SOM Week: Jasson, The OF, and More!
Welcome to "SOM Week"! 4 Days of articles from my time at Somerset. Today, we discuss Dominguez, the outfield, and hawkeye technology.
Jasson Dominguez at bat in the 8th inning before hitting a triple
(Photo: Ethan Semendinger)
Jasson Dominguez (CF):
Game Statistics (9/16): 1-4, Triple, Run Scored
Starting the 2022 season in the Florida League (Class A) with the Tampa Tarpons, Jasson Dominguez stuck around for 75 games. He improved upon his numbers at the level from the prior season (2020: 50 Games, .258/.346/.398/.744, 5 HR's) while hitting to a quadruple slash of .266/.374/.440/.814 and hitting 9 home runs. This earned him a promotion to the Hudson Valley Renegades, where he improved his hitting over 40 games while hitting to a .306/.397/.510/.906 quadruple slash with 6 home runs. Seeing as Dominguez was producing to a high OBP in Tampa, it is not a shock to see his numbers improve elsewhere even with the promotion as he started to face pitchers with more control.
Dominguez's time in Tampa quickly finished, as their season came to an end on September 10th after failing to make the postseason. Though, with at least 2 weeks of games left for the Somerset Patriots (and maybe more, if they win in the postseason), the Yankees decided to promote Dominguez for the second time this season to get a taste of Double-A ball with the Somerset Patriots. Going into the game on Friday, Dominguez had yet to record a hit (through 10 At-Bats) at the level. In his first at-bat on Friday, he lined out to the shortstop. In his second at-bat he grounded out to the second baseman. In his third at-bat he then popped out to the second baseman. It was not going well for Dominguez, who was now 0-13 over 3 games.
Then, Jasson Dominguez started off the top of the 8th inning with a solid hit into center field. At first, it felt like a very standard stand-up double, which was indicated by Dominguez's slowing down as he approached the second base bag. However, the center fielder misplayed the ball and immediately after touching the bag, Dominguez turned on the rockets and made it quickly and safely into third. He was rewarded with a triple. (Dominguez then scored on a single, which ended up being the winning run!)
This was my first experience getting to see Jasson Dominguez in person. Apparently we have the same height and weight (5'10", 190 pounds) but let me tell you: Jasson Dominguez projects an incredibly strong frame. I don't like to think I'm weak. I can bench 225 pounds. I can clean 185. I've done 400+ pound deadlifts (I don't do those anymore), and I've squatted 350. But, even when I was at my best physical shape I would've looked weak compared to Dominguez. He's built like an absolute tank.
It's a football analogy, but Dominguez reminds me a lot of Maurice Jones-Drew. It's not the best analogy because Jones-Drew was 5'7" and 210 pounds, but the two appear to have very similar physiques. They're also both incredibly quick and incredibly powerful.
Let me also tell you this: Dominguez hits the ball differently than everybody else. The crowd and I all knew every time he came up anyway, but even if you missed the crowd cheering when his name was announced, you'd have known he was at the plate. The ball sounded differently off his bat than anyone else.
I saw just four at-bats- including 3 outs- from Dominguez, but I am incredibly excited about him. Patience is the name of the game now. The jump from Single-A to Double-A is said to be the hardest in all the minor leagues and he'll have to fight it next season with hopes of a jump to Scranton by seasons end.
The outfield in Somerset on Friday night
(Photo: Ethan Semendinger)
The Rest of the Outfield:
Jeisson Rosario (RF): 2-3, Solo Home Run, Double, 1 RBI
Brandon Lockridge (LF): 1-2 with a Hit-By-Pitch
There are two of them at Somerset! While spelled differently from one another- and also from the traditional spelling of the name Jason- Jasson Dominguez joined fellow nameholder Jeisson Rosario at the Double-A level.
