Jasson Dominguez's Inclusion On Futures Game Roster Is Cause For Celebration
When the Futures Games rosters were released, you very well may have had to rub your eyes and double check the American League roster again.
Yep, there he is. Jasson Dominguez, the Yankees No. 1 prospect. He of all of 2 official professional at-bats in the Florida Complex League.
It’s the most aggressive Futures Game assignment the game has ever seen.
There has never been a player added to the roster with less professional experience. If you think that the rosters should be based on players earning a spot, then “the Martian” should be nowhere near Coors Field come July 11. After all, how can a player earn a spot when he’s yet to have 10 professional at-bats?
Throw that all away. You’re thinking of the game in the wrong way. This is great for the Futures Game because the Futures Game isn’t the All-Star Game.
You earn your spot in the All-Star Game (whether by having a great year or in the case of all-time greats, a final farewell spot to acknowledge a great career). Feel free to be outraged if the third baseman you think should have made the All-Star Game is left off for a lesser performer.
But that's not the purpose of the Futures Game. The July 11 game is about highlighting the stars of tomorrow and giving fans a chance to see them play. Prospects shouldn’t earn their spots by grinding their way through the minors, they should be selected for the game with the motivation of producing the best, most interesting mix of future MLB stars that can be put on the field.
And the most exciting and interesting version of the 2021 Futures Game includes Dominguez on the roster.
We now live in a world where a fan can watch every at-bat of Wander Franco’s minor league season. If you want to watch Bobby Witt Jr. or Grayson Rodriguez, you don’t have to wait until they reach the major leagues.
That will be true eventually with Dominguez as well. But right now, other than a few (very few) fans going to Florida Complex League games, no one has seen Dominguez play in a live official game. Even his feats in extended games and workouts are captured only in sporadic Instagram and Twitter videos.
And by that measure, putting Dominguez in this game is an outstanding decision. It makes the game a must watch for Yankees fans and prospect fans in general. This is the first chance most everyone has had to see Dominguez in a real game. And he’ll be in action against some of the best pitchers in the minors.
Hopefully he’ll put on a show in batting practice. Come game time, there is the chance that he’ll be overmatched.
And if so, it’s OK.
It’s a seven-inning game. Dominguez will likely get one or maybe two at-bats. If, in a worst-case scenario, he sees six pitches and swings and misses at all six, it won’t harm his long-term development. If he does hit a ball hard, it’s all the more impressive that he’s managed to do so without any experience above the Florida Complex League.
It’s likely that next year will provide another chance to see Dominguez in the Futures Game, but you never know. Everything that happened in 2020 showed us that.
Wander Franco was in Low-A when the Futures Game rosters were announced in 2019. He was thankfully included that year, but if not, he would have never played in the game. With the 2020 Futures Game canceled, Franco was up in the majors before his next shot.
Nationals star Juan Soto never got to play in a Futures Game because he moved so quickly through the minor league system.
So get excited about seeing Dominguez on a national stage. Yeah, it’s a little early, but being a little early is way better than regretting being too late.