Jasson Dominguez showed aggressiveness in first Yankees swing

HOUSTON — Jasson Dominguez did not leave much time for evaluation. 

In his first at-bat — in which he smacked his first career home run — he showed off a stroke with impressive, opposite-field power on the second major league pitch he saw. In his next three chances at the plate, he recorded three quick outs. 

In the debut of one of the most hyped prospects of all time, Dominguez got a look at just seven pitches and put four in play.

He was there to swing and swing hard. 

“He’ll never forget that,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said about the homer from “The Martian” after Friday’s Yankees win at Minute Maid Park. “He wasn’t waiting around too much. He swung at the first strike almost every at-bat. 

“He’s an aggressive hitter — he’s going to be pretty good.” 

The Yankees hope Baker is correct about their 20-year-old, No. 2 prospect whose swing and power belies his age.

Jasson Dominguez homered in his first big league at-bat.
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Dominguez became the youngest Yankee to appear in a game since righty Jose Rijo, who broke in at 19 years old in 1984. 

Scouting reports are far better than they used to be, and the Astros supplied Justin Verlander with data on how and where to pitch to a player he had never faced. 

In his first crack at a player half his age, the future Hall of Famer lost. 

“It was cat-and-mouse — I was trying to figure him out, he was trying to figure me out,” said Verlander, whose Astros were set to host the Yankees for Saturday’s second game of the series. “I think the first thing you’ve got to figure out is: Where does he like to hit the ball? Apparently right where I threw it.” 

The switch-hitting Dominguez, batting from the left side, got a middle-of-the-plate, 94 mph fastball and drilled it 360 feet the other way.

His first MLB swing resulted in a two-run home run that announced “The Martian” had arrived.

Jasson Dominguez #89 of the New York Yankees hits a two-run home run in the first inning against the Houston Astros
Dominguez showed an aggressive approach in his first MLB game.
Getty Images

Dominguez, signed as a 16-year-old wunderkind in 2019, came up through the system with a growing attention to controlling the strike zone. In his first experience with Single-A Tampa in 2021, he struck out in 31.3 percent of his at-bats. 

There is still a tendency for him to whiff — he struck out 25.6 percent of the time with Double-A Somerset this year — but he has shown more discipline and walked in 15.2 percent of his at-bats with Somerset. 

In his career, Dominguez said, he has made the biggest strides in “making better decisions at the plate.” 

During his debut, those decisions entailed swinging hard at strikes — one of which will be a memory he treasures forever.

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