Domingo Germán’s Home Run Problem Needs to be Corrected Before He Returns to the Yankees

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The Yankees placed Domingo Germán on the 10-day Injured List last weekend, making the hard-throwing 26-year-old the latest casualty in a disastrous season for the Yankees and their health. He’s also the latest sign that the team needs to address its starting rotation, and fast. But that’s another post for another day.

The loss of Germán is a big blow to the Yanks, even if he has struggled recently. Of course, he was essential to the club’s early success. Here’s how he performed to start the year, across 9 starts:

  • April 1 – May 15: 9-1, 2.50 ERA (3.01 FIP), 9.30 K/9, 2.68 BB/9 and 4 home runs in 50.1 IP

He was a lifesaver, in other words. That’s top-of-the-rotation production for Germán right there. He received many accolades and a lot of attention for his success, and rightly so. Hidden underneath it, though, was Germán’s ability to keep the ball in the yard. 4 home runs in 50 innings is a great pace, and only 7.7% of all fly balls he surrendered went over the fence. That is good. It was also a break from his career to that point. It raised a question as to whether or not this was sustainable or merely a mirage in 10 starts.

Well, we may have gotten an answer in his next start. You remember it: it was that infuriating game in Kansas City that the Yankees allllmost came all the way back to win. Almost. Anyway, here are the numbers from Germán’s last 4 starts prior to the injury, including that game in KC:

  • May 21 – June 7: 1-1, 7.32 ERA (6.65 FIP), 11.44 K/9, 1.83 BB/9, and 8 home runs in 19.2 IP

8 home runs in 20 innings! Yikes. Just yikes. An astounding 38.1% of fly balls against Germán have left the yard. There’s regression, and then there is capital-r Regression.

Not to mention, these have not been cheap home runs. Not at all, actually. 3 of the 8 (37%) have traveled 420 feet or more, and 5 of the 8 (62%) have traveled 390 feet or further. Here they the 420+ shots, in case you want to see them for yourself, starting with Carlos Santana:

Here’s Tyler Naquin (same game, 6/7):

And here’s Jorge Soler (5/27):

These have not been cheap home runs. In fact, all 8 have averaged a distance of 395 feet and left the bat at an average speed of 103.5 mph. Seems bad! He is getting crushed.

This has all contributed to an ugly, ugly line opposing batting line against Germán. Batters are hitting .302/.341/.593 against him in those 4 starts, to the tune of a .934 OPS. For the record, Alex Bregman and Pete Alonso both have OPS’ within a point of that. Not great.

Anyway, I’m not really sure why this has happened or if it’s even all that meaningful over the long term. Might just be a young pitcher getting crushed for a few starts. It probably is that. But it felt worth pointing out, at least, while he’s hurt.

Now that Germán is on the shelf for a little while, he and Larry Rothschild can hopefully work together to identify the potential cause and patch this up before he returns. The Yanks are counting on Domingo Germán, at least in the time being, so they’d better hope that he stops turning every batter he faces into an instant power threat when he returns from the IL.

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2 Comments

  1. dasit

    he’s on an innings limit so a short break (or breaks) isn’t the worst thing

  2. chip56

    German was also injured in those starts where his performance dipped. So there’s that.

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