Mike King has risen through the Yankees farm system like a Pheonix. The former Marlins prospect has made a name for himself in his first season in the organization.
The Yankees acquired right-handed pitcher Michael King on November 20 when they sent first baseman Garrett Cooper and left-handed pitcher Caleb Smith to the Miami Marlins for King and international bonus pool money.
King was the Marlins 12th round pick in the 2016 draft out of Boston College and signed for $100,000 on June 20, 2016. At the time he pitched mostly in the high 80s, topping out at 92. In college, he had an 11-11 record with a 3.14 ERA over 46 games, 27 starts, in three seasons. He struck out 151 batters in 209 innings pitched in college.
After signing, he made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Marlins where he was 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA in four games. He struck out three batters in five innings of work. He then went to pitch for the Batavia Muckdogs where he was 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 10 games, one start, throwing 21 1/3 innings. He finished his 2016 season with the Greensboro Grasshoppers where he pitched just 4 1/3 innings of relief in one game.
King returned to the Grasshoppers for the 2017 season, this time as a full-time starter. He was 11-9 with a 3.14 ERA, and 106 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched. He pitched two complete games for Greensboro and earned South Atlantic League pitcher of the week honors on April 16, 2017.
King started his season in the Florida State League, where he was 1-3 with a 1.79 ERA in seven starts for the Tampa Tarpons. He struck out 45 batters in 40 1/3 innings pitched, allowing just eight earned runs. He was then promoted to Double-A on May 19.
With the Trenton Thunder, he was 6-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 12 games, 11 starts, striking out 76 batters in 82 innings pitched. On August 4 he was promoted yet again, this time to Triple-A. He was even better with the RailRiders where he was 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA in six starts, striking out 31 batters in 39 Innings.
In total, he threw 161 1/3 innings and struck out 152 batters both becoming his career-high. Throughout the season he hit double-digit strikeouts in three games, striking out 11 batters on May 3 and June 30, while striking out 10 batters on July 6.
While he does not throw particularly hard, topping out at 95 miles per hour but sitting 91-93 this past season, he has strong command of the pitch. He mixes in a slider that has made great strides in 2018 and could become an above average pitch soon, and he also has a changeup which he mixes in, effectively.
King has a maturity that is beyond his age, actively preparing for each start with coaches and learning everything he can about opposing batters before he faces a team. He uses that preparation along with a keen ability to adapt in-game to make his opponents hit the ball on the ground and get outs via the fielders behind him.
King will return to Triple-A to start the 2019 season. The right-hander is a shoo-in to make his major league debut at some point during the year due to