Rosario was signed as an international free agent for $1.85 million by the San Diego Padres in 2016. A top international talent at the time- he ranked #12 on the MLB Pipeline- he was a Top-30 prospect in their system in 2017 (#20), 2018 (#19), and 2019 (#22) who was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 2020 in a package for Mitch Moreland. He finished the season ranked in the Red Sox system (#16), though failed to crack the list in 2021 and was DFA'ed before the 2022 season as he would've required a 40-Man Roster spot. The Yankees picked him up and were able to pass him through waivers before assigning him to Somerset, where he has played all season with a decent .243/.363/.409/.771 quadruple slash with 11 home runs.
Fellow outfielder, Brandon Lockridge, has a much simpler story. He was the New York Yankees 5th round pick in the 2018 MLB First Year Player Draft, coming out of Troy University. He first entered the New York Yankees Top-30 prospects list in 2020 (#21), moved up in 2021 (#19), though has fallen in 2022 (#27). This season was his second in Double-A and he has hit to a .230/.300/.378/.678 this season with 14 home runs.
When it came to game performances, Jeisson Rosario had the overall highlight of the night with a 4th inning home run into right field. It served as the first run of the game, as well as his 11th of the season. Elsewhere, Rosario had a 2nd inning groundout, and a 6th inning double. A very good performance.
For Brandon Lockridge, his game started with a 2nd inning hit-by-pitch, a 4th inning flyout to right field, and a 7th inning lead-off single. A solid showing.
The outfield in Somerset on Friday night
(Photo: Ben Jedlovec/MLB Technology)
Here's another fun little note about being in the press box: you get to meet a lot of cool and interesting people.
While I forget the name of the first guy I talked with, he told me he was there as an employee of the New York Yankees and his job was to work the cameras for Hawk-Eye technology. This is a technology that has been used in a variety of other sports including tennis (when determining if a ball is "in" or "out), cricket (for plays at the wickets), soccer (for determining offsides calls & if a ball crossed the goal-line), as well as volleyball, gaelic football, badminton, and more.
What's interesting is to see how this technology is used in baseball. If you're interested, Ben Jedlovec described the use of Hawk-Eye in baseball in an article you can read, here. I cannot do that any justice by trying to paraphrase, but the long-story short is that Hawk-Eye technology is used to track pitches, hits, and players for a variety of details and statcast measures. We've all seen the result of this with tracking how far home runs are being hit, what their exit velocity off the bat was, and the launch angle of the hit.
What was best about this, however, was how the Yankees are using this type of equipment in the minor leagues. Now, obviously, we would expect that if the Yankees are sinking millions of dollars into draft and international talent, they are going to analyze them using the best tools available. However, this same thinking would have us believing that minor leaguers are making a good enough wage to eat healthy and not have to work second jobs (which is anything but the truth).
Ultimately, it's good to know the Yankees are putting forward the resources to get good data. Now, all we have to do is hope they analyze it properly. (Also: the guy running this technology was using nothing more than a basic Alienware laptop. For such an important piece of technology for the Yankees, it could be run using a simple gaming laptop.)
Closing Notes (& Harrison Bader):
Check back tomorrow for when I'm going to be talking about Trey Sweeney (the New York Yankees 1st round draft pick from 2021), the infield, and some more joys from the press box!
For other articles in this series, check my post about the Somerset Patriots & TD Bank Park from this past Saturday, which you can find here: https://www.startspreadingthenews.blog/post/the-somerset-patriots-td-bank-park
Harrison Bader is going to be in New York on Tuesday. He didn't play in the game from this past Friday as part of a scheduled off-day before the weekend (he wasn't even at the park from what I heard), and the Yankees were waiting until they came back to the Bronx on Tuesday to call him up for the first time. My first bit of real breaking news.
The things you learn from the press box!
And, I was waiting until today to break the news because it fit with my theme of talking about the outfield. And, I just saw this: https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2022/09/yankees-planning-to-activate-harrison-bader-on-tuesday.html and found out that Aaron Boone was hinting at it to reporters after yesterday's game. Drats!