- Full name Franklyn Miguel German
- Born 01/20/1980 in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'7" / Wt.: 260 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 09/07/2002
Organization Prospect Rankings
Part of the Jeff Weaver trade with the Athletics and Yankees, German had 30 saves between three levels and two organizations in 2002. Signed as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, he made slow but consistent progress before a breakthrough in winter ball after the 2001 season. German combines a 96 mph fastball with an excellent splitter. If he gets ahead in the count, hitters generally have no chance against the splitter. He averaged 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings and didn't allow a homer in 2002. For a large pitcher, German's mechanics are smooth and consistent. He's athletic for his size. German is a two-pitch pitcher without a good offspeed pitch, so he has to work as a short reliever. At times, he struggles to throw strikes. German pitched well after the Tigers called him up last September. He'll probably open 2003 as a setup man for Matt Anderson, and he could take over if Anderson gets hurt or is ineffective.
German, who's not related to Esteban German, has gone through a metamorphosis from a slender teenager into a Lee Smith lookalike and throwalike. The A's added him to the 40-man roster in November, anticipating he could go in the major league Rule 5 draft despite never having pitched above Class A. Considering how well he pitched in his native Dominican this winter--he didn't allow a run and held opponents to a .075 average in his first 14 appearances--German likely would have been taken. A power arm with huge potential, German hit 97 mph during the regular season and 99 in the Dominican. His velocity has increased each year since he signed. He uses both a splitter and a changeup to complement his heat. His biggest weaknesses are his command and maturity, neither of which is consistent. But he made strides in both areas this winter thanks to working with Sacramento manager Bob Geren, the skipper of a rival Dominican club. Oakland will send German to Double-A this season and see how he develops. Though Billy Koch and Chad Harville are ahead of him for now, German could give the A's another closer option in two years or so.
Minor League Top Prospects
A bullpen of Texas League relievers from this season would be formidable right now, and in coming years you should see several of these pitchers as major league closers. The first one to reach that goal could be German, who left the league in July when he was traded to the Tigers in the three-way deal involving Jeff Weaver and Carlos Pena. He finished the season in Triple-A and was called up to Detroit in September, allowing no runs, three hits and two walks in seven appearances. After signing as a skinny teenager, German's fastball and fortunes have risen dramatically in the past couple of seasons as his body matured. He's now an intimidating presence on the mound, and his 96-99 mph fastball just adds to the package. German also throws a splitter and slider, though neither has developed into a consistent, reliable second pitch yet. He needs more work with his command, which improved as the season went on. He had seven wild pitches in his first 21 appearances but none in the final 16.
German came into the league and out of the bullpen to blow everyone away. He joined the Tigers via the Athletics as part of the three-team midseason trade that sent Jeff Weaver to the Yankees. German allowed three earned runs in his Triple-A debut, but just one more over his next 22 appearances. He didn't allow a hit in 13 of those outings, including five straight at one point. He wasn't scored on in his first six big league outings either. Dubbed the Dominican version of Lee Smith for both physical appearance and stuff, German consistently hits 96 mph with his fastball and has reached 99. He sometimes leaves his fastball up and over the plate, where it can get hammered if a hitter can catch up to it. His hard-diving splitter gives him a second plus pitch, and he also employs an average slider. "He has been unbelievable, just outstanding," Fields said. "He'll be the closer in Detroit, if not next year then the year after. When he comes in, he smells blood and goes after it. He definitely has the mentality to do it."