Note: This is NOT a prospect rankings. If you are looking for a ranking, check out John Sickels' report on the Giants system or SF Dugout's Top 50 Prospects for 2011. This is more of a look of guys in the Giants system I will be paying close attention to and guys who have interested me over the past couple of years. This is not so much a projection of who is going to be the best, but rather an introspective look on who seems to be the most intriguing to me in the Giants system.
Chris Dominguez brings one thing to the table as a Giants prospect: power. Known for mashing in his tenure at Louisville (he hit 61 home runs during his time with the Cardinals), Dominguez, a 3rd round pick by the Giants in 2009, is known for hitting home runs and driving in runs. In his first full year, in a combined stint between Arizona Rookie Ball and the Northwest League, Dominguez hit 11 home runs, drove in 40 RBI, and hit .263 with an OPS of .767.
Last year in the South Atlantic League with Augusta, Dominguez didn't slow down when it came to hitting home runs. He hit 21 home runs and drove in 101 RBI in 603 plate appearances with the Green Jackets, and posted an average of .272 and an OPS of .782. Even this year in San Jose, Dominguez continues to showcase his premier skill: he has hit four home runs and 13 RBI in 62 plate appearances.
However, while Dominguez can hit home runs, his other skills have been questionable. Dominguez's fielding at third base has been debated, as he committed 32 errors last year with the Green Jackets. Many experts feel that while Dominguez may be able to hit well enough to advance through the Giants system, he may be better suited to transition to another position to maximize his value (his six foot, three-inch frame is probably more prototypical of a first baseman).
Additionally, Dominguez has had some contact issues and isn't exactly patient at the plate either. He struck out 133 times (23.8 K percentage) and only walked 35 times (5.8 walk percentage) in the South Atlantic League last season. That proved to be the same during his rookie years, as his BB/K ratios were pretty below average (0.33 in Rookie ball, 0.16 in the Northwest League) for a guy coming out of college. If Dominguez is struggling with walks and strikeouts in the lower minors, that doesn't exactly bode well for his future as he moves up the ladder in the Giants system. While asking him to become more patient at the plate is a stretch, he has to minimize the strikeouts if he wants to have a shot to break into the Majors and earn a spot on this Giants roster in the future.
As a prospect, there is some things to like about Dominguez. His power is nice, and while he doesn't necessarily draw a lot of walks, his average seems to be in a good range that makes up for his strikeouts and lack of walks. Additionally, he can swipe a bag here and there, as he stole 14 last year with the Green Jackets and 12 overall in 2009 (and he was only caught 2 times in 2009 to boot). Granted, he has seen some good fortune in the minors so far (he's never had a BABIP under .311 in the minors), so one has to wonder what his stat line will look like should he hit a season where his luck dwindles and his BABIP falls. His numbers could look bad and hold back his development and advancement through the system. For a guy who's currently 24 years old, he can't afford to have many bumps on the road.
Dominguez could prove to be a bopper in the Jonny Gomes mold (mediocre average, bad OBP, solid home runs and slugging numbers). That being said, his age and BB/K ratios keep me from being too high on him, though he certainly could change that impression if he can put together a solid campaign in the California League this season (and he is off to a good start with a .345 average and .940 OPS).