The RailRiders’ best pitcher last season. Nearly made the Yankees’ opening day roster. Firmly in New York’s plans for the year. Domingo German is making a name for himself in the organization.
Weight: 175 pounds
Acquired: Signed with the Marlins in 2009 as an international free agent for a $40,000 signing bonus. He was traded to the Yankees along with Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones on Dec. 19, 2014 in exchange for Martin Prado and David Phelps. The Yankees re-signed him as a minor league free agent in Dec. 2015 after he underwent Tommy John surgery.
Began the year at Trenton, where he made six starts and had a 3.00 ERA in 33 innings. Shined after his promotion to the RailRiders. In his first taste of Triple-A, German went 7-2 with a 2.83 ERA in 76.1 innings. He struck out 81, walked 22 and held hitters to a .222 batting average. He also made his major league debut June 11 in relief against the Orioles. He would put up a 3.14 ERA in seven MLB games, striking out 18 and walking nine in 14.1 innings.
This is something a little bit different than what’s been done with this list. Below, Donnie Collins and I discuss why German comes in at No. 8, what we like about him and what might need some work.
CF: OK so Domingo German is No. 8. It’s probably safe to say we have him ranked higher on our list than anyone else does on theirs, but boy is German impressive. Legit 95-97, with a really good secondary stuff.
DC: I don’t get it. I really don’t. He legitimately sits at 95, and we’ve seen that outing after outing. I love his changeup, and his breaking ball gets it done. I don’t understand why more people don’t look at him and think he’s a top 100 prospect in the game.
CF: I think the early Tommy John killed him prospect wise. And he was traded right before that. But even back when the Yankees traded for him (He was in the deal that brought Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones to NY and sent Martin Prado and David Phelps to Miami) I remember reading about how he had a plus changeup. Also, while we’re talking Tommy John, I feel horrible for David Phelps. One of our personal favorites going back to the SWB Yankee days.
DC: Yeah, that was tough news to see on Phelps. Good guy who worked hard to forge a career and was doing a really nice job. Maybe Notre Dame will go to the Frozen Four for him. TJ surgery, to me, is more a stumbling block for a young pitcher like German than a career threatener these days. Even if it took him two years to come back, that’s still a big-time arm. And even better than just having that kind of stuff, his results have always been pretty good.
CF: And they were really good last year. For sure the RailRiders’ best pitcher. I think he’s also got a bit of that ‘gamer’ trait in him. He won a huge Game 2 of the Governors Cup final in Durham after a demoralizing Game 1 loss for the team. I think one of the things I like about German is that, while he’s consistent, he’s not always the same pitcher. Sometimes, you’ll catch him on a changeup heavy start, and he’ll be able to dominate a lineup. And then sometimes you’ll catch him on a day where he brings his good curveball to the yard, and he’ll be able to dominate with that. I know some people want to see him in the bullpen (because of the 95+ fastball, obviously), but I think he’s too good at starting.
DC: Easiest thing in the world to do these days is look at a young pitcher, see that he throws that hard and pine for him in the bullpen. They’ve been saying that about German for a few years now, that maybe he’d be better off in the pen. But … why? You see his breaking ball look like a big league pitch pretty consistently, and he can dominate with a fastball and a changeup. I see him easily as a big league starter. More easily that I see some of the other guys the experts say are sure big league starters. And I love that you brought up Game 2. He had to win that game, or the RailRiders’ season was effectively done. I don’t care what league you’re in, that’s a pressure spot. Here’s a guy getting the ball who is probably going to the big leagues if he loses, so I guess you can wonder how invested he is on a personal level. What does he do? Seven shutout innings. One hit. Eight strikeouts. He’s such a competitor.
CF: Yeah, he was phenomenal that game, and it was a situation where if he didn’t throw up a scoreless outing, they weren’t going to win that game. Their offense wasn’t in a great position at that point. Also in that game, he was up there in pitch count after six innings and I want to say Anyelo Gomez and Nick Rumbelow were fresh in the bullpen. But German ran out of the dugout for the seventh and went K, K, flyout just for good measure.
DC: It was up there with the Chance Adams outing in May for most dominant effort I had seen all season.
CF: Now, while I’d keep him as a starter, I think he could handle the bullpen no problem. Kind of like Luis Severino a couple years ago or Chad Green last year. You move him there, and he becomes dynamic for two innings. And I think the Yankees might’ve tipped their hand a little Saturday. Aaron Boone said they wanted to keep German and Luis Cessa stretched out because one of them is going to get a start as a sixth starter in April. But Boone also said “It doesn’t mean German, at some point during the season, if he’s making his starts and he’s not getting the opportunity, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t factor in to the pen at some point later in the year.” I think they’re already thinking they want to get him involved in some way.
DC: That’s how I took that. I think he’s the most dynamic RailRiders pitcher, complete package-wise, right now. He’ll be a factor. I just happen to think, and I know the Yankees share this sentiment, that anyone who can be a good starter would also be a very good reliever. At some point, when you are good, you become what your team needs you to be. I don’t know if the Yankees’ rotation is deep enough to throw a guy like German in the pen right now. But if they hold up in the rotation, I can certainly see German being cast into the pen. End of the day, your 12-13 best pitchers have to be in New York. I think he’s certainly in that mix.
The Top 15
15: Ben Heller
14: Jonathan Loaisiga
13: Dillon Tate
12: Domingo Acevedo
11: Thairo Estrada
10: Chance Adams
9: Billy McKinney
8: Domingo German
3: March 30
2: March 31
1: April 1
Associated Press and Times-Tribune photos