Could Michael King step in for Severino in the Yankees’ rotation?

Michael King pitches for the Yankees vs. the Tigers in Detroit on August 30, 2023.
NYY
Inna Zeyger
Wednesday August 30, 2023

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Pitcher Michael King looks potent to replace Luis Severino, who is facing uncertainty over his return, in the Yankees rotation this offseason and beyond. During the Tuesday night game against the Tigers, he brought a sense of resolution to the mound with him for the second consecutive start, effectively neutralizing the Tigers’ offense over four innings in the Yankees’ 4-2 victory.

Sitting at 19th in Major League Baseball with a combined ERA of 4.55, the Yankees’ rotation is undeniably in need of a significant boost. While injuries have undeniably contributed to these struggles, attributing blame doesn’t present effective solutions. This approach also fails to alleviate the strain on the bullpen, which has been compelled to shoulder a heavier workload than is desirable.

Michael King’s determined bid to win a rotation berth

Michael King represents the most recent addition to the Yankees’ approach aimed at balancing its starting rotation. Displaying a 3.08 ERA across 40 relief appearances this season and possessing a history as a starter – with 59 Minor League games under his belt in that role – he has emerged as the logical candidate for an extended role as the Yankees assess the effectiveness of his pitches over more extended innings.

Manager Aaron Boone has expressed his approval for Michael King’s performance thus far.

Boone mentioned that Michael King’s confidence is apparent and emphasized his positive demeanor. According to the manager, the pitcher possesses the demeanor of a starter and carries himself in a way that aligns with that role, which he has held for a significant portion of his baseball journey.

The Yankees skipper further noted that the key question is whether this transition can be sustained over an extended period. With Michael King receiving increasing opportunities, Boone expressed optimism about the promising developments that have been unfolding.

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AP

During the Yankees‘ second victory in the series, Boone observed that the Tigers seemed to be uncertain about how to approach Michael King. He noted that the pitcher effectively retired the initial six batters he faced. The only instance where Michael King encountered difficulties was in the third inning when he faced a challenging situation with runners at second and third after two singles and an error.

In response, Michael King managed to navigate the pressure by inducing an infield popout from Akil Baddoo, followed by a groundout from Riley Greene, effectively evading any significant harm at Comerica Park.

Michael King is confident

Feeling confident in his performance, Michael King noted that he might have started the game with too much intensity, realizing his velocity was a bit lower in the second inning. However, he emphasized that whenever he pushed for more speed, he felt capable of delivering.

Yankees relief pitcher Michael King is pitching against the Red Sox at Fenway on June 18, 2023.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Although Michael King’s impressive performance occurred against the Tigers (59-73), a team currently 14 games below the .500 mark, it’s important to note that Detroit boasts a lineup filled with enthusiastic young talents proactive at the plate and eager to ignite their offense. Despite facing such a lineup, Michael King managed to only concede three singles, tallying five strikeouts without issuing any walks. His fastball even reached speeds exceeding 98 mph, and he induced seven swings-and-misses throughout his remarkable 61-pitch outing.

Despite not being directly involved in the outcome, Michael King significantly contributed to the Yankees’ path to success by preventing the Tigers from scoring. This allowed his teammates to establish an advantage, marked by Gleyber Torres’ impressive 454-foot home run projected by Statcast in the first inning, followed by a solo shot from Kyle Higashioka in the fifth. The lead was further secured as Aaron Judge crossed the plate due to a passed ball in the sixth inning, and Anthony Volpe added the Yankees’ final run with a leadoff homer in the ninth.

mlb.com

Following Michael King’s performance, rookie right-hander Jhony Brito continued the trend by delivering 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Wandy Peralta handled the final two outs of the eighth inning smoothly, while Clay Holmes navigated a challenging ninth inning where two runs were conceded, yet he ultimately managed to strike out Javier Báez swinging to seal the victory in a compelling manner.

Looking ahead to Wednesday, the Yankees have the opportunity to secure their initial consecutive victories since August 2-3 and secure their first series victory in over a month. Their previous series win was a sweep against the Royals from July 21-23.

For the Yankees to conclude their season on a positive note will require a collective endeavor, involving players fulfilling their designated responsibilities and others adapting to new roles. This process sometimes involves individuals performing a combination of both.

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Twitter-@TalkinYanks

While Michael King’s definitive future role remains uncertain, performances like his recent showing in Detroit provide the Yankees with additional factors to consider as they contemplate his potential contributions.

Boone commented that he believes Michael King possesses the necessary tools for such a transition, emphasizing the importance of his ability to maintain his pitching effectiveness over longer stretches. Boone further elaborated on Michael King’s career experiences and the valuable skills he has developed as a pitcher in the league. Given his understanding of his strengths and capabilities, Boone expressed that he wouldn’t find it unexpected if Michael King were able to achieve a variety of outcomes on the mound.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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