Dom Keegan’s baseball career thus far can be summed up in one word. Patience.
The Methuen native awaited his turn as a freshman when he was a rarely used reserve on Vanderbilt University’s 2019 College World Series championship team. He kept an eye on the prize throughout 2020, first after a terrifying health scare kept him sidelined for the first few months of the year and then after the COVID-19 pandemic cut short its second season before it really kicked off.
Even last year, when he broke out as a junior, taking second-team All-American honors while leading Vanderbilt to a game of another College World Series title, Keegan did so as first base and designated batter instead of his natural position of catcher.
Now he has one more patience and misses an opportunity to sign a pro contract with the New York Yankees so he can finish what he started with Vanderbilt.
Keegan was recently named a Preseason First Team All-American by Perfect Game, which also identified Vanderbilt as the No. 1 preseason team in the country. The former central Catholic great is expected to finally see extensive action at catcher and serve as leader for a young Vanderbilt-squad that is expected to compete for the title again.
“It was easier to put off professional baseball for a year than it was to say goodbye to Vanderbilt University,” Keegan said. “I’m super excited to be back here and give this one more try.”
Keegan has had a stellar junior season hitting .345 with 15 home runs and 57 RBI, as well as posting a .427 on-base percentage and .638 slugging percentage. He initially started the year seventh, but soon earned a bump into third, where he remained for the rest of the year.
After the season, Keegan was drafted in the 19th round of the 2021 MLB Draft by the Yankees, but he had already decided before the draft that he would return to Vanderbilt for another year.
“I felt like another year of growth, another year under Coach Corbin and another year to join the SEC, that was what I needed for my personal development,” Keegan said. “It kind of came down to that.”
For Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin, Keegan’s breakthrough was worth seeing. Originally from Wolfeboro, NH, Corbin has strong ties to New England and originally recruited Keegan largely because he and other trusted baseball people who knew Keegan believed the former Raider had what it took to thrive in a nationally competitive program like Vanderbilt.
“That’s the thing about him, he’s very serious about what he does,” said Corbin, who led Vanderbilt to two College World Series titles. “If he ever takes on a challenge that he’s totally into, he’s a kid doing everything he does.”
While Keegan has struggled for playing time or some health issue in recent years, Corbin said Keegan’s patience is finally paying off and he now has the chance to really take ownership of the team. He said Keegan is going into the new season completely healthy and is currently doing much of his work behind the plate, although he is also cross training at first base.
If Keegan continues to thrive while proving he can play catcher at a high level, he will likely soar up the prospect ranks and potentially become an early selection in next year’s draft. He won’t be short of confidants during that time—several of his former Vanderbilt teammates plus former Central friend Steve Hajjar are currently playing professional baseball—but in the meantime, he’s excited to wrap up his college career on his own terms.
“I’m happy with where I am now, I’m proud of where I am. Everyone has a different path and my path was to stay here and get the job done here,” Keegan said. “I’m looking forward to that and those guys know that too and they’ve supported me 100 percent.”