The Dodgers inked Dominguez for just $50,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2007. He spent three years in the Dominican Summer League, as a starter and improved each year. The organization moved him stateside in 2011.
After a solid showing for the club’s rookie ball affiliates, Jose primarily pitched out of the bullpen in 2012. I remember seeing him in spring training that year, as he flashed a hard breaking ball while touching 97mph on the gun. He had an up and down showing in Great Lakes before finishing the season in Double A. I saw him again during spring training in 2013, and was blown away. The first two pitches he threw were 99mph.
Last season was Dominguez’ coming out party. He started the year in Chattanooga’s bullpen, dominating the circuit to the tune of a 2.60 ERA with 28 strikeouts in just 17.1 innings. He then moved up to Albuquerque and did the impossible: he didn’t allow a run. Granted, it was only eight innings, but still quite the feat.
Before long, the Dodgers needed another arm in the major league pen and Jose got the call. His debut went as expected: he threw a 97mph for his first pitch and his fourth registered at 101mph for his first major league strikeout. He touched 100mph two more times and didn’t throw another fastball below 99mph.
Despite his elite velocity and good breaking ball, Dominguez didn’t miss many bats. This was likely a result of the fastball being fairly flat and his lack of plus command of the pitch. Generally, with a fastball that touches 100mph, you don’t need great command to have success. His strikeouts could increase with better pitch sequencing.
2014 Outlook: A quadriceps injury ended Jose’s 2013 season early. He’s also been suspended twice for violating baseball’s drug agreement. For this upcoming season, he needs to stay healthy and stay out of trouble. With the Dodgers’ overcrowded bullpen, he’ll likely begin the season in Triple A. However, if and when injuries hit, his name will be high on the list of replacements.
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