Yankees’ Michael King trending in the right direction for 2023

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Jun 26, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael King (34) follows through on a pitch against the Houston Astros during the tenth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Michael King has been one of the more unheralded stars for the New York Yankees. Regardless of the role given to him, he does his job and manages to properly navigate murky waters. His role should be crucial to the success of this bullpen and, in turn, rotation this season. Assuming he’s healthy and ready to roll on Opening Day, there is no doubt that this bullpen is one of the best in the league. 

Michael King looking to return to his 2022 form for the Yankees:

That’s the only dilemma is that King may begin the season on the IL. Last season right around the deadline, he went down with an elbow injury that could’ve been far worse than it was. No thanks to Aroldis Chapman, King has been recovering at a fantastic pace. He avoided TJ surgery and should be cleared shortly after the season starts, if not prior. A major piece of reassuring good news is that the Yankees should have Michael King for a considerable chunk of the season. He recently threw his first bullpen session post-elbow injury and looked like he was on the money. 

Having King back is a huge piece that cannot be put into words. He still finished in the T10 for AL relievers in fWAR, despite missing the final two months of the season. His stats were filthy last year, as he posted career bests across the board. Across 51.0 innings, he put up a 2.29 ERA with a near-identical 2.23 FIP. His stuff was disgusting, and the slurve he learned from Corey Kluber the year prior was constantly paying off and fooling hitters. His 11.65 K/9 and 2.82 BB/9 we’re both the best he’s posted, and he did a phenomenal job at limiting damage — just a 0.53 HR/9 (only gave up 3 HR) and posted a minimal 1.00 WHIP. 

King should see an even larger role in 2023:

There’s no task too great for the King to handle, and in 2023 he should pick up right where he left off. To further reinstate his dominance, he posted a 47.0% GB%, which was yet another personal best, and his 28.2% FB% ranked 25th out of all relievers in the league. He simply dominated across the board, and his presence in the bullpen was clearly seen. 

He brought stability and consistency to the ‘pen when they needed it most, and barring injury, should see an increased role this season. He tossed 51 innings of great baseball prior to getting hurt and was on track to see 70+ innings. If we can get the most out of our glorious King, this team’s pitching should be deeper and more talented than ever before.

Even with a deeper bullpen, and more talent featured, King is the best arm the Yanks’ have. We’ll certainly see an increase in usage for guys like Marinaccio, Wandy, and Kahnle in his return to the Bronx. Some wildcards like Trivino, Weissert, and potentially Clarke Schmidt out of long relief should help minimize the potential of over-using Michael King. Though he will certainly get his fill of opportunities, as seen last year, there may not be another arm the team trusts more in relief.

With pitchers and catchers reporting in a month, baseball is nearly here. Despite an offseason where the Yankees have done well in bringing in some minor league talent whilst nabbing Rodon for the foreseeable future, the best additions are the guys that’ll be healthy to kick off the season. LeMahieu, Stanton, Rizzo, Marinaccio, and hopefully King will be back and ready to rumble. The 2023 season can’t start soon enough.

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