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2017 Yankees Season Review: Domingo German

What can Domingo German offer the Yankees going forward?

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game One Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

When the Yankees acquired Nathan Eovaldi from the Miami Marlins before the 2015 season, New York also received pitching prospect Domingo German. At the time of the deal, he had dominated rookie ball and was finding similar success in A-ball, but there were few expectations. After a few ups and downs with the Yankees, German finally arrived in 2017.

Things did not get off to a great start in his new organization. Just months into his time with the Yankees, German required Tommy John surgery and missed out on the entire 2015 season. Brian Cashman had traded Martin Prado and David Phelps to get Nathan Eolvaldi, but it already felt a bit like the Yankees lost out on some of their return.

Thankfully, German managed to get back onto the mound by June of 2016 and was able to put up good numbers as a starting pitcher. The Yankees were impressed enough to push him up to High-A where he spent just five games before the end of the season. Surprisingly, the organization decided to keep him rolling by allowing him to start the 2017 season in Double-A Trenton, and he never looked back.

During his time in the minors this year, German maintained an impressive 2.88 ERA with a 9.8 strikeout rate and 2.8 walk rate over 109.1 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Given the often slow recovery following Tommy John surgery, it feels like this may have been the the best case scenario for him and the Yankees.

New York liked what he was doing so much that the team actually gave him a chance to compete on the big league team this year. As a reliever, German only appeared in seven games, mostly in mop up duty during blowouts, but he still put up some impressive numbers. The right-hander maintained a 3.14 ERA while striking out 18 batters in 14.1 innings.

When looking back on his time with the Yankees, two games come to mind that show his potential in the majors. On June 17, he struck out six Oakland Athletics batters while walking three and allowing four hits in four scoreless innings. Then, on September 20, German struck out four Twins in two innings of work. Despite his success, German still walked nine batters, which is something he will have to improve on going forward.

It’s hard to say where he will ultimately end up. As a starter, he sits in the 93-95 mph range with a sinking fastball, a strong changeup, and a slurve. If you consider the fact that he also maintained a 54.5% ground ball rate, a number that is somewhat consistent with his minor league numbers, he could be someone who can limit the trouble Yankee Stadium might get him into.

That being said, he was throwing 96 mph coming out of the bullpen and his injury history doesn’t exactly bode well for his durability. As the team’s current number 20 prospect, German clearly has some promise. The smart money would be on him getting pushed to the bullpen, given the better options coming through the pipeline, but some more time in the rotation at Triple-A won’t hurt him. If they can turn him into an effective swingman, it would be a huge victory for the Yankees.