Who is Mike King, the Yankees pitcher with 0.00 ERA in 8 1/3 spring innings?

Mike King is pitching during a training session at Yankees spring training camp in February 2023.

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On March 22, Mike King took to the mound to pitch for the Yankees against the Nationals. There was a runner on second base, and Washington’s Keibert Ruiz had just hit an RBI double against Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt. Mike King struck out shortstop C.J. Abrams. He then went on to pitch two more scoreless, strong innings in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to Washington in West Palm Beach. In 8 1/3 Grapefruit League innings, King has a perfect 0.00 ERA.

Mike King was so good that when the game was over, he had to go back to the bullpen down the left-field line at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches to keep throwing and get his pitch count up before the Yankees start their 2023 season.

Mike King has always been good at pitching. During the first few months of the 2022 season, the righty was one of the best relievers in baseball. During that time, King made 34 appearances out of the bullpen and had a 2.29 ERA. He struck out 66 batters or 33.2% of the batters he faced.

Michael King is a reliever for the New York Yankees.
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Michael McRae King made his MLB debut in 2019. He was born on May 25, 1995, in Rhode Island and played baseball for the school as a pitcher and outfielder. In 2012, his junior year, he helped the team win the Division I state championship. In 2013, Mike King was named the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year for Rhode Island. He had a 7–0 win–loss record and an earned run average (ERA) of 0.30. In 47 innings pitched, he struck out 67 batters and walked only seven. Mike King’s batting average as an outfielder was also .469.

Mike King graduated from Bishop Hendricken in 2013 and went to Boston College, where he played baseball for the Boston College Eagles. In the summer of 2015, he played baseball for a college team, the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, in the Cape Cod Baseball League.

In the 12th round of the 2016 MLB draft, Mike King was chosen by the Miami Marlins. He made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast Marlins of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He was then moved up to the Batavia Muckdogs of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League and then to the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the Class A South Atlantic League. Between the three teams, he pitched 30 2/3 innings and ended the season with a 3–3 record and a 4.11 ERA. He pitched 26 games for Greensboro in 2017 and went 11–9 with a 3.14 ERA  in 25 starts.

After the 2017 season, the Marlins acquired Caleb Smith and Garrett Cooper from the New York Yankees in exchange for Mike King. He started the 2018 season with the Class A-Advanced Florida State League’s Tampa Tarpons. By the middle of the season, he had been moved up to the Class AA Eastern League’s Trenton Thunder and the Class AAA International League’s RailRiders.

In 2019, the Yankees asked Mike King, who was not on their roster, to come to spring training. He got a stress reaction in his throwing elbow, so he couldn’t throw in spring training. On September 19, the Yankees moved him up to the major leagues. He played his first game in the major leagues on September 27 against the Texas Rangers. He came in as a reliever and pitched two innings. In 2020, when the season was only 60 games long, King had a 7.76 ERA over 26 2/3 innings pitched in nine games.

Corey Kluber, a teammate, helped Mike King improve his slider over the course of the 2021 season. On June 4, King pitched a perfect inning in the fourth inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox. He struck out three batters with only nine pitches. It was the seventh perfect inning in Yankees history and the first in the rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox. Mike King was put on the injured list on July 8 because he hurt his right middle finger. Later, on July 27, he was moved to the 60-day injured list. King started working on September 10. At the end of the 2021 season, he had a 3.55 ERA, 62 strikeouts, and 24 walks in 63 1/3 innings.

Mike King started the 2022 season in the bullpen for the Yankees. On April 14, he got his first save in the major leagues. But an elbow injury halted his breakout season in Baltimore. This injury ended his season and required surgery and a lot of rehab.

Yankees pitcher Michael King

Mike King left the field at Camden Yards eight months ago on Wednesday with his right arm hanging limp. After eight months, he hasn’t just gotten back to his old self. Aaron Boone, the manager of the Yankees, is sure that King will be better in 2023 than he was last year.

“I still think he has another gear to get to,” Boone said. “I certainly have been pleased with how he looks, how he’s thrown the ball. The stuff is there. The scary part is I still think there’s a little more room for even him to get to.”

