Domingo German has appeared in four games for the Yankees so far this spring. He has allowed one run on seven hits, while walking four and striking out 13 batters over 10 2/3 innings pitched.
German’s most recent outing came in relief yesterday versus the Twins. He pitched three scoreless innings, giving up one hit, no walks, and striking out three. It was his most dominant Grapefruit League appearance yet.
In his start last Wednesday against the Mets, the right-hander retired the first six batters he faced in order, including striking out the side in the second inning. The punch-out victims were Todd Frazier, Adrian Gonzalez, and Jose Reyes.
Unfortunately, German’s perfect outing was spoiled when he walked the first two batters in the third inning. Walks had been his bugaboo during his cup of coffee in the big leagues last year. German allowed nine bases on balls in only 14 1/3 innings while pitching in relief for the Yankees in 2017.
The team’s number eighteen-ranked prospect continues to display his greatest asset, that being his ability to rack up strikeouts. German’s high strikeout rate in Grapefruit League action this spring is roughly in line with what he did during the regular season last year (11.3 k/9).
New York’s Opening Day pitching staff appears set. Manager Aaron Boone officially announced Jordan Montgomery as the fifth starter last week. The bullpen, meanwhile, will feature Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle. Chasen Shreve is out of minor-league options, so he will be the seventh man in the pen.
I currently have German listed as the club’s number-six starter, ahead of Chance Adams (who is not on the 40-man roster) and Luis Cessa. German is also battling Ben Heller and Jonathan Holder for the right to claim the eighth spot on the bullpen depth chart. He appears to have a leg up there as well.
Chad Green, you will recall, was the runner-up in the fifth starter competition last spring in what was a very close race. Green began the season in Triple-A, and the organization kept him stretched out as a starter in Scranton’s rotation, just in case. As it turned out, the Yankees’ starters stayed healthy until June, but the club needed help in the bullpen much sooner.
Green was called up at the beginning of May, and was such a force in relief, that he remained there for the duration. He ended up turning in a historically great season as a reliever, and was a big reason the team got to within one win of the World Series. Green’s pedigree as a starter proved to be an important part of his contribution to the team. Including the postseason, 33 of his 45 appearances were for more than one inning.
It’s easy to envision a similar career path moving forward for Domingo German. Barring a spring training injury to one of the pitchers slated to make the Opening Day roster, German will begin the season in Triple-A. Like Green before him, German will probably claim a spot in Scranton’s rotation to stay stretched out.
The injury bug will bite the major-league roster sooner or later — it always does. The Yankees used 25 pitchers in games last season. So German is going to get his chance soon enough. If German can continue to make strides in getting his walk-rate under control, the 25-year-old strikeout artist could prove to be a powerful weapon for the Yankees this year.