Can the New York Yankees Domingo Germán Regain His 2019 Form?

The New York Yankees Domingo Germán was a revelation in 2019. After a poor 2018 season, in which he threw 85 2/3 innings to the tune of a 5.57 ERA, his future with the club was unclear. However, Germán broke out in a big way in 2019 as he took Luis Severino’s spot in the rotation. He pitched like an ace, at times, and was the Yankees best starter in the first half of the 2019 season. While his 2019 statistics are rather average, they portray a pitcher who can play an important role for New York in 2021.

2019 First Half

Germán made 14 appearances in the first half of the 2019 season, starting 13 games over that span. Of those 13 starts, he pitched six or more innings in eight of them. Opposing hitters batted .219/.268/.390 against him, while he recorded an outstanding 83 strikeouts to only 19 walks. He did not make the All-Star team but had a worthy case. However, it was his first ten appearances, nine starts, that really turned him into the best pitcher on the team. He posted a 2.60 ERA and batters hit .185/.247/.303 which combined for a .549 OPS. While Germán ended up allowing 30 home runs in 143.1 innings pitched, he only allowed five home runs in this 10-game stretch. Through his excellent fastball-curveball combination and fantastic control, Germán pitched like an ace. This is the level in which fans want to see him pitch during the coming season.

2019 Second Half

However, once the second half of the season rolled around, Domingo Germán seemed like a different pitcher. He pitched 67 innings with a 4.40 ERA and batters slugged .500, with an .804 OPS against him. He allowed 17 home runs and walked more batters. Luis Severino came back from the Injured List in September which pushed Germán to the bullpen. While he displayed great stuff and potential, he also pitched the most innings of his professional career in 2019 which necessitated the move to the pen. Furthermore, his season ended up on horrific note as he was suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its Domestic Abuse policy. He wound up finishing the season with a 4.03 ERA, 4.72 FIP, 4.22 xFIP, 143.1 innings pitched, and a 111 ERA+.

While 2019 was an odd season for Germán, some argue that the Yankees might be better off with him coming out of the bullpen. It is all about trying to find the next Chad Green. Germán is someone can pitch multiple innings out of the pen and flash his excellent fastball-curve combination. Per Baseball Savant, German’s fastball spin ranked in the 86th percentile in the league. At the same time, his curveball spin, walk rate, strikeout rate, and whiff rate all ranked in the 65th percentile or better. The surface-level stats and the advanced metrics both portray him as an above average pitcher.

Looking to 2021

Domingo Germán will be a big x-factor for the New York Yankees heading into 2021. His exact role on the team remains unclear for multiple reasons. First, he has not pitched real competitive innings since 2019. How will he be impacted by such a long layoff? Second, the Yankees have an abundance of starting options who, like Germán, have great upside yet many question marks. Third, how will Severino’s midseason return from Tommy John alter the rotation? Germán seems like the pitcher who will most likely again be moved to the bullpen in such a scenario. While his arsenal seems ideal for a pitcher coming out of the bullpen, no one can fault the Yankees for thinking Germán might be able to return to his 2019 form. A 4.04 ERA and 111 ERA+ is not spectacular, but is good enough for a mid-rotation or back-end starter. If he can regain that form, he will be very important for the Yankees in 2021 as the pitching staff is littered with question marks.

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Players Mentioned: Domingo Germán, Luis Severino, Chad Green.


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