Yankees prospect Jasson Dominguez, left, and Austin Wells.

Yankees prospect Jasson Dominguez, left, and Austin Wells. Credit: AP

DETROIT – A player general manager Brian Cashman two years ago characterized as “an anomaly” is set to make his Yankees debut Friday.

Jasson Dominguez, aka “The Martian,” is expected to be in the lineup Friday night in centerfield when the Yankees start a three-game series in Houston. Catching prospect Austin Wells is joining Dominguez as a Sept. 1 call-up and the plan is for him to be in the lineup as well against righthander Justin Verlander.

“They’re getting thrown right into the fire,” righthander Clarke Schmidt said with a smile of the prospects facing a future Hall of Famer in their first game. “But that’s the best way to go about it.”

Wells, 24, has a solid bat according to rival scouts (his defense draws mixed reviews), but the 20-year-old Dominguez is commanding the majority of the spotlight.

He has been a hyped prospect from the time the Yankees gave him a franchise-record signing bonus of $5.1 million at the age of 16 out of the Dominican Republic in July 2019, every step, and at times seemingly every at-bat, rigorously chronicled.

"Something that doesn’t really come along very often," Cashman said in December 2021 of Dominguez. "There’s a lot of very talented people, he happens to have a higher degree of talent than most. If you can put that together and add the performance, you’re talking about something very special."

The Yankees got a glimpse of that potential this spring when Dominguez, in his first big-league camp, hit .455 with four homers and a 1.565 OPS in 11 games. The switch-hitting prospect struck out three times in 22 at-bats.

“He’s got power, bat speed and strike zone discipline,” Aaron Boone said Thursday before the Yankees’ three-game winning streak ended in a 4-3 loss in 10 innings to the Tigers, “He’s had that from a young age. You even saw that in spring training. You saw a lot of really quality at-bats. He has all the physical and raw tools that you need coupled with the DNA to control the strike zone. Now it’s a matter of, can you take that to the highest level in the land and do it consistently there? That’s what we’ll start to see.”

The Yankees fell to 65-69 after Thursday’s loss, a game in which Anthony Volpe hit his 20th homer of the season, a score-tying three-run shot in the ninth, but would lose on Gleyber Torres’ throwing error in the bottom of the 10th. But the Yankees more or less hoisted the white flag on their 2023 season early last week and began their evaluations for 2024 with the promotions of prospects Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza.

In coordination with those moves, they also bumped Dominguez from Double-A Somerset to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He spent all of nine games there, hitting .419 with a 1.095 OPS before the Yankees fast-tracked him to the majors. They did so because they want him to get a taste of the big leagues but also for the diversionary purpose of taking attention away, for at least the last month of the season, from a disastrous regular season.

The decision to promote Dominguez so quickly to the roster met with skepticism in some corners of the organization, but the prospect’s overall skillset garners a much more streamlined opinion.

“I think he’s going to be a really good player or has the chance to be a really good player. He’s put together a strong year that’s gotten better throughout the year, too,” Boone said. “Got off to a slow start (in Double-A), but he showed everything this spring. You got to see why people are excited about him and you get to see the raw tools. He’s a young player that will obviously come with a lot of expectation, a lot of probably unfair expectations, but you certainly see the reason why a lot of us think he has a chance to be a really good player, and I would put myself in that camp.”

Boone won’t be the only interested observer as Dominguez’s new teammates will also be intently watching.  

“An incredible talent, but you (notice) he’s just not really fazed by where he’s at and I think that’s important here,” said Giancarlo Stanton, who watched Dominguez closely in the spring. “There’s a lot of extra stuff (in the big leagues), but worry about the game, worry about what you can control. He should be very successful.”

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