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Marlins prospect Matt Dominguez looks likely to claim Opening Day third base job

Mar 15, 2011, 11:49 AM EDT

matt-dominguez-marlins-spring Getty Images

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.

  1. fishfan46 - Mar 15, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Sportswriters down here are in love with him. They are enamored by the fact that he feels his defense is so good, he doesn’t wear a cup.

  2. mercyflush - Mar 15, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Keith Law raves about his defense as well. He said that he’s in the mold of Ryan Zimmerman with the glove.

    not at the plate though…

  3. Old Gator - Mar 15, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    Kindly Uncle Wes, despite having the grace and agility at third of a woolly mammoth with plantar fasciitis, is definitely the team’s overall best bet at third. Right now, Dominguez would give up enough scoring opportunities from his singularity in the batting order to more than even out for the scorchers he can stop near the bag. The Feesh destroyed Andrew Miller’s confidence by skipping him over AAA and bringing him up too soon and letting him get pounded for two years when he clearly needed more seasoning. If they plan on letting Dominguez survey the Mendoza Line this season, they’re going to take another prospect and ruin him the same way. I’m not a big fan of Kindly Uncle Wes, but he’s probably learned by now to leave the game on the field at day’s end. Proto-rookies like Dominguez haven’t. Let the kid go down at the end of training and learn how to swat a ball over an infielder’s head, or he’ll bring his nervous breakdown at the plate right out to the sack by the middle of May, if it takes that long – in which case all the upside of squeezing him into the show like a watermelon seed will be dissipated.

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