Who is Matt Krook, the Yankees’ latest addition to MLB roster?

John Allen
Sunday May 28, 2023

Table of Contents

On May 27, the Yankees made a roster move by adding left-handed pitcher Matt Krook to their active roster. Krook joins the team as a replacement for Randy Vasquez, who had an impressive major league debut against the Padres on Friday night. However, Vasquez has been sent back to Triple-A to provide the Yankees with a fresh pitching option.

Having spent eight years in the minor leagues, Matt Krook is now inching closer to his long-awaited debut in the major leagues.

Matt Krook, who transitioned from a starting pitcher to a multi-inning relief role, has found success in his new position with the RailRiders. In his 12 appearances and 17.1 innings pitched at Triple-A, he showcased an impressive 1.04 ERA. Additionally, he displayed his striking ability by recording 34 strikeouts while issuing 12 walks.

Having accumulated 518 innings across 172 minor league games, Matt Krook has gained valuable experience throughout his professional career in organizations such as the Giants, Rays, and Yankees. Although he was unable to pitch in 2020 due to the cancellation of the minor league season amidst the pandemic, the 28-year-old has demonstrated consistent performances since his time with the Yankees starting in 2021.

Who is Matt Krook?

Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

The 6-foot-4-inch pitcher grew up in Hillsborough, California, and went to St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco to polish his baseball abilities. Matt Krook had a tremendous year on the mound, finishing with a 2-1 record and a 1.65 ERA in his last season of college play. Krook received several awards for his outstanding performance, including First Team All-American and All-Region honors from Perfect Game and All-State honors from MaxPreps. He emerged as one of the most promising high school pitchers in the country.

In the 2013 MLB draft, the Miami Marlins showed interest in Matt Krook’s talent and chose him in the competitive balance round as the 35th overall pick. A contract agreement was reached between the two parties. However, a setback arose during the physical examination when an undisclosed issue with Matt Krook’s left shoulder came to light, resulting in the deal falling through.

Matt Krook with Giants, Rays

Matt Krook chose to further his baseball career at the University of Oregon, where he joined the Oregon Ducks. His performance on the field earned him recognition as a “Louisville Slugger First-Team Freshman All-American.” Throughout the season, Matt Krook showcased his pitching abilities, achieving a 2-1 record and an impressive 1.79 ERA, along with 60 strikeouts. Notable highlights included an outstanding 11-strikeout game against Loyola Marymount and a quality start against Hawaii, where he allowed only five hits in seven innings. Unfortunately, his season took an unexpected turn when he experienced arm stiffness during a game against Washington State. To address the issue, Matt Krrok opted to undergo Tommy John surgery on April 22, with the procedure conducted by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.


Matt Krook’s talent caught the attention of the San Francisco Giants, who picked him in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB draft, specifically the 125th overall selection. Showing his commitment to the sport, Matt Krook signed with the Giants and began his journey in their minor league system. He initially joined the AZL Giants before earning a promotion to the Low-A Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. During this time, he appeared in 13 games, starting 11, and accumulated a combined record of 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA. In the following season of 2017, Matt Krook advanced to the High-A level, joining the San Jose Giants. Throughout the course of 25 games, including 17 starts, he recorded a 4-9 record and a 5.12 ERA.

Following his tenure with the Giants, Krook’s journey continued when he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays on December 20, 2017. He spent the 2018 season as part of the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits roster. During this period, Matt Krook showcased his skills in 37 games, including six starts, earning a respectable 4-2 record with a 4.26 ERA. In the subsequent year of 2019, he returned to Montgomery to begin the season. In 32 appearances, with 18 of them as a starter, Matt Krook displayed his abilities, accumulating a 2-3 record and a 4.50 ERA. Additionally, he recorded 52 strikeouts across 50.0 innings pitched. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, he did not have the opportunity to compete in any games during the 2020 season, as the minor league season was canceled.

