Is it possible Seranthony Domínguez’s dominance the first three months of the season has been underappreciated?
Not that people don’t know he is pitching well. They do. Not that they don’t recognize his value to a bullpen with late-inning issues. They do.
But do they grasp his dominance in a historical context?
Domínguez’s ERA is the lowest among qualified Phillies relievers since Billy Wagner in 2005 (1.51). His 1.89 FIP is the lowest ever. His 0.86 WHIP is the lowest since Giles in 2014 (0.79). His strikeout rate (34.7%) is the second-best ever. His strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.00) is the best since Papelbon in 2013 (5.18).
“He’s as good as what I saw before he got hurt [in 2019],” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. “Is he better? Maybe a little bit.”
Domínguez’s sinker is leading the way. Opponents are batting .074 (2-for-27) against it, which is the lowest batting average against sinkers of any pitcher (minimum 25 plate appearances). It averages 97.6 mph, which is tied for the 10th-fastest sinker (minimum 100 thrown). It probably explains why he is throwing it more than ever: 28.4% this season compared to 2021 (14.3%), 2019 (1.5%) and 2018 (6.8%).
He has closer’s stuff. So, why isn’t he the closer? It is a fair question, and one Thomson has been asked multiple times the past couple of weeks. It could happen eventually, but for the moment, Thomson is committed to close by committee.