Fantasy Baseball: Domingo German Is a Pitcher to Own Right Now
If it seems as if the New York Yankees are churning out one exciting, productive young player after another these days, you're not imagining things. They are.
The latest stud to make the jump to the Majors is right-handed starter Domingo German, who has burst onto the scene as the bat-missing hurler the team so desperately needed in recent outings. Last night against the Seattle Mariners, German went seven innings and gave up just two runs (one earned) on two hits, with nine strikeouts to zero walks. His outing lowered his ERA to 4.77 on the season, with a slightly better FIP (4.06) and a very promising xFIP (3.52).
In other words, the dude was fire.
Domingo German tonight:
-Longest start of his career (7.0 IP)
-Retired 20 straight Mariners batters
-3rd straight start with 9+ strikeouts
This kid is naaaaaaasty 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/XfSVheeXwM
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 20, 2018
It was easily German's most dominating outing of the season, but it was also a continuation of his recent stretch of dominance.
Since entering the starting rotation on May 6, German has a 5.09 ERA, but in four of his eight starts he has struck out at least nine batters. He's done that in each of his last three starts, and in two of his last three he has recorded nine strikeouts with exactly no walks.
Multiple Games with 9+ K and 2 Hits or Fewer Since May 1:
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) June 20, 2018
German has been missing a ton of bats this year. Among pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched, his 15.8% swinging strike rate is 2nd in baseball, behind only Max Scherzer. He is also adept at getting hitters to swing at pitches out of the strike zone, with a swing percentage of 35.5% on pitches out of the zone (O-Swing %, via Fangraphs) -- a number that is tied for eighth in the Bigs. His 10.74 strikeouts per nine innings is 12th-best, and his 28.7% strikeout rate is 14th.
He's also done a pretty good job avoiding walks, issuing 3.13 free passes per nine with a walk rate of 8.4%. Those numbers, combined with a high whiff total, has helped German look like a mainstay in the Yankee rotation.
How is German getting it done?
For starters, he throws two different kinds of mid-90s fastballs, as you can see here.
Domingo Germán, 96mph Two Seamer and 95mph Four Seamer, Overlay.
You can kinda see why Segura might chase that Four Seamer way off the plate. pic.twitter.com/qg0WuXGNxJ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 20, 2018
And German's not just doing it with the fastball. As Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan noted, German ranks seventh among all MLB starters in strike rate with non-fastballs, meaning he frequently throws his breaking pitches over for strikes. That's not something easily accomplished by a rookie hurler, and it's stuff that doesn't grow on trees.
In fantasy, German presents an excellent buying opportunity. While his peripherals are encouraging, as are his last three starts in particular, his ERA for the season is still relatively high (4.77). He's given up some runs this season, and it's possible many fantasy owners either haven't paid any attention to him or would be willing to deal him for short of what he's actually worth.
Even if the Yankees decide to trade for another starting pitcher, it's likely German has established himself enough to earn a spot in the rotation. He's getting better with each start and has swing-and-miss stuff. Now is the time to go out and get him before he becomes a household name.