New York Yankees Spotlight: Domingo German and Brett Gardner, spring training stars

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Brett Gardner
May 29, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) rounds the bases after hitting a game tying two run home run against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This is a new weekly column featuring the New York Yankee who has made the most positive impact on the team during spring training for the week. It will spotlight one pitcher and one hitter that excelled beyond the rest.

This week’s pitcher spotlight is on Domingo German. So far in spring training, he has performed the best of any starter. Although he apparently struggled in winter ball, he has done the exact opposite so far this spring. Putting it simply, he has been pure dominance. Obviously, the sample is small, but it is what it is, and it’s great.

No other starter has pitched more innings than German. He has an ERA of 0.00 with only two hits allowed and has stuck out 7 opponents while walking none. Unfortunately, German carries with him much baggage that is not very pleasant to talk about. He shows that he is a changed man off the field and is working to prove it to the team and the fans.

Both Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon run a close second but haven’t pitched enough innings to be in contention. Taillon will pitch again today and Kluber on Saturday. So far, the worst-performing pitcher is ace Gerrit Cole. With Cole, there will be an ongoing conversation on who will catch him. Like last season, Cole struggled in his first start with Gary Sanchez, then cut his ERA in half in the next game caught by Kyle Higashioka.

This week’s hitter spotlight goes to Brett Gardner, who leads the entire team in OPS for players playing in at least four games. His OPS (on-base % + slugging) is an incredible 1.722. He has one homer and has driven in more runs, sharing that stat with Chris Gittens than any player. Brett is the last holdover from the New York Yankees’ 2009 World Championship, and based on his performance so far this spring train; he has been the bright spot in the lineup.

The New York Yankees, after the season, refused to exercise Brett’s option and bought out his contract. He waited until almost to the beginning of spring training for the Yankees to give him an offer. They did, and now Gardner shows the team why he is still an important tool going into a year that the Yankees hope to win another championship.

Running a very close second is Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez. He has an OPS of 1,544 with three home runs in just seven games. That’s a home run in every 2.3 games or the torrid pace of 70 homers in a season. Giancarlo Stanton has also gotten off to a good start, and LeMahieu is LeMahieu. On the other side of the coin, Aaron Judge has gotten off to a disappointing start. He has no homers and is batting only .250, although he is healthy so far.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.