The Yankees seem to be focused on upgrading their bullpen with the potential that Dellin Betances could be walking in free agency after suffering a torn Achilles during his September debut. If Betances takes his talents elsewhere on a one-year, “prove it” deal, general manager Brian Cashman will have to find a supplement for his loss.
Reports have stated that the Bombers are intrigued by both Tim Hill of the Kansas City Royals and Blake Treinen of the Oakland Athletics, but they might have a youngster waiting in the wings prepared to take over an impactful role in the bullpen.
The starting rotation is also lacking a true fifth-starter, as J.A. Happ and Domingo German cannot be trusted to either perform well or play during the 2020 season at all. Happ struggled significantly last season, finishing with a 4.91 ERA and 34 homers allowed. This was by far the worst season of his career, but he will be looking to bounce back.
German, on the other hand, is caught up in a domestic violence case that forced him to miss the entire postseason. The expectation is that he will miss double-digit games, while the amount has been specified yet.
The supplemental pitcher for the bullpen or even the No. 5 starting spot in the rotation could be none other than Michael King. At 25-years old, his progression has been steady and consistent. He made his major-league debut last September, giving up two hits and one run over 2.0 innings. He struck out one batter. It’s impossible to judge him off such a small sample size, and factoring in the jitters should make him a virtual rookie in 2020.
He may play a much more prominent role next season, as I expect he will.
What makes Michael King attractive for the Yankees top team?
King centers his game around contact and command. His groundball rate of 45% makes him a great double-play situational pitcher, as well. Those numbers should translate well at the MLB level.
The prospect will get ample opportunity to play this spring, giving him the best chance to show he can be a regular option with the Yankees in 2020.