No, not Chris Sale, though both of them have suffered through UCL tears (write through the pain, write through the pain...).
Before the Yankees lost Jasson Dominguez for the remainder of the season and a good portion of 2024 with a torn UCL (they're still weighing surgical options), he crashed 2023 like a bull in a china shop (if that china shop had a short porch).
Dominguez homered on the first swing he took in the big leagues, depositing a Justin Verlander curveball into the Crawford Boxes in Houston. He launched another one on Sunday Night Baseball, keying a sweep in the Yankees' recent House of Horrors. He homered twice more in the Bronx, both times finding right-center with a well-struck laser. He announced his presence with authority to the point where he made Yankees hitting coach Sean Casey think of another raw 20-something who eventually developed into something resembling a full-grown rhinoceros: Manny Ramirez.
Dominguez probably loves this comparison, considering he eventually (under duress) admitted in the dugout on Sunday Night Baseball last week that Ramirez and David Ortiz were two hitters he watched and admired growing up. Who wasn't terrified of those freaks? Nothing to be ashamed of. They were quite good.
Will Yankees be able to count on Jasson Dominguez to be Aaron Judge's copilot?
The basis for Casey's comparison is not just the ferocity of Dominguez's swing, but also the young hitter's willingness to attack any pitch and send it in whatever direction it dictates:
"The (comparison) that I have with him is a young Manny Ramirez. The same kind of sometimes you think Manny’s like ‘Hey, what’s he thinking?’ Jasson Dominguez keeps it very simple.- Sean Casey
He’s not fooled a lot at the plate. He’s up there hunting that fastball but he can hit the breaking ball and hit the slider. He’s obviously a switch hitter, too. I knew Manny when he was young; it felt the same way."
Ramirez's debut came with Cleveland at the tail end of the 1993 season at the age of 21. He hit just .170 with a .200 OBP, powering two homers and striking out eight times in 55 plate appearances.
The very next season, he finished second in the Rookie of the Year balloting, OPSing .878 for a Cleveland team that was off to the races as the mid-90s approached.
Hopefully, Dominguez's 2023 season represented the lack of a big-league adjustment curve, though things are about to get wonky again once he's fully recovered (at some point) next season. Ramirez would be an ideal outcome and a tone-setter for a franchise that could really use one. Maybe Dominguez will do the one thing Ramirez couldn't, too: stay with the team that first brought him to the bigs long-term.