I think it’s safe to say that very few people support Domingo German the person. I quite frankly didn’t want him on the roster after what happened in his abuse case and then his retiring fiasco. This didn’t deter the Yankees, who probably got to talk to the young right-hander. He’s heading into his age 28 season, and time is running out on waiting for him. With all of that said, his pitch mix bodes well among the analytical side of baseball. This, paired with an analytical pitching coach in Matt Blake, has success written all over it. The Yankees need starters, and Domingo German could be a surprise for them in 2021.
One of Baseball’s Best Curveballs
Domingo German had a 44.7% strikeout percentage on his curveball, one of baseball’s best marks. Among pitchers with 100 plate appearances with their curveball, he had the 6th highest strikeout percentage on that pitch. He was also 6th in whiff% as well, giving him one of baseball’s very best curves. His curveball had a minuscule .251 xwOBA against in 2019 and a .191 xBA against. His ability to avoid hard contact on his curve and get those swings and misses make it a very valuable asset.
Having Untapped Potential
Domingo German has a career 4.52 ERA, but that’s not the full story. See, his xFIP, SIERA, and pCRA (all ERA estimators based on your strikeouts, walks, and home runs, among other things) suggest that he’s much better than that. His xFIP is 4.08, his SIERA is 3.91, and his pCRA is at 3.84 since 2018. This suggests that German is more of a high 3-ERA pitcher, and that’s pretty good for an American League pitcher. While I know that he isn’t an elite starter, he still has the potential to be a guy who would be a 3 in plenty of other rotations. While he can’t be a guy you rely on in a game 2, if he’s your back end starter, his potential makes him an amazing option.
Can Domingo German Control His Biggest Problem as a Yankee?
His obvious issue is his home runs. His HR/FB% was 17.6%, which is really high. He had a 1.89 HR/9 in 2019, and that will not cut it. His issues with the longball come from his inability to pitch on the road for some reason. Who would think that German could have a 1.41 HR/9 at the Bronx and a 2.27 on the road? His fastball is thrown in the middle a ton, and it led to a lot of home runs, and while I don’t think it’s something that would fully change, I think Matt Blake will have German elevate his fastball more. This would generate swings and misses and allow German to be more swing and miss and fewer souvenirs in the outfield seats.
Do I think Domingo German will be a top-flight starter for the Yankees? No, but I think he’s going to be a really solid arm for them. He’s going to get innings and contribute, and it’ll be a season that shows off German’s promise as a starter.