Yankees face concerns with top bullpen arm

michael king, yankees
Mar 22, 2023; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Michael King (34) delivers a pitch during the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees dropped a disappointing contest against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night, picking up their second loss of the 2023 season. The lineup manager Aaron Boone walked out was undoubtedly questionable, hosting both Aaron Hicks and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the outfield, which certainly doesn’t suggest much offensive production.

The Yankees have more than enough firepower within their ranks to overcome a four-run scoreline, but they received very little for the bottom of their order. However, the bullpen also struggled to a degree, notably their star from 2022, Michael King.

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The Yankees are hoping Michael King can work through some issues:

The 27-year-old relief pitcher is coming off Tommy John surgery after posting a 2.29 ERA last season, enjoying 11.65 strikeouts per nine with a 76.9% left-on-base rate and 47% ground ball rate. King looked sharp this spring, but his numbers and velocity have regressed with the regular season upon us.

Michael currently hosts a 6.00 ERA, giving up four hits and two runs against the Phillies on Tuesday night.

“My velocity was there in my first couple of games in spring training and it’s slowly gone down from that,” the 27-year-old said. “I don’t know if it’s a dead arm or if it’s me trying to muscle up to really get the velocity because I’m noticing that. I think it’s more a quick mechanical change that I’ve got to get comfortable with.”

Per The Athletic.

King suggested that he has to make mechanical changes to get his velocity back, which is what we all hope. He’s expected to be an integral piece this season out of the bullpen, offering support in high-leverage situations and relieving fatigued starters.

“I haven’t been getting it done,” King said following the Yankees’ 4-1 loss against the Phillies.

So far this year, King is averaging just 94.1 mph on his fastball after averaging 96.5 last season. That significant drop-off changes the way a batter sees the ball, whether it be reduced spin rates or simply that split second more to determine where a pitch is going to land.

Kings was always going to have to fend off a few inconsistent performances following major surgery, so this isn’t entirely unexpected.