Matt Dominguez is just 21 years old and spent last season hitting just .252 with a .744 OPS at Double-A, but the 2007 first-round pick looks set to skip Triple-A and win the Marlins’ starting job at third base.
In fact, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com “if the season opened today, Dominguez would be in the starting lineup.”
Dominguez’s defense has always drawn rave reviews and it sounds like that’s what has the Marlins convinced he’s their best option at third base, but he hasn’t been particularly impressive offensively this spring and projects to really struggle at the plate based on his age, lack of experience, and mediocre Double-A production.
Of course, Frisaro also writes about Dominguez’s “body language” and says he’s “handling himself well … not in a cocky way, but the California native is walking and acting like he belongs.”
Once teams and the writers that cover them start talking about that type of stuff for a young player, actual performance tends to go out the window. It also helps that the other options to play third base are pretty ugly and are led by Donnie Murphy, Wes Helms, and Greg Dobbs.
I’d lean toward letting one of those guys keep the position warm for a couple months while Dominguez gets some experience at Triple-A and delays the start of his service time to give the Marlins another season of team control down the line, but it sounds like they’re set on handing him the job right now.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.