In Spanish, the word “Domingo” means “Sunday”, which is viewed by many as the start of a new week.
In Staten Island, a pitcher who bears that name is starting off his baseball career on a deadly fast note.
Right-handed pitcher Domingo Acevedo, a 2012 international free agent signee, has taken Staten Island by storm as the Baby Bombers try to make their first trip to the NY-Penn League Playoffs since that same year. After a single start with Charleston, Acevedo has toed the rubber three times for Staten Island. Though he has yet to record a decision, Acevedo’s performances in front of the famous New York City skyline have earned rave reviews from past and present Staten Islanders alike.
“You’re looking at a guy who’s going to be dominant,” said Osborn. “He’s a type of guy who can have the count work with him, not against him. If he gets that down on a consistent basis, he’s solid.”
One of Osborn’s predecessors and current Yankees Director of International Player Development, Pat McMahon, concurred.
“Domingo is a hard working young man who understands what it takes to pitch at these various levels,” said McMahon, manager of Staten Island’s 2008 squad. “He knows what to do with the stuff he has, and works hard to command his pitches and works his way into advantage counts. He’s always had an amazing fastball but best trying to bring along a slider now.”
In addition to the continuity he has established with Osborn, Acevedo has also benefited from working with MLB veteran Butch Henry, a left hander best known for his work with the 1994 Expos, owners of the best record in baseball.
“We’re working real hard to have him master not just the fastball, but the slider as well,” said Henry. “He’s hit 100 [miles per hour], so the fastballs there, he’s got the velocity. He’s working hard, trying to gain that feel with the slider. Once he gets that down, we’re going to see a lot more swings and misses.”
Speaking through translator and Coach Teuris “T.O.” Olivares, Acevedo credits the coaching staff throughout the Yankees organization for his success thus far.
“I was watching video of a previous start with [Henry],” Acevedo said. “We talked about how it looked like my shoulder was opening too early. So we worked on it and adjusted it in practice and it paid off.”
Acevedo’s prowess was perhaps best displayed in his last start, coming on the July 4 holiday tilt against the Hudson Valley Renegades. On an Independence Day where hitting was at a premium and fireworks blasted across the river, Acevedo provided the Richmond County Bank Ballpark crowd with fireworks on the field long before the postage ones lit up.
The Dominican Republic native did not allow a hit through his first four frames, and reached the century mark on the radar gun several times. He would finish the day with seven strikeouts over five innings allowing just two hits and one earned run. The outing lowered his ERA to 2.38 with the Yankees. Staten Island couldn’t get him the victory, falling 2-1, but the 21 year old left an impression on McMahon, who now works in scouting and player development with the Yankees.
“Anytime a guy has an above average fastball like [Acevedo] does, that can always be seen as a positive step,” McMahon said. “Being able to command where that pitch is going is a huge part of that. He’s also displayed a command of secondary pitches, as well as an ability to play the field. All those are expected of a player to become a star pitcher for the New York Yankees.”
The Staten Island skipper was equally impressed.
“That was pretty impressive,” he said. “His fast is pretty much unhittable, it speaks for itself. He also had the slider and the change up working too. He looked great and I was very proud of him.”
Acevedo’s hope of course is to one day make it to the big show in The Bronx, but for now he’s going to savor the opportunity he has in Staten Island, honing in on his pitches and improving everything, even that deadly fastball that’s stymied batters throughout the league.
“I’m always ready to go further in the game,” Acevedo said. “I feel better over my past three starts. I’m always looking to improve.“