Has Dominguez secured a spot?
So far, so good for Matt Dominguez.
The 21-year-old, who is looking to bypass Triple-A and jump from Double-A to the big leagues, is currently passing the audition in terms of winning the Marlins’ third base job. If the season opened today, Dominguez would be in the starting lineup.
A first-round pick in 2007, Dominguez has lived up to the billing in the field. He is playing third base at a high level, which improves the overall infield defense. The plan is to keep Omar Infante at second base, and Dominguez makes that possible.
What the Marlins really have been looking at is Dominguez’s hitting. A good sign is, at the plate, he hasn’t been overmatched. In his first 11 Grapefruit League games, he’s hit a respectable .269 with two homers and 10 RBIs. He’s seeing pitches, and stringing together quality at-bats.
Another factor — and this also is telling — is body language. In that regard, Dominguez also is handling himself well. Not in a cocky way, but the California native is walking and acting like he belongs.
As an organization, the Marlins are looking at everything before they make their final decision.
There also are indications the Marlins are planning on breaking camp with Dominguez at third base.
With that said, these final 2 1/2 weeks are crucial for Dominguez. As Opening Day approaches, so does the intensity level, especially from veteran players.
Pitchers, who spent the first half of camp working on things, start to game plan. It still remains to be seen if Dominguez will be able to handle the breaking and off-speed pitches.
It’s easy to be deceived in Spring Training, and the Marlins’ front office will be carefully watching to make sure Dominguez isn’t rushed too fast. As an organization, there is the danger of demoralizing a young player.
If the team decides Dominguez needs some Triple-A seasoning, Donnie Murphy, Wes Helms and Greg Dobbs are options to fill in at third. Or the club could explore a trade.
So while Dominguez may be earmarked to be the third baseman today, these next few weeks will ultimately decide if he wins the job.
– Joe Frisaro