Phillies 2024 Season Preview: RHP Seranthony Domínguez

Domínguez will be an important piece of the Phillies 2024 bullpen, but he has to figure out his sinker to reach the potential we know is there.
Seranthony Dominguez, Philadelphia Phillies
Seranthony Dominguez, Philadelphia Phillies / Harry How/GettyImages

The next player in our Philadelphia Phillies 2024 Season Preview Series is reliever Seranthony Domínguez.

Previous season previews: José Alvarado, Andrew Bellatti, Alec Bohm, Connor Brogdon, Nick Castellanos, Rodolfo Castro, Kody Clemens, Jake Cave, Dylan Covey

We'll start by digging into Domínguez's 2023 season and then take a look at the popular Steamer and ZiPS projection systems, which can be found on FanGraphs.

Seranthony Domínguez 2023 stats and 2024 projections

2023 Stats: 57 G, 50 IP, 5-5 record, 3.77 ERA, 4.84 FIP, 1.40 WHIP, 48 SO, 22 BB, 0.1 fWAR

2024 Steamer: 70 G, 50 IP, 4-3 record, 3.96 ERA, 4.16 FIP, 1.31 WHIP, 75 SO, 30 BB, 0.6 fWAR

2024 ZiPS: 57 G, 52.0 IP, 6-5 record, 4.15 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, 59 SO, 25 BB, 0.5 fWAR

Seranthony Domínguez 2024 season preview

Will 2024 finally be the season that Seranthony Domínguez stays healthy?

The 29-year-old right-hander has shown the promise of being a back-of-the-bullpen weapon since he first debuted in 2018, but elbow problems early in his career resulted in Tommy John surgery in 2020, and he missed nearly two entire seasons. He appeared in 54 games in 2022, recording nine saves in 51 innings, but battled triceps tendinitis and was shut down until he returned for nine games during the postseason.

Domínguez appeared in 57 games in 2023, posting a 5-5 record, two saves, 48 strikeouts, 30 walks, and a 3.78 ERA in 50 innings. Expected to be a major cog in the back of the Phillies bullpen, Domínguez battled bouts of inconsistency all season.

Injuries struck Domínguez again in 2023. In June, he was shut down for a month with an oblique strain and didn't return until late July. Despite being credited with 14 holds, he was also responsible for seven blown saves and allowed career highs in hits (48), walks (30), and home runs (seven) last season.

A tale of two projections for Domínguez in 2024

Steamer and ZiPS models for Domínguez project two very different outcomes for the hard-throwing right-hander this season. Steamer takes a more optimistic view of Domínguez in 2024, projecting him to appear in a career-high 70 games and pitch a career-high 70 innings. ZiPS is projecting a season similar to 2023, with 57 games and 52 innings.

Steamer views Domínguez having a strong season out of the Phillies bullpen. The model projects Domínguez posting a 4-3 record, 75 strikeouts, 30 walks, and a 3.96 ERA. The ERA is a little high, but Phillies fans would be happy to see a full season out of the valuable reliever. Steamer also projects Domínguez to improve his 4.84 FIP from last season to 4.16 in 2024, decrease his WHIP from 1.40 to 1.31, and best his 2023 K/9 of 8.64 with a 9.59 showing.

Meanwhile, ZiPS is projecting 2024 to mirror Domínguez's numbers from last season. ZiPS projects him to post a 6-5 record, 59 strikeouts, 25 walks, and a bloated 4.15 ERA in 52 innings. Like the Steamer projection above, ZiPS predicts improvement for Domínguez this season with a 10.2 K/9 rate, a 1.34 WHIP, and a 4.24 FIP.

Domínguez needs to improve his sinker in 2024

Domínguez has a four-pitch arsenal that combines a four-seam fastball, a slider, a sinker, and a rarely-used changeup. According to Baseball Savant, he dominated with his fastball and slider last season. Opposing hitters were held to a .222 batting average against his fastball and a microscopic .173 against the slider. The slider had an even better xBA of .156 and a 46.6 percent whiff rate. The changeup seemed to be an afterthought, as he only threw the pitch four percent of the time.

The problem for Domínguez last season was a sinker that opposing hitters feasted on to the tune of a .317 batting average, a .429 slugging percentage, and resulted in 20 of the 48 hits he allowed in 2023. Despite the ineffectiveness of his sinker, he threw the pitch the second most of his four offerings, 29.2 percent of the time.

It's clear that he spent a lot of time trying to rediscover a pitch that resulted in a .206 opponent batting average in 2022. If Domínguez wants to return to being a viable three-pitch reliever, he'll have to figure out how to use the pitch in 2024 or let it go in favor of his four-seamer and slider.

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