New York Yankees Player Profiles: Domingo German, can he return to form?

New York Yankees, Domingo German
iJul 20, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German (65) pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez is controversial, Domingo German is even more controversial. Not for the same reason as Sanchez, but for a more egregious reason. In an act of poor judgment, the pitcher in public appeared to have slapped his wife during a dinner. MLB investigated, and German ended up being suspended for 80 games causing him to miss the 2019 playoffs and the entire shortened 2020 season. Fans were on the fence as to if the Yankees should take him back. Owner Hal Steinbrenner said he would have to prove to him that he was a changed man. Apparently, he did, and he is back on the 2021 roster.

Domingo German Polanco was born on August 4, 1992, in the San Pedro de Macoris province’s capital in the south-eastern region of the Dominican Republic. Like thousands of other boys in the Dominican Republic, he trained on the sparse patch of grass and dirt near his home. He played baseball there in school. Domingo always wants to be a pitcher in the Major Leagues. He decided not to attend college but try out for inclusion in the Marlins baseball training facility in Boca Chica in the Republic. Several teams share the training facility. The state-of-the-art facility includes dormitories for players and coaches, also features playing fields, weight room and training facilities, clubhouses, classrooms, and recreational areas for participating players.

When Domingo was just seventeen years old, he was signed by the Florida Marlins as an international free agent. He made his debut with the Dominican Summer League Marlins in 2010, where he continue to hone his skills until he was transferred to the Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2014, where he went 9-3 with an ERA of 2.48 and 113 strikeouts. Because the Marlins realized Domingo’s prospects, they decided to use him to trade with the Yankees to get Martin Prado and David Phelps. To complete the trade, they gave up Nathan Eovaldi and German to the Yankees.

In 2015 it was discovered that Domingo needed Tommy John surgery and missed
the entire season recovering. They re-added him to their 40-man roster after the 2016 season. On June 10, 2017, German made his major league debut against the Baltimore Orioles as a relief pitcher going three innings and not allowing a run. He ended the season of relieving with an 0-1 record and a 3.14 ERA. He made his first start for the Yankees on May 6, 2018, against the Indians. He pitched six scoreless innings while striking out nine. He ended the season with 19 games pitched as a starter or reliever with a record of 2-6 and an ERA of 5.68. He was optioned to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he played the remainder of the season.

German (pronounced ‘her mon’) pitched so well in spring training that he started the season on the 40 man roster. He did nothing but impress before his suspension. He won nine of his first, ten games. He ended his season the winning most New York Yankee pitcher going 18-4 with an ERA of 4.03 with 153 strikeouts. All this while substituting for the rehabbing Luis Severino.

German like Severino will be a question going into the new season. German has not pitched in a year and Severino in almost two years. German will be tested first as Severino is not expected back with the team until late June at the earliest but before the All-Star break. Before acquiring Corey Kluber and the trade for Jameson Taillon, German was expected to be the second starter behind Gerrit Cole. With the rotation upgraded, he will most likely combine with Jordan Montgomery for the number four or five spots. General manager Brian Cashman has said he is relying on German to return to his previous form. When Severino rejoins the rotation, it will likely be adjusted or switch to a six-man rotation.

Domingo and his wife and two children, a boy and a girl, spend their time between New York during the season and the Dominican Republic for much of the offseason where many of his relatives reside. The Yankees see a bright future for German. German pitched in the winter league. After a great start dominating in two games, he fell off, ending his five-game season with an ERA of 7.16 in 16.1 innings. The Yankees will be watching German intently in spring training. The Yankees will need as much pitching as possible as they need to be careful with all pitchers as they adjust to the 162 game season.