looking in 3.3% of them, right in line with his previous seasons. Essentially, he has maintained a steady level of production as he goes up in level, all while being younger for his level in later seasons. At this stage in the game, we can still project good things for Dominguez, and he is at a high enough level to at least consider seeing him for a month in the majors.

Topics: Matt Dominguez, Miami Marlins

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