Jasson Dominguez went from a prospect who was on the radar for a late-season call-up to batting in the heart of the Yankees lineup in just a matter of days. And, in the incredibly small sample size of just four games, has impressed.
“Demeanor's impressive,” manager Aaron Boone said of the 20-year-old outfielder.
“Talked a lot the last couple days about [how] anxiety as a hitter is your enemy. He seems to walk up there without any anxiety,” the skipper said before Wednesday’s game.
The organization’s No. 2 prospect and No. 75 in baseball spent the majority of the season at Double-A before a nine-game stint at Triple-A preceded his addition to the Yanks' roster when the rosters expanded on Sept. 1
"He's very, very comfortable, very relaxed,” Boone continued. “And I think that allows him to have a really good knowledge of the strike zone. I don’t think he’s even walked yet, but you sense up there in most of his at-bats that he’s got a really good feel for laying off certain pitches and then you see his talent jump out.”
Dominguez’s lack of anxiety in the box might come from his ability to drive the ball the other way.
“I mean when you have the ability to hit the ball with authority the other way, it gives you that freedom and probably that confidence and that lack of anxiety to have to cheat, get [your swing] started,” Boone said.
Dominguez has four hits (one in each game he's played) in 17 at-bats with a pair of home runs and four RBI.
“He’s very, I think, comfortable in his own skin,” Boone said. “A very easy-going nature to him, and I think that's served him well especially when you come up to the big leagues with a lot of fanfare and a lot of hype to deal with the inevitable nerves you’re gonna face as a young big leaguer."
How has Sean Casey been working out?
It has been just under two months and 47 games since the Yankees made a change at hitting coach with Brian Cashman taking the rare step of firing Dillion Lawson in the middle of the season and hiring former big leaguer Sean Casey.
In that time, Boone said Casey, who had never coached in the major or minor leagues before, has done a “really good job of connecting with these guys – as a group but also individually” during his time thus far.
“And really just trying to tap into guys’ personalities, but then their offensive characteristics and traits and trying to accentuate all that,” he said of Casey. “And as a guy who played a long time, had a very successful career, he’s been through it all though. He’s been through struggles, he’s been through All-Star campaigns, big monster seasons, success in the postseason, failure, injuries, he’s been through a lot at this level. So his life experience, his career experience, he can relate very well to these guys.
“And then who he is, the person, allows him to really relate and connect. And that’s one of his biggest strengths he really connects with people and is passionate about everything he does.”
In the 91 games under Lawson this year, Yankees hitters produced a .231/.301/.410 slash line with a .711 OPS. Since Casey's hiring those numbers have dipped, with a .220/.307/.394 slash line and .702 OPS.
Boone added that when the club has “been at our lowest of lows, you wouldn’t know it from” Casey’s attitude, approach and passion for the job. And the manager believes “it’s bearing some fruit.”
“And I think he’s done a good job not only with some of the established veteran guys but connecting with some of the younger players, as well,” he said.
When asked what he meant by bearing fruit, Boone pointed to DJ LeMahieu getting on a roll “the entire second half.” LeMahieu has batted .282 with a .878 OPS in 142 at-bats after the All-Star break after batting .220 with a .643 OPS in 277 at-bats prior to the break.
The manager also said that Casey has “moved the needle” for some of the younger players, including ones who “haven’t necessarily gotten a ton of results yet.”
“I think he’s gotten them on more solid ground to where hopefully we start to see some more fruit come out,” Boone said about the younger players. “I think he’s been really good. I really do.”