Opinion: Examining German’s Upside for Yankees

New York Yankees pitcher Domingo German delivers against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 1, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

After taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning of Sunday’s afternoon contest in Baltimore against the Orioles, it is normal to wonder who is the real Domingo German. In this article, German’s pitches, sequencing, and advanced statistics are looked into to find an answer to that question.

Across three seasons German has appeared in 30 Major League games, pitching to mixed results. Over 111.00 innings pitched, he owns a 4-7 overall record, sports a mediocre 4.86 ERA, but struck out an impressive 130 batters and has a WHIP of 1.30.

New York Yankees pitcher Domingo German delivers against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 1, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Fast-forward to this season and over two starts German is nearly un-hittable. He’s pitched 11 innings, has a 2-0 record and is pitching with a 1.64 ERA and 0.91 WHIP.

What’s been the biggest improvement? He is mixing his pitches better and has honed the command of his three-pitch mix.

In his season debut in the Yankees April 1st contest against Detroit, German only permitted one hit over five innings, however, the right-hander walked five Tigers.

In a postgame interview on Sunday, German told reporters through an interpreter that “the key today was to mix my pitches and be unpredictable out there, try to use my changeup in a way that they weren’t expecting it…That’s something I worked on in-between starts. It worked out very well for me today.”

His catcher Austin Romine echoed very similar sediments in his postgame interview. The backstop said “They didn’t know what was coming most of the time because he was throwing everything… He has a heavy sinker that was working to keep them honest. He could throw his curveball at any time. His changeup, he leaned on through the middle innings. It was impressive.”

Domingo German has put together two very impressive starts to begin the 2019 campaign. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

One thing is for certain, German’s dominance is a welcome sight for the Yankees as the organizations’ starting rotation is treading water until the return of ace Luis Severino and veteran southpaw CC Sabathia.

Okay, so you acknowledge that he is passing the old school eye test, but you have to wonder what exactly is the non-traditional analytics saying. Do they bode well for his future this season?

In short, the advanced metrics are incredibly promising for the Dominican Republic native. To name a few: his fastball spin rate ranks in the top 5 percent of all big-league pitchers. German also has limited hard contact, ranking in the 85th percentile and 83rd percentile of pitchers in Hard-Hit % and Exit Velocity, respectively.

The 26-year old has the Yankees organization dreaming of what could be. Manager Aaron Boone said “That’s what Domingo is capable of when he’s at his best and commanding things” when talking about his most recent outing.

At just 6’2” and 175 pounds, German is a lanky pitcher who contains a live arm. His fastball has averaged 94.3 miles per hour this season which is a tick above the Major League average of 93.1 mph. The pitch has a plethora of movement on it too.

His curveball is an above-average offering that features room for improvement. However, his changeup as mentioned earlier has been the difference maker. He’s commanding it this season, allowing it to be an effective third pitch. It’s genuinely made him much less predictable out on the mound.

The future looks bright for the young right whom the Yankees acquired from the Miami Marlins back on December 19, 2014, along with Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones for David Phelps and Martin Prado. He is undoubtedly a lock to remain in the rotation when Severino and Sabathia return, so he will all but certainly have an excellent opportunity to showcase himself for the future.

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