Yankees’ first-frame fireworks convey a clear message to Dominguez

Yankees star Alex Verdugo at Kansas City and superstar rookie Jasson Dominguez at PNC Field.
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Hours after the New York Yankees activated and sent top prospect Jasson Domínguez to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, they unleashed a blistering first-inning onslaught on the Kansas City Royals. The message was clear to the Martian — there is no vacancy in the current lineup and the Yankees don’t want him to sit back on the bench.

The 21-year-old center fielder, who has yet to debut in the majors this season, logged a 1-for-5 performance on Wednesday with the RailRiders. Throughout his 21-game rehab stint following Tommy John surgery on his left throwing arm, Domínguez showcased impressive form, batting .358 with six home runs and 13 RBIs, signaling readiness for the major leagues in terms of skill.

Despite his standout performance, the Yankees’ outfield trio of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Alex Verdugo has been solid, prompting the decision to prioritize Dominguez’s development with regular playing time in the minors rather than a bench role in New York. Keith Law of The Athletic recently ranked Domínguez, nicknamed “The Martian,” as the 13th-best prospect in baseball.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone was more direct in his message to Dominguez, “Just keep doing your thing.” Boone emphasized the organization’s admiration for Dominguez both as a person and a player, acknowledged his maturity and approach to the game at a young age, and recognized his immense potential. But he also highlighted the importance of continued growth through consistent game experience and facing professional pitching that the rookie could only get in Triple-A rather than sitting back on the Yankees MLB bench.

“Just keep doing your thing,” Boone said on Domínguez, who debuted last September, urging him to continue his positive trajectory in the Triple-A. “We love the person, the player. We know he’s going to be a big part of this. But also understand, too, that he’s also still very, very young in his career, and there’s still a lot to be gained and earned, and every day you get experience (facing) pitching and playing in games. But he’s got a great head on his shoulders, and I feel like he’s destined for great things in this game.”

Yankees' prospect Jasson Dominguez has scored 4 homers in the last six games
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Also, the Yankees manager lauded the depth of his lineup, highlighting Anthony Volpe, Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, Alex Verdugo, and Giancarlo Stanton as pivotal to the team’s strong starts. He attributed their success to meticulous preparation, strategic planning, and mutual trust among the hitters.

“Volpe, Soto, Judge, (Alex Verdugo), Stanton, on and on,” he said. “It’s a pretty good way to start off a ballgame, coupled with (how) the hitters and the hitting group as a whole have done a real good job of being prepared and having a game plan and really leaning on and trusting one another, too.”

Boone was rightfully speaking after the Yankees stole a big 6-0 lead over the Royals in the very first innings and converted it to an 11-5 win sweeping the series.

Anthony Volpe’s ground-ball single up the middle, followed by a spirited gesture to the Yankees’ dugout, set the stage for an electrifying Wednesday night game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The 23-year-old’s actions hinted at the explosive first inning that ensued, as the Yankees erupted for six runs.

The Yankees, who hold an impressive 49-21 record, the best in MLB, have consistently demonstrated their dominance in the opening frame. This latest victory maintained their 2 1/2 game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East.

Designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton succinctly captured the essence of the Yankees’ first-inning prowess, emphasizing the critical nature of establishing early momentum, “It’s important to throw the first punch.”

New York Yankees’ Jose Trevino hits a three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo.
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Yankees’ knack for delivering early blows

The Yankees’ knack for delivering early blows has been a cornerstone of their successful season, distinguishing them as one of the most formidable teams in the league.

Statistically, the Yankees shine in first-inning performance, leading the league with 57 runs, 20 home runs, 42 walks, and an OPS of .971. They are second only to the Arizona Diamondbacks in first-inning hits, with 83. This marks a significant improvement from last season when they ranked fourth in the AL East and were among the bottom eight teams in first-inning runs with just 75.

Since Anthony Volpe assumed the leadoff spot for the New York Yankees on April 10, the team has showcased a formidable start with a 1-2-3 punch of Volpe, Juan Soto, and Aaron Judge. As of Wednesday’s game, their first-inning performances have been a standout: Volpe boasts a .315/.315/.500 slash line with one home run and an .851 OPS over 57 plate appearances, Soto holds a .327/.485/.653 line with five home runs and a 1.138 OPS in 66 plate appearances, and Judge impresses with a .423/.537/1.019 line, nine home runs, and a 1.557 OPS across 68 plate appearances.

In Monday night’s game, the Yankees’ dominance in the first inning was evident. Volpe kicked off with a single and promptly stole second, followed by Soto drawing a five-pitch walk. Judge added to the momentum with an RBI single to shallow right, loading the bases. Though Stanton struck out looking, Verdugo’s ground ball to first resulted in a critical error, scoring two runs.

A walk to Gleyber Torres prompted Royals manager Matt Quatraro to replace Dan Altavilla with left-hander Daniel Lynch IV. Lynch struggled, giving up a sacrifice fly to Anthony Rizzo and a three-run homer to catcher Jose Trevino, extending the Yankees’ lead to 6-0.

Boone acknowledged the inning’s positive developments, emphasizing its impact, while Trevino stressed the importance of setting the tone early to allow pitchers freedom to attack.

With ample run support, starter Cody Poteet pitched 5 1/3 innings, yielding just two runs, before Ian Hamilton allowed three earned runs in relief.

Stanton’s monstrous blast reminds his power

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Giancarlo Stanton’s towering 449-foot solo home run in the fifth inning, marking his second in as many days and 17th of the season, widened the New York Yankees’ lead to 8-0 over the Kansas City Royals. This blast represented Stanton’s longest since he hit a 451-foot shot last September.

In the current season spanning 61 games, Stanton has already launched 17 home runs, a stark contrast to the 24 he managed across 100 games last year when he struggled with an 86 OPS+, the lowest of his career. Presently, his OPS+ has rebounded to 113.

Reflecting on the adjustments he made in the offseason to return to peak form at the plate, Stanton noted making significant changes. Despite batting .233 with 40 RBIs and a .779 OPS, he expressed satisfaction with his performance thus far while acknowledging the perpetual pursuit of improvement.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

One thought on “Yankees’ first-frame fireworks convey a clear message to Dominguez

  1. This is one plan that went according to plan. Acquire 3 veteran OFs to join Aaron Judge in the OF, and Stanton has been able to stay healthy. 2 of the 3 OFs have been productive and Stanton productive enough, do there is no room right now on the club for him. Throw in the fact he barely played at Triple-A last year before his call up, and it’s not the worst thing in the world if he keeps playing and waiting for an injury call up.

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