Exclusive: Tampa Bay Fourth-Round Pick Dominic Keeganby Rephael Negnewitzky July 22, 2022 0 comments
The MLB Draft has wrapped up and many teams walked away with several dynamic prospects. One, in particular, is Dominic Keegan who the Rays were fortunate to snag towards the end of the fourth round. Ranked 97th in MLB’s Prospect Rankings, the 21-year-old slugged his way to the MLB Draft. While the road to the Majors was on the table with the Yankees drafting him in 2021 (19th round), Keegan was determined to stick with his alma mater at Vanderbilt. He stuck around for two more seasons where he polished several aspects of his game, ultimately increasing his draft stock. Slashing .371/.458/.646 on top of 14 dingers in his senior year was the final step towards solidifying his profile.
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Rephael: What was the draft process like?
Dominic: First I went to the combine in San Diego to get a feel of who was interested and who wasn’t. For the days leading up to the draft, I had many conversations and was by the phone a lot.
Rephael: Were you expecting a call from the Rays?
Dominic: They had called me earlier and I knew they were interested when we met in San Diego. I wasn’t 100 percent positive they were going to pick me, up until the pick. Although they were one of the teams interested.
Rephael: How did Central Catholic prepare you for the collegiate level?
Dominic: I think that giving me the opportunity to play as a young kid against older kids right away as a freshman playing varsity. Playing against them at a very young age, you have to bring your game up to theirs and it makes you grow up a lot faster.
Rephael: Why did you choose Vanderbilt?
Dominic: Initially I was committed to Virginia Tech but there was a coaching change there and in my junior year I de-committed and committed to Vanderbilt the next day. Vanderbilt was always one of those schools you see playing on TV and they have such a great program and it shows. You just want to be a part of it. That was my dream and once they reached out it was a no-brainer.
Career at Vanderbilt
RN: What was it like experiencing the College World Series?
DK: Playing the very first and last game of the year, you get to experience everything. To be able to do it twice and experience two different outcomes. I’m thankful for it and it shows that all the work you put in doesn’t guarantee success, it guarantees an opportunity to be there at the end. It was cool to win it, it was cool to lose it, and after putting in all that work throughout the whole year and you come up a game short, it’s just how baseball is. I wouldn’t take any of it back.
Rephael: Do you have any favorite memories from College and High School Ball?
Dominic: Being out there in Omaha is a baseball player’s dream and the two weeks go by so fast. It’s the best two weeks of your life to play in front of those people and experience the environment. It’s just really cool and it’s something I’ll never forget.
Prepping for the Big Leagues
RN: Are there any areas in your game that you feel can improve?
DK: My catching ability is my main focus right now, getting better back there and becoming a better defensive catcher.
RN: Do you have any routines when stepping into the batter’s box?
DK: I tap the plate the same way, swinging the bat over my shoulders as well.
RN: Is there a pro player that you mold your game after?
DK: I look at J.D. Martinez‘s swing a lot, I like how he swings. He uses the whole field, with a flat swing, and can drive the ball the other way which I like to do. I like Mookie Betts‘ swing as well. I wouldn’t say a particular player but I watch the game and try to pick up on certain things that hitters do and use it to my advantage.
Rephael: What motivates you to give 110 percent?
Dominic: I’m just a competitor and I just like to win. Every time I step on the field I just want to win and that’s what motivates me. I’ve won the College World Series, lost the College World Series, and lost in the Regional. Losing hurts way more than it does winning the National Championship.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images