Top 10 Most Interesting Yankees in 2020: Michael King
By Matt Cohen
I’ve been a big Michael King fan since the Yankees acquired him from the Marlins in 2017.
I like prospects who perform and particularly pitchers who avoid walks. King had a fantastic 2018 for the Yankees. His xFIPs (basically ERA normalized for luck and defense) were 3.12 and 3.27 in 82 and 39 innings at AA and AAA. He only walked 1.43 and 1.38 batters per 9, which is incredible. Only 3 major league starters beat that in 2019 (Hyun-Jin Ryu, Mike Leake and Zack Greinke). His strikeouts per 9 were decent at 8.34 and 7.15.
King only pitched 42 innings in 2019 because of injuries. He did pitch 2 scoreless innings in the big leagues.
King has average to above average stuff, but obviously very good control. He sports a sinking fastball and had 45% and 54% ground out rates in 2018 at AA and AAA (43% is average in the majors). He was at 64% and 56% in 2016 and 2017.
With Tanaka a question mark for opening the season, King could be in play for a spot start. I’m hoping he gets a shot at some point so we can finally see what he can do.