New York Yankees: What Pitcher will make the Biggest Impact in the Playoffs?

Lewis DeAngelis
New York Yankees, Domingo German
Apr 28, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German (55) throws a pitch during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest concern for the Aaron Boone and the New York Yankees has to be deciding the three or four starters in the postseason.

Most of the Yankees’ starting pitching has been average at best. It will most certainly be tough building a playoff rotation against the top offenses in the league. The top candidate for getting the nod in game 1 of the American League Division Series is Domingo German. Unless, the former ace, Luis Severino, can come back strong from his injury, German has to be the favorite.

German is leading Major League Baseball with 16 wins. If he continues to get run support, he should continue to dominate in the postseason with his 3.96 earned-run average (MLB At Bat). Being only 27 years old, Yankee fans hope to see German become a superstar for a long time. He started most of his career in the bullpen and had a few spots starts the last couple of years.  No one saw this coming from German, but he has really helped stabilize the rotation this year.

What has been the key to German’s success this year?

German’s ability to expand the strike zone with his curveball has led to a lot of swings and misses this year. This league now demands an upper 90s fastball and a high spin rate on a breaking pitch. Severino is the only one in the rotation that fits those standards. However, German has a fastball ranging from 93 to 95 miles per hour and curveball with a lot of dive. An underrated stat for pitchers: spin rate. German has an average spin rate of 2,565 rotations per minute on his curveball. Masahiro Tanaka tries to accomplish the same with his splitter and slider with an average of 2,387 rotations per minute (MLB At Bat).

Chase rate has also appeared to become an advantage for “finesse” pitchers that do not throw in the upper 90s. Larry Rothschild, the pitching coach of the New York Yankees, has to receive a lot of credit teaching the pitchers to have their breaking pitches “drop off the table.” The Yankees’ pitchers have excelled at making their breaking pitches look like a strike then, with a high spin rate, dropping off the corners of the plate. This formula has seemed to be the key for pitchers with an average or below-average velocity on their fastball. Hopefully, German can continue to use this recipe to his advantage for his starts in the postseason.