Name: Domingo German
DOB: August 4, 1992
Repertoire. Fastball, Changeup, Curveball/Slider.
Fastball. German was known as a fire-baller before his trade to the Yankees and subsequent Tommy John surgery, and it didn't take him long to re-establish that reputation upon his return either. In fact, it not only was remarkable that he was able to once again sit in the 92-96 mph range almost immediately out of rehab but towards the end his first season back with the surgically repaired elbow he began sitting in the 94-97 mph range and even topped out at 99 mph. So he didn't just get his velocity back, he even increased it. It's not a pin-straight fastball either, it shows solid movement for a pitch going so fast. In fact, though it's a four-seam fastball, it does show some sinking action and he induces a lot ground balls with it. It didn't take him long to re-establish his fastball command either, another part of the normal Tommy John rehab that usually takes a bit longer to materialize. A plus pitch pre-surgery, it appears to have gotten better post-surgery.
Other Pitches. German isn't just a pure power pitcher, he knows how to change speeds and it's a big reason why he has become one of the more reliable ground ball pitchers. The changeup is a solid average big league pitch, perhaps a tick above average, showing decent fade. And just like his fastball he can throw his changeup for strikes at will. It isn't quite the strikeout pitch it can be though and he shows a bit more ceiling with it at times so it may not be done developing. Not surprisingly, where German's rehab hasn't made marked strides is with the breaking ball, the last pitch a rehabbing pitcher can work on. It was his weakest pitch before the Tommy John surgery and it clearly remains his third pitch post-surgery too. Some call it a curveball and others call it a slider but the fact is it's a slurvy breaking ball that he and the Yankees are working diligently on as more of a true curveball to give batter's something slower to look at; both his changeup and fastball are rather hard. A below average pitch right now, it's a work in a progress from a consistency and command standpoint. If there's a silver lining it's he can throw it over the plate for strikes if need be.
Pitching: German is a very aggressive, strike-throwing power pitcher, one who goes right after batters with hard heat as often as possible. Unlike some power pitchers, however, German isn't up there attempting to strike everybody out. His plan is more about inducing early-count contact and allowing his defenses behind him to make plays; he simply uses a four-seam fastball instead of a two-seamer. There's a looseness to his delivery too that gives him some deception and because he can throw all three of his pitches for strikes [even his sub-par breaking ball] he excels at keeping hitters guessing a bit more than a pronounced fastball pitcher really should. And that is what he is, a fastball-heavy hurler who happens to throw a heavy fastball. Batters have a tough time lifting his pitches and German, who has the reputation of not walking batters, lives in the lower-half of the strike zone. Hitters know they need to swing and often times it's German himself who sets the tone in at-bats. He is quite athletic too and has a physical frame that could support getting stronger and filling out more.
Projection. On paper German is a three-pitch hurler, one who can throw all three for strikes at any time, and that alone gives him a better than average chance of fulfilling his potential as a potential big league middle of the rotation starting pitcher. Approach-wise, however, there are many times where he's more a two-pitch pitcher and sometimes he is so fastball heavy that he's essentially a one-pitch guy. It's true that the one pitch is a plus offering, perhaps even a plus-plus offering when it's going absolutely right, but mixing in more secondary pitches would go a long way towards keeping hitters guessing more and eventually tapping his potential better. A bit more consistency is needed with his breaking ball and ideally that breaking ball would be a consistent curveball to give batters a completely different look. There's some considerable ceiling left to be tapped with both secondary pitches and should gains be made on either front it could push German's ceiling up a bit higher, especially given his special fastball. However, until that progress is made secondary-wise his ceiling is better slated in the middle to back-end of a starting rotation with the potential fallback option as a one-inning, double-play inducing reliever.
ETA. 2018. German was added to the 40-man roster this offseason and therefore is just one call away from the Bronx. However, with not even 50 innings under his belt over the past two years with the injury, if the Yankees plan on keeping him as a starting pitcher, given the work he needs with the breaking ball in particular, the smart bet has him needing at least one more full minor league season to develop. He should start in Double-A Trenton this season and remain an upper-level mainstay.