Domingo German: Flamethrowing Reliever or Useful Starter?

When our other prospect writers submit scouting reports, I will provide a short background and industry consensus tool grades. There are two reasons for this: 1) giving context to account for the writer seeing a bad outing (never threw his changeup, coming back from injury, etc.) and 2) not making him go on about the player’s background or speculate about what may have happened in other outings.

The writer still grades the tools based on what they saw, I’m just letting the reader know what he would’ve seen in many other games from this season, particularly with young players that may be fatigued late in the season. The grades are presented as present/future on the 20-80 scouting scale and very shortly I’ll publish a series going into more depth explaining these grades. -Kiley

Domingo German, RHP, Miami Marlins (Low-A Greensboro)

German signed for $40,000 out of the Dominican in August 2009,  a couple days after his 17th birthday.  He spent his age 17 and 18 years in the DSL then his age 19 and 20 years in the GCL.  In that age 20 season (2013), German made progress with his command and continued his GCL success in the short-season New York-Penn League, setting up a full-season debut this year in Low-A Greensboro.  German beat expectations, performing well by throwing strikes and getting ground balls in an impressive 123.1 innings.  He’s showed some of the traits to start and has a chance to take another step forward in 2015, with the question being whether he turns into a back-end starter or late-inning reliever.

Fastball: 55/60, Slider, 45/50, Changeup: 45/50, Command: 40/50  -Kiley

As low-minors arms go, Domingo German has a very strong track record, with excellent ERAs and K/BB ratios the past two years. Beneath the appealing statline lies an interesting if somewhat puzzling skillset.

Fastball: 55/60


German has good arm speed that allows him to work in the low 90s with almost no effort. In my viewing, he worked at 89-93 mph, touching 94, and he almost seemed to be holding back in his delivery, slightly short-arming the ball and not generating optimal momentum. With some mechanical improvements, he could work into the mid-90s with more frequency, and he threw 95-97 in a one-inning Futures Game appearance according to Pitch F/X data. His fastball is fairly straight, though it does boast some sinking action at times. The pitch jumps on hitters late, and he holds his velocity well.

Slider: 40/50+


German’s breaking ball is almost the definition of a slurve, arriving at 78-82 mph with rolling three-quarters break. The shape and sharpness of the pitch seem to vary considerably, with it working best as more of a power 10-to-4 offering in the 81-82 range. If German can get the pitch more consistently in that vein, it could be an average to solid-average offering. In the Futures Game appearance, he was 83-84 with it.

Changeup: 40/45+


German’s 84-86 mph changeup is probably his weakest pitch at present. It does have some sink and can give hitters a different look, but he gets below-average speed separation and his motion doesn’t help him in selling the offering. Its inadequacy partially explains German’s platoon splits (righties hit .228/.284/.302, while lefties .269/.320/.376), and it needs to improve if he’s going to remain a starting pitcher.

Command: 40/50+

German’s excelled at being around the zone and avoiding walks for two years running, and credit for this can largely be attributed to his being a compact pitcher with a compact, easy motion. He’s more of a mere strike-thrower than a real command artist at present, though, especially on offspeed pitches; he comes slightly across his body in his motion and doesn’t always repeat his timing pattern through release. He has the coordination to improve in this area over time and develop solid-average command.


German is one of the large class of minor league starting pitchers whose fastball runs ahead of his other attributes, thus tempting some scouts and analysts to want him moved to short relief where he can air the heater out. To be sure, the difference between his working 89-93 in my viewing in June and 95-97 in a one-inning appearance in the Futures Game the following month is eye-opening. At the same time, there’s obviously a desire to keep a pitcher in a starting role if he has a chance of succeeding there, as it gives him a higher contribution ceiling, and it’s hard to write German off in this respect given his success and the fact that he throws strikes and has offspeed pitches that are at least playable. For now, there’s enough across-the-board promise that German deserves time to continue starting and working on rounding out his game, and there’s a chance he could put up some 2014 Drew Hutchison-type years if he can do so. Otherwise, he has a chance to go to the bullpen and make an impact there thanks to his heat and ability to avoid ball four.

Nathaniel Stoltz is a prospect writer for FanGraphs. A resident of Bowie, MD and University of Maryland graduate student, he frequently views prospects in the Carolina and South Atlantic Leagues. He can be followed on Twitter at @stoltz_baseball.

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Thiago Splitchange
9 years ago

The thing that jumped out at me the most was how similar the two different hitters are in those gifs. Very similar swings and follow throughs.

Bobby Ayala
9 years ago

Same hitter, just changed uniforms.

Great article, I love these in-depth looks at guys I’ve never heard of. Keep ’em coming!

Never Facetious
9 years ago

Yes, particularly with the first and third GIFs.