The New York Yankees have found themselves relying heavily on their younger players over recent weeks. Given the spate of injuries and suspensions, the Bombers have had to summon both starting pitching reinforcement and youthful bullpen arms.
After Randy Vasquez’s temporary start on Friday, the Yankees reassigned him to Triple-A, and in his stead, called up left-handed relief pitcher Matt Krook. Standing tall at 6’4″ and weighing 225 pounds, the 28-year-old Krook appears ready for the challenge.
“I feel like I’m ready,” said Krook, several months ago. “I’m super excited to contribute any way I can to be a part of this team.”
Krook has shown consistency over several years at the Triple-A level, producing a 3.17 ERA over 76.2 innings in 2021. He registered career-high innings pitched last season as a starter, racking up 138.2 IPs, achieving a 4.09 ERA, and securing 10.06 strikeouts per nine with a ground ball rate of 55.7%.
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The Yankees know Matt Krook’s role:
Since transitioning back to the bullpen, Krook has discovered a more effective strategy, boasting a 1.04 ERA and striking out 17.65 batters per nine over 17.1 innings.
However, Krook’s key challenge lies in his high walk rate, having conceded 6.23 per nine innings this season, an issue that could potentially hinder his success at the MLB level.
Given his remarkable talent and this notable shortcoming, the Yankees must be prudent in employing this left-handed bullpen arm who hasn’t yet seen any MLB action.
“He’s a real nightmare for left-handers,” Boone stated in February. “He’s a fascinating player, and at a minimum, presents a distinct challenge for left-handed hitters.”
Despite these considerations, there’s optimism around Krook as he demonstrated commendable performance during spring training prior to an injury. Therefore, there’s reason to believe that he can build upon his strong start.