September 2, 2023 | 5:43 p.m
HOUSTON – Jason Dominguez didn’t leave much time to evaluate.
In his first hit—in which he hit his first career home run—he showed an impressively powerful opposite-pitch stroke on the second home pitch he saw. In his next three chances at the plate, he scored three quick hits.
In the debut of one of the most intriguing prospects ever, Dominguez looked at just seven pitches and put four of them to play.
He was there to swing and swing hard.
“He’ll never forget it,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said of the homer from “The Martian” after the Yankees’ win Friday at Minute Maid Park. He wasn’t waiting too long. He swung the first blow almost every time.
“He’s an aggressive hitter – he’ll be very good.”
The Yankees are hoping Baker is right about a 20-year-old #2 prospect whose swing and power belie his age.
Dominguez became the youngest Yankee to appear in a game since right fielder Jose Rigo, who broke into the field at age 19 in 1984.
Scouting reporting is much better than it used to be, and the Astros have provided Justin Verlander with data on how and where to bid for a player he hasn’t faced before.
In his first encounter with a player half his age, the future Hall of Famer lost.
“It was cat and mouse — I was trying to spot him, and he was trying to spot me,” said Verlander, whose Astros were scheduled to host the Yankees in Game 2 of the series on Saturday. “I think the first thing you have to know is: Where does he like to hit the ball? Obviously where you threw it.”
Dominguez, a left field switch hitter, caught a fastball in the middle of the plate at 94 mph and drilled it 360 feet the other way.
His first MLB swing resulted in a two-run home run that heralded the arrival of “The Martian”.
Dominguez, who was signed as a 16-year-old genius player in 2019, has emerged through the system with an increased interest in dominating the attacking area. In his first tryout with Single-A Tampa in 2021, he struck out 31.3 percent of his batters.
He still has a penchant for whiff — he’s hit 25.6 percent of the time with Double-A Somerset this year — but he’s shown more discipline and walked 15.2 percent of his at-bats with Somerset.
Dominguez said that in his career, he’s made the biggest strides in “making better decisions at the plate.”
During his debut, those decisions necessitated powerful blows – one of which he will forever cherish.