There was a time where Jeff Luhnow said “keep saying good things about our players” while in dialogue with a group of bloggers. I am sorry, Jeff, but the time that Dominguez has manned third base for the Houston Astros should be over.
It may come as a shock for some people that I have given up on Dominguez. I had always hoped that he could work with John Mallee to help fix some of his problems. After all, Jose Altuve became a batting champion and Chris Carter shows signs of being a guy who might hit for average as well as power.
Matt Dominguez was drafted in the 1st round as the 12th pick of the 2007 draft. He was acquired from the, at the time, Florida Marlins in a package for Carlos Lee. The initial run for Dominguez as an Astro was quite promising. A .284 hitter with 5 home runs in just 31 games of play. He also had a fielding percentage of .987 during that sample.
In a larger sample size, the year the Astros moved to the American League, Dominguez slashed just .241/.286/403 in a full season of work. He ended up with a WAR of 2.4; at the time, that was among the best on the Astros. A 111-loss team. Easy to fall in love with someone who appears to be good.
Unfortunately Dominguez failed to compare with even the average third basemen of major league baseball for that 2013 campaign. Among the 21 qualifiers in terms of wRC+ (weighted runs created), Dominguez managed a mark of 88, which beat out Mike Moustakas and Nolan Arenado. Perhaps there is some hope Dominguez can turn it around, given that both of these names have made headlines recently.
But 2014 was a long, tough year for Dominguez. At one point, the manager gave him a hug and everything got better for a game or two. An already below average batting average dipped to .215 on the season with a strikeout total that jumped from 96 to 125 in a few more at-bats. And oh! The rally killers were lethal. In 2013 Dominguez grounded into 17 twin killings. That spiked to 23 during the 2014 season.
There has been an idea that people should reserve absolute decisions on a player until they reach the 1,000 at-bat mark in the major leagues. Matt reached this threshold during the most recent season and absolutely tanked. The numbers are terrible. In the second half of the season, Dominguez hit for a wRC+ of 29, a batting average of .177, and a BABIP of .198. He grounded into 12 double plays, hitting 5 home runs and walked in 2.7% of his plate appearances. Altogether his second half resulted in a WAR of -1.5.
All of his numbers were down. Doubles, home runs, batting average. You name the stat, it’s most likely down. Dominguez has regressed below the value of a replacement level player. It is time to release Matt Dominguez.