Yankees sign Matt Krook

In the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft on December 10, 2020, the New York Yankees made a significant move by selecting Matt Krook from the Rays. He commenced the 2021 season as part of the Double-A Somerset Patriots roster and showcased his skills on the field. As the season progressed, his performance earned him a promotion to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Matt Krook’s remarkable journey continued as he started on Opening Day for his team in the 2022 season. Throughout the year, he exhibited his talent and determination, resulting in an impressive 10-7 record and a solid 4.09 ERA for the RailRiders. Notably, he achieved a remarkable milestone by setting a new franchise record with 155 strikeouts in a single season, surpassing Carlton Loewer’s previous record that had stood since 1997.


To safeguard Matt Krook from being selected in the Rule 5 draft, the Yankees took a proactive step by including him in their 40-man roster on November 10, 2022. As the 2023 season kicked off, he started his journey with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team after being optioned. Notably, he transitioned into a relief pitcher role during this season, showcasing his versatility on the mound. Over the course of 12 games, Matt Krook displayed his remarkable skills by maintaining an exceptional 1.04 ERA. In a span of 17.1 innings pitched, he struck out an impressive total of 34 batters, further establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with.

MLB recall

Filled with joy and excitement, Matt Krook received the exhilarating news of his promotion on Friday night, which instantly lifted his spirits. Eager to seize the opportunity, he wasted no time and embarked on a journey from Scranton to the Bronx the following morning. The Yankees had been considering his call-up earlier, but a previous back problem had temporarily hindered his progress. Fortunately, Matt Krook has fully recovered from that setback, leaving it firmly in the past for the past two weeks.

Matt Krook expressed gratitude and acknowledged the extensive duration of his minor league journey, which surpassed the typical duration for most players. He emphasized the significance of his current achievement and conveyed his immense excitement about being part of the major league team.

Matt Krook expressed his satisfaction with his new role as a reliever, highlighting the advantages it brings. He mentioned that pitching for one inning allows him to utilize his full repertoire of pitches effectively. By facing each batter only once, he can employ his best pitches right away without holding back or strategically concealing certain pitches as he would in a starting role. Matt Krook emphasized the benefits of this approach in maximizing his effectiveness on the mound.

He holds the highest strikeout rate in Triple-A, with an impressive 47.9%.

Pitch TypeWhiff Rate

According to Aaron Boone, Matt Krook’s success can be credited to his deceptive pitching style and his ability to induce swings and misses. Boone also mentioned that the Yankees have had high expectations for Krook for quite some time, to the extent that they even considered including the experienced minor leaguer on their playoff roster last October.


Boone commented on Matt Krook’s challenging pitching style, particularly for left-handed hitters, stating that they recognized his effectiveness last year. The Yankees even contemplated including him in the postseason roster. This led to their decision to add him to the roster during the offseason, anticipating his contributions throughout the year. Matt Krook came close to making the team out of spring training, further affirming the team’s belief in his abilities and expecting him to be a valuable asset.

For a Yankees fan

In recent weeks, the New York Yankees have found themselves in a unique predicament, heavily relying on the youthful prowess of their up-and-coming players. Plagued by a string of injuries and suspensions, the Bombers have had no choice but to summon reinforcements for their starting pitching rotation and tap into the exuberance of their young bullpen arms.

Enter Matt Krook, an intriguing addition to the team who has brought a refreshing dynamic to the field. Sporting an impressive 1.04 ERA and an astonishing strikeout rate of 17.65 batters per nine innings over his 17.1 innings of play, Krook has made quite an impact. However, amidst his remarkable success, lies a challenge that cannot be ignored—his propensity for high walk rates. Throughout this season, Matt Krook has conceded an average of 6.23 walks per nine innings, a notable issue that could potentially impede his journey to triumph at the esteemed Major League Baseball level.

The Yankees now find themselves in a position of careful consideration. While Matt Krook undoubtedly possesses extraordinary talent, his ongoing struggle with walks raises a cautionary flag. As they contemplate the best course of action, the team must navigate the delicate balance of harnessing Matt Krook’s exceptional abilities while mitigating the potential pitfalls associated with this left-handed bullpen arm, who remains untested in the MLB arena.

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