Gabe Kapler ventured to Reading on Monday night and polished off a 20-ounce ribeye.
"Medium rare," the Phillies manager said. "Great steak."
But dinner was not Kapler's lone takeaway from his trip to Berks County. He watched double-A Reading and marveled at Seranthony Dominguez, a righthanded reliever who seems destined to reach the majors this season. The manager's steak was great, but he said Dominguez was "sensational."
"He definitely has the talent. He definitely has the demeanor," Kapler said when asked if Dominguez could contribute this season in Philadelphia. "One of the things I mentioned as I was watching him was as we went out for mound visits, this is a guy that's completely composed and in some ways similar to the way that Scott Kingery's heartbeat is. Very cool, calm and collected. Then to come up and dial up 97 to 98 with a nasty slider. Those two things in combination lead me to believe that he can make an impact."
Kapler saw Dominguez retire the three batters he faced in the sixth inning. The 23-year-old has retired his last 18 batters and has 18 strikeouts and just two walks in 13 innings. He struck out 75 batters last season in 621/3 innings at single-A Clearwater. Dominguez, who is already on the 40-man roster, first impressed Kapler during spring training when the manager said he had "electric stuff" and "the bravado of a seasoned veteran." Kapler watched Reading's game from a lower-level seat surrounded by members of the team's player development staff.
"One of the things that I came away with was that our player development staff is so incredibly invested in what we're doing here and deserve a lot of credit for the start that we're off to," Kapler said. "Their fingerprints are all over this major-league club and we're in this together."
Dominguez will for now stay in Reading, but it would not be a surprise if he was moved by June to triple A. The majors would then just be a step away. The Phillies bullpen has been solid, but room can be made if Dominguez continues to impress once he's promoted. And perhaps Kapler could show him where to find a good steak in Center City.