Domingo German | RHP
The Marlins signed the 22-year-old German out of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic during the 2009-10 international signing period. He signed at age 17 and received a $40,000 signing bonus, a very small bonus and especially so before the spending restrictions were implemented three years ago.
Because he was unrefined and a low-profile signing, the Marlins had German spend both the 2010 and 2011 seasons with their Dominican Summer League affiliate. He pitched to a 2.89 ERA (3.08 FIP) with 83 strikeouts and 40 walks in 81 innings spread across six starts and 20 relief appearances those two seasons.
German came to the United States for the 2012 season and threw 22.1 innings — all in relief — for the team’s Rookie level Gulf Coast League affiliate after opening the year in Extended Spring Training. He had a 1.61 ERA (2.99 FIP) with 29 strikeouts, though his 16 walks worked out to an unsightly 6.45 BB/9 (16.5 BB%).
The Marlins sent German back to the GCL in 2013 but bumped him up to their Short Season NY-Penn League affiliate in Batavia after five dominant starts: 1.38 ERA (2.69 FIP) with 27/5 K/BB in 26 innings. With Batavia, German posted a 1.76 ERA (2.10 FIP) with 34/5 K/BB eight starts and 41 innings. All told, he pitched to a 1.61 ERA (2.32 FIP) with 61 strikeouts (8.19 K/9 and 23.2 K%) and ten walks (1.34 BB/9 and 3.8 BB%) in 67 innings during the 2013 season.
German made his full season ball debut in the Low-A South Atlantic League this past season. He spent the entire year in the Greensboro Grasshoppers’ rotation and posted a 2.48 ERA (3.26 FIP) in 25 starts and 123.1 innings. German struck out 113 (8.25 K/9 and 22.4 K%) and walked only 25 (1.25 BB/9 and 5.0 BB%). He was the Marlins’ lone representative at the 2014 Futures Game and, after the season, Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked him as the 16th best prospect in the Sally League, one spot behind Yankees lefty prospect Ian Clarkin.
Although he has yet to pitch above Low Class-A, German was Rule 5 Draft eligible this offseason because he has already been a pro for five full years. The Marlins added him to their 40-man roster before the deadline in November. The Yankees acquired German on December 19th along with Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones in exchange for Martin Prado and David Phelps.
German is tall and slender at 6-foot-2 and 175 lbs., and his fastball sits in the 91-95 mph range with some serious natural sink. His fastball touched 97 mph on the regular this summer, even late in the season as his workload climbed into uncharted territory. German throws both a low-80s changeup and a sweepy low-80s breaking ball, the latter of which is inconsistent and his clear third pitch.
During his one-inning appearance at the Futures Game this summer, German struck out Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant with a sinker and Rangers third base prospect Joey Gallo with a breaking ball. Here’s the video:
German will open next season in the High-A Tampa rotation and I think he’s likely to stay there all season. He’s not nearly as advanced as Luis Severino — Severino is 18 months younger than German, by the way — and shouldn’t be on the same fast track. Even though he is already on the 40-man roster, I would be surprised if German received a September call-up in 2015. His secondary pitches would have to make major strides early in 2015 for him to make that kind of jump.
The Marlins are a very good player development organization and German is a success story for them — he was a low-profile signing who developed into a quality prospect they were able to use as a trade chip. As for the Yankees, German fills a need in their position player-heavy farm system and gives them a young arm with big upside, something the system is short on at the moment. I like German because of his high-end fastball and easy delivery, plus he seems like a high probability big leaguer, even if it’s as nothing more than a reliever. German’s not a finished product, he still has a lot of development ahead of him, but he’s also a quality pitching prospect with upside.