The Yankees may have a secret starting pitching weapon in 2024

mlb: milwaukee brewers at new york yankees, michael king
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees received a bitter blow recently with homegrown talent Luis Severino being shut down for the rest of the season due to a left oblique strain. This setback has led to speculation that he may have thrown his last pitch in Yankees pinstripes. Given Severino’s history of durability issues, it’s worth exploring alternatives, and Michael King might be the answer.

Michael King: Rising from the Bullpen

Making the transition from the bullpen, King has started multiple games and shown promising results. Over his three starts, he’s allowed a mere two earned runs across 14 innings, which includes giving up only 12 hits and accumulating 18 strikeouts. These are impressive numbers, especially when you consider that he’s walked just one batter. This is a noteworthy achievement, especially coming off a significant injury he suffered in 2022.

King’s Metrics: A Deep Dive

Michael King, aged 28, currently boasts a 2.82 ERA and strikes out an average of 10.84 batters per nine innings. He also has a 78.5% left-on-base rate and a 44% ground ball rate in his 83 innings of work. These metrics strongly suggest that King could join the Yankees’ full-time starting rotation in 2024. This would complement a lineup featuring Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Clarke Schmidt. Adding another layer of speculation, the Yankees’ front office might also bring in a free agent, possibly Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

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Yamamoto on the Radar: A Future Yankee?

General Manager Brian Cashman was recently spotted giving a standing ovation during Yamamoto’s latest no-hitter. This likely indicates the team’s interest in Yamamoto, who is expected to be posted by the Orix Buffaloes this coming winter. A rotation enriched by the addition of both Yamamoto and King is undoubtedly an exciting prospect.

King’s Pitching Arsenal: A Look at the Numbers

Michael King has a varied and effective repertoire that includes a sinker, sweeper, four-seam fastball, and change-up. This season, batters are hitting .257 against his sinker, which also has a 31.1% put-away rate. His sweeper has been particularly lethal, with a .261 batting average against it, a 42.9% whiff rate, and a 23.6% put-away rate, contributing to 30 strikeouts.

Cost-Effective Talent: King’s Future with the Yankees

Overall, King represents an exciting talent for the Yankees. At just 28 years old and with three more years of service time left, he could be a prominent arm in the Yankees’ rotation at an incredibly cost-effective price point.