Yankees have solved one starting rotation problem

New York Yankees, Domingo german
Mar 6, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German (0) throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second inning during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have already suffered two major blows in the starting rotation, with Frankie Montas expected to miss most of the 2023 season and Carlos Rodon beginning on the injured list. Montas underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder to correct an issue that had been lingering, but Rodon suffered a left forearm strain that could’ve been much worse.

Supplementing two starting pitchers before the regular season even starts is undoubtedly not what the Yankees hoped for. Luckily, they had two back-end rotation options fighting it out for a supplementary role. Clarke Schmidt and Domingo German have been in the middle of a position battle, but the latter of the two seems to have locked down the opportunity.

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The Yankees are confident in Domingo German:

German, 30, pitched 72.1 innings last year for the Yankees. He hosted a 3.61 ERA, 4.33 xFIP, 7.22 strikeouts per nine, and a 78.5% left-on-base rate. German pitched 143 innings back in 2019 when he collected 18 wins, posting a 4.03 ERA and nearly 10 strikeouts per nine. German is looking to replicate those numbers through aggressive pitching, attacking the strike zone, and forcing opposing batters to make decisive moves.

“That was a key element to the successful campaign I had a few years back,” German said through an interpreter of his 18-win campaign in 2019. “I felt that I’ve been doing that at a good pace this year so far in camp. So really just looking to be aggressive in the zone and not wasting time there.”

Per the NY Post.

This spring, German has been nothing but solid, hosting a 3.52 ERA across three games and 7.2 innings. He struck out 10 batters in that timeframe, hosting a 0.78 WHIP and displaying consistency the Yankees need in the rotation.

“Attacking, but also, he’s such a good strike thrower,” manager Aaron Boone said. “So attacking it but attacking it with his best stuff. Don’t hold anything back. That’s what’s been good to see. The crispness, the sharpness of the stuff has been consistently better. That’s been good to see.”

Schmidt may have an opportunity to fill in at the back end of the rotation, despite losing the position battle to German. With Rodon missing time, Schmidt may have to make a few starts to help supplement his loss, as manager Aaron Boone believes he can make a return in April as a best-case scenario.

Nonetheless, seeing German perform well is exactly what the Yankees needed to feel comfortable in the starting rotation. Montas likely won’t significantly impact the upcoming season, so while general manager Brian Cashman may go out and acquire another starter to help strengthen the unit, it seems they feel confident Domingo can get the job done.