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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 97: Johan Domínguez

Tommy John surgery derailed his ascendance to the majors

Scottsdale Scorpions v. Glendale Desert Dogs
After continuing to climb the organization and sitting on the doorstep of the majors, Johan Dominguez succumbed to TJS last April.
Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Johan Domínguez

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
210 pounds
Age: 27
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 48
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 45
2022 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 62
2022 High Level Charlotte (AAA)
Age relative to high level -1.0 years
SSS rank among all right-handed starting pitchers in the system 20
Overall 2022 regular season stats 0-1 ⚾️ 3 starts ⚾️ 12 2⁄3 innings ⚾️ 1.42 ERA ⚾️ 1.026 WHIP ⚾️ 7 K ⚾️ 0 BB

Johan Domínguez, a Dominican native, has pitched exceptionally well since signing a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers on May 8, 2016, as a 20-year-old. Even though he pitched well for the Brewers DSL squad, with a 2.91 ERA combined over three years, it wasn’t until his third year that Domínguez finally earned a promotion to their AZL squad (June 24, 2018). Once Stateside, he dominated the AZL in his 15 outings, posting a 0.00 ERA and 0.62 WHIP over 19 1⁄3 innings of relief.

Shortly after yet another promotion, to Milwaukee’s Pioneer League affiliate in Helena, Domínguez was traded along with outfielder Bryan Connell to the White Sox for southpaw reliever Xavier Cedeño at that year’s August trade deadline. After the trade, Domínguez pitched two scoreless innings in the White Sox system while striking out four, pitching for his fourth team of 2018.

In 2019, his first year pitching in a full-season league, Domínguez certainly held his own. While he had pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen in his first three years of professional ball, Domínguez was used primarily as a starter in 2019. Because his career high in innings was 58 1⁄3 to that point, Kannapolis limited his workload and even inserted him into the bullpen from time to time to keep him from doing any damage to his arm. In 90 2⁄3 innings for the Intimidators spanning 24 outings (15 starts), Domínguez posted a rock-solid 2.98 ERA and 1.28 WHIP by relinquishing 83 hits (.239 OBA) and 33 walks (8.5%) while fanning 90 (23.1%). He allowed just two homers, which is quite an impressive figure even when taking into account that Domínguez was pitching in a pitcher’s ballpark.

Fast forward to 2021, after the lost 2020 season. In 15 starts with Winston-Salem, Domínguez posted a 4.80 ERA but solid 1.14 WHIP in 65 2⁄3 innings by allowing 58 hits and 17 walks while striking out 74. Domínguez was promoted on August 10 to Birmingham, where he pitched to a 4.33 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in seven starts. In his 35 1⁄3 innings for the Barons, he relinquished 37 hits and eight walks while fanning 40. Finally, Domínguez was promoted on September 22 to Charlotte, where he struggled badly with a 16.50 and 2.17 WHIP in two starts totaling six innings, Combined with all three teams, the righty contributed a 5.30 ERA but respectable 1.27 WHIP in 24 starts as he meted out 107 hits (.258 OBA) and just 26 walks (2.2 BB/9) while striking out 118 (9.9 K/9) in his 107 innings of work.

Domínguez’s work wasn’t quite done in 2021, however. In six outings (five starts) for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League, he continued his late-season struggles in posting an 11.25 ERA and 2.58 WHIP in 12 innings, with 24 hits, seven walks and 14 strikeouts.

There’s a chance that Domínguez was already dealing with some effects of injury, because no sooner than he’d gotten started at Charlotte in 2022, he succumbed to Tommy John surgery. It was quite a setback, given that the path to Chicago (due to the shallow starting depth in the White Sox high minors) could have seen Domínguez, and not Davis Martin, promoted into the big club’s rotation.

Dominguez’s Baseball Cube player ratings
Durability 76
K/BB 74
Walks 69
Strikeouts 61
Hittable 59
vs. Power 59
Team Winning Percentage .436

Domínguez’s ratings above are all well enough over 50 (average) to indicate some real promise, pending his ability to rebound from TJS. (His current return estimate is June 1, 2023.)

Domínguez’s numbers seem to indicate he’s more about control than command, and those are the types of guys who get hit around in advanced leagues. He may eventually be better suited in the bullpen, where hitters can just get one look at him during the course of a game.

Providing he makes it back and can eventually get back to a starter’s workload, however, Domínguez would be a very welcome sight in Charlotte, given the embarrassing lack of rotation arms on the Knights in 2022.

2023 South Side Sox Top 104 White Sox Prospects

97. Johan Domínguez, RHSP
98. Evan Skoug, C
99. Noah Owen, RHSP
100. Javier Mora, 2B
101. Will Kincanon, RHRP
102. Yohemy Nolasco, RHSP
103. Billy Seidl, RHRP
104. José Rodulfo, RHRP