It’s become redundant as another week has passed and another Domingo German start has left the media talking. The negative has transformed to the positive, the miss now a hit, and thoughts of what Domingo German could mean to this Yankee ball-club, whose thinnest area is its starting rotation, have now dominated New York headlines.
That’s because Domingo German’s repertoire, an emerging Cerberus of sorts featuring a running fastball, wipeout curve, and a Bugs Bunny changeup, could stand as the second most filthy arsenal of pitches in the Yankees rotation. Thus, it shouldn’t be a coincidence when cameras catch him at Luis Severino’s hip in between starts. If you want to be the best, learn from the best, right?
Last week I wrote an article saying how the Yankees need to be patient with German’s development; The 25-year-old Dominican has made it a habit to struggle in the first inning and then ride cruise control late into the ballgame. The stuff plays at the big league level, all he needs to learn is consistency.
Now, I endorse German with a full vote of confidence. Because a seven-inning performance of two runs (one earned), two hits, and nine strikeouts against one of the hottest teams in baseball in the Seattle Mariners deserves as much.
The Yankees still need one more starter to solidify their run for the playoffs, and that arm will most likely come via a trade. The price the Yankees will pay will probably be substantial, but German can’t be part of a package. Why?
He’s a diamond in the rough
When German was traded to the Yankees that sent Martin Prado to the Marlins in 2014, he was a throw-in, a consolation arm to help complete the deal that would bring Nathan Eovaldi to the Bronx.
Over the years, GM Brian Cashman has focused on collecting young, hard-throwing right-handers who can match their power fastballs with strong secondary pitches. It’s a formula that’s succeeded with Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, and Chad Green. So is it surprising to see German follow in their footsteps?
Consider only Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, and Shohei Ohtani have a higher percentage of swinging strikes than German. That’s a minimum of 40 innings pitched. His strikeout percentage, according to FanGraphs, sits at 38.7%. His ground ball/fly ball ratio sits evenly at 1.00, and 54.4% percent of the contact batters make occur out of the strike zone.
So can the Yankees’ afford to move him by the trade deadline? Rarely do you get a gamer with that makeup, finding the constitution to dig deep and deliver a quality start. He did it again against the Mariners; after an unearned first-inning run, he delivered a 1-2-3 inning from the second inning until a seventh-inning Nelson Cruz solo home run. It was the fourth straight start where German went at least six innings and his second consecutive win.
Domingo German is a blossoming power pitcher, and power pitchers are a commodity that should be treasured by every team. With an aging CC Sabathia, and Montgomery’s, Gray’s, and Tanaka’s durability all in question, is it wrong to see German slide into the number three slot by this time next year? Barring injury, is it ridiculous to see him form the second half of a one-two punch with Severino? Even if he doesn’t meet those expectations, he’s already provided a valuable arm out of the bullpen.
With the pitching market as thin as it is as the trade deadline approaches, the Yankees can point to German and prove they aren’t as desperate as many think they are.
And if Domingo German continues pitching the way he has been, he may prove to be more valuable than any other pitcher out there.
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