When asked how one of the best pitchers in the game can get better, Boone smiled.

“When I’m watching him and seeing how he was last year, he’s almost there,” he explained. “I just always feel like if he doesn’t wipe them out, then what happened? There’s another incremental level he can get to, but obviously, the results have been great.”

Last summer, when the Yankees lost Mike King, it was a huge blow. If he could pitch even half as well as he did at the start of last season, it would be a huge boost for the bullpen.

The way he’s been looking the last few weeks doesn’t make it impossible to see Mike King blowing out batters in the 2023 season.

“It doesn’t look like he missed a beat,” Schmidt said. “He looks really good and he’s back in the zone, competing with good stuff like he always does. He’s going to be a big weapon for us this year.”

Mike King, before becoming a Padre

Michael King’s 2023 season with the New York Yankees marked a significant turning point in his Major League Baseball career, culminating in a breakout performance that not only solidified his status as a formidable pitcher but also played a crucial role in a high-profile trade to the San Diego Padres.

King’s journey to prominence began in spring training of 2023, where he boldly suggested to Yankees manager Aaron Boone that he could serve as a starting pitcher. Initially positioned as a reliever, King’s transition to a starter was catalyzed by injuries within the Yankees’ rotation. This shift in role came to fruition in August, allowing King to demonstrate his potential as a starter.

Over the season, King made 49 appearances, boasting an impressive 2.75 ERA. His performance as a starter was particularly noteworthy, with a 1.88 ERA across eight starts. This remarkable stint included a 5.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio, underscoring his efficiency and control on the mound. King’s ability to adapt and excel in a starting role was a testament to his skill and resilience, especially considering his past struggles with injuries. Remarkably, he managed to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the season, dispelling concerns over his ability to handle the rigors of a starter’s workload.

Aaron Boone’s acknowledgment of King’s potential, coupled with King’s own confidence in competing for a rotation spot in 2024, highlighted the right-hander’s significant progress. King’s attitude towards competition, viewing the addition of new players as an opportunity to prove his worth, reflected his competitive spirit and determination.

However, King’s tenure with the Yankees took an unexpected turn on December 6, 2023, when he was traded to the San Diego Padres as part of a blockbuster deal for Juan Soto and Trent Grisham. This trade, involving Drew Thorpe, Randy Vásquez, Jhony Brito, and Kyle Higashioka, signaled the high value placed on King following his breakout season.

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Standard Pitching

YearWLW-L%ERAGGSGFCGSHOSVIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPBFERA+FIPWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9SO/W
20190001000002210000100092.2119004.5
2020120.3337.7694100026.2302323511026200121555.141.53810.11.73.78.82.36
2021240.3333.55226300063.15729256241626052751213.861.2798.10.93.48.82.58
2022630.6672.2934010001513515133162660021991722.2316.20.52.811.64.13
2023480.3332.7549910006104.2883532103211275124311583.131.1467.60.92.810.93.97
WLW-L%ERAGGSGFCGSHOSVIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPBFERA+FIPWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9SO/W
5 Yrs13170.4333.381151924007247.22121039324834282131910351263.341.1917.70.9310.23.4
162 Game Avg.790.4333.385810120041261085247124221437155251263.341.1917.70.9310.23.4
Baseball Reference

Postseason Pitching

YearSeriesWLW-L%ERAGGSGFCGSHOSVIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPBFWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9SO/WWPAcWPA
2020ALWCDid not pitch in series
2020ALDS00010100020000001000600004.50.010.10%
WLW-L%ERAGGSGFCGSHOSVIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPBFWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9SO/WWPAcWPA
1 ALDS00010100020000001000600004.50.010.10%
Baseball Reference

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One thought on “Who is Mike King, the Yankees pitcher with 0.00 ERA in 8 1/3 spring innings?

  1. Yes, Mike King is no joke, folks. We’d be well-advised to hang into this player and put him through our crack player-development program this Spring/Summer/Fall and beyond. Still upside possible–even probable–from this already solid hurler.

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