Before achieving victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night, Yankees‘ starting pitcher Domingo German boasted a 3.69 ERA, a figure only slightly above his final 2022 statistics.
Last year, he pitched 72.1 innings, recorded 7.22 strikeouts per nine, a 78.5% left-on-base rate, and a 39.8% ground-ball rate.
Despite a challenging start to the 2023 season, and serving a 10-game suspension due to excessive ‘sticky stuff’ on his hands, German has experienced a dramatic turnaround. Against the Red Sox, the 30-year-old starter threw 6.0 innings, allowed six hits, one earned run, and secured five strikeouts.
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The Yankees are getting the best of Domingo German:
German now has a 3.49 ERA, his career-best with a sample size exceeding 60 innings pitched. His 96th-percentile chase rate and 93rd-percentile fastball spin rate indicate that he’s currently at the peak of his performance, delivering consistently efficient outings. Over his last two starts, spanning 12.2 innings, he’s only surrendered two earned runs.
Evaluating his pitch repertoire, German has deployed his curveball 41.2% of the time this season, a noticeable rise from 37.3% in 2022. His four-seam fastball has seen a marginal decrease, but as his second most utilized pitch, it’s still at 26%. He also employs a change-up at 21.3% and a sinker at 11.5%, both of which have experienced a decrease in usage in favor of the curveball.
To date, his curveball has produced a .155 batting average against with a 36.9% whiff rate and a 30.3% put-away rate. Intriguingly, it registers -94% horizontal movement and -20% more vertical movement than the average pitcher. Generally, pitchers aim to create more active spin and movement, but German’s curveball stands out as an exception.
Most of his other pitches generate positive spin when it comes to horizontal movement, so his curveball can prove deceptive.
Given the number of injuries currently plaguing the Yankees’ rotation, German’s elevated performance is a boon. Luis Severino recently returned from a lat problem and is floundering, Nestor Cortés is on the injured list with a left rotator cuff strain, Carlos Rodon is still on the comeback trail, and Frankie Montas could potentially miss the entirety of the 2023 season.
The Yankees needed someone to rise to the occasion, and German has proven to be that player. Thankfully, they have him under contract until 2025.
Given his current trajectory, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Yankees retained German for the 2024 season through arbitration, preserving one of their back-end rotation arms.