Who is Matt Krook: Yankees’ surprise addition to the 40-man roster

Matt Krook pitching for the RailRiders
Esteban Quiñones
Tuesday December 27, 2022

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NEW YORK — A little-known Yankees farmhand Matt Krook, who was bought from the Tampa Bay Rays in December 2020 during the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, could get a spot on the Yankees opening day roster.

Matt Krook, who didn’t play in the major leagues until 2023, boasted a 4.09 ERA in Triple-A for the 2022 season, mostly as a starter. The fact that the 29-year-old lefty walked 73 people in 138 2/3 innings is a very bad stat (and a pattern in his career), but it was impressive that he kept left-handed batters to a .172 average.

“Guys like Matt Krook down in AAA do a nice job with that heavy lefty split and a strong sinker,” according to pitching coach Matt Blake. “I think he could be in the mix for us at some point depending on where we use him as a depth starter or in the bullpen.”

Matt Krook was on the Yankees’ radar late in the season, so after Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s season ended, he joined a group of players who went to Double-A Somerset to take part in an alternative camp for major leaguers who were getting better. Matt Carpenter faced Matt Krook more than once because he was there to get a lot of at-bats while he was getting better from a broken foot.

“(Carpenter) came out of it and said Krook is mean,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told. “It was good to hear that,”

A few months later, Matt Krook was added to the Yankees’ 40-man roster in a surprise move. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Californian will be in big league spring training in February, competing for a spot on the team for Opening Day.

Cashman said, “He has some interesting qualities, so I wouldn’t rule it out; he’s on the team for a reason, and it’s clear that’s because he’s good enough. He’ll get a good look at him.”

During Carlos Rodon‘s press conference in the Bronx, this news about Matt Krook came out. At the same time, Carlos Correa was getting his Mets physical in Manhattan. There is something they have in common.

Correa signed with the Mets this week for $315 million over 12 seasons, just hours after his 13-year, $350 million deal with the Giants fell through because San Francisco didn’t like something it saw in the medicals. The same thing happened in 2013, when the Miami Marlins picked Matt Krook in the first round and gave him a $1.6 million signing bonus.

Matt Krook ended up at the University of Oregon. The Giants had him in 2016 inaugurating his professional start. After a stint in High A in 2017, he was traded to Tampa Bay following a deal for Evan Longoria. From the Rays, he arrived at the Bronx, the home of the Yankees.

Matt Krook had a good first year in the minor leagues for the Yankees in 2021. He went 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA in seven starts for Double-A Somerset and then went 6-4 with a 3.17 ERA in 17 games, 14 of which were starts, for Scranton.

Last season, he was 10-9 and struck out 10.06 batters per nine innings. However, he walked 4.74 batters per nine innings, which was terrible. For his career, Matt Krook’s walks per nine is an even-worse 5.68.

“We started some conversations late in the year with Krook not being on the roster that he could potentially fit in as a lefty specialist for us, but obviously he started most of the year,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s interesting.”

Matt Krook will have to throw a lot more strikes next spring if he wants to be called up to the big leagues for the first time.

In Pinstripes 2023

Matt Krook’s 2023 season with the New York Yankees was his first in Major League Baseball. Promoted to the majors on May 27, Krook did not appear in a game before being optioned back to Triple-A Scranton on June 1. He was recalled on June 8 due to an injury to Nestor Cortés and made his MLB debut on June 16 at Fenway Park.

Over the season, Krook appeared in 4 games, pitching a total of 4.0 innings with a 24.75 ERA, a 9.51 FIP, and an 8.32 xFIP. He recorded a strikeout rate of 6.8 K/9 and a walk rate of 13.5 BB/9, leading to a -0.1 fWAR. Despite possessing promising skills, Krook’s performance at the major league level was not effective, culminating in his designation for assignment on February 13, 2024. On February 18, 2024, the Yankees dealt Krook to the Baltimore Orioles, receiving cash considerations in return.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

Standard Pitching

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162 Game Avg.0024.756801700068136187187171020510017459199.513.5182.313.56.80.5
Baseball Reference

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