The Yankees traded Garrett Cooper and Caleb Smith to the Marlins in November 2017 in order to clear two spots on their 40-man roster and to acquire King along with international bonus pool money. A 12th-round pick in 2016, when he earned the lone NCAA super-regional win in Boston College's history, he ranked second in the Minors in ERA (1.79) and third in WHIP (0.91) in his first year with his new organization. A stress reaction in his elbow delayed his 2019 season until July, though he recovered to make his big league debut with two scoreless innings in September.
Fastball command is the key to King's success. He mixes two-seamers, four-seamers and an occasional cutter, ranging from 90-95 mph with the ability to run or sink the ball to either side of the plate. He can't blow hitters away but generates a lot of harmless contact, posting a 1.7 groundout/airout ratio in his first four pro seasons.
King will flash a solid slider and changeup but they're both usually average offerings, with scouts slightly preferring the former. He owns the best control and command among New York's pitching prospects and regained them as soon as he returned to the mound last summer. He has a high floor and should contribute to the Yankees this year as a back-of-the-rotation starter or a middle reliever.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 60 | Overall: 45
The Yankees accomplished three objectives in a November 2017 trade with the Marlins: clearing spots on their 40-man roster by dealing Garrett Cooper and Caleb Smith, acquiring international bonus pool money and grabbing King. Miami had drafted him in the 12th round in 2016, when he earned Boston College's lone victory in the only NCAA super-regional appearance in the program's history. He had a spectacular season after changing organizations, ranking second in the Minors in ERA (1.79) and third in WHIP (0.91) while rising from Class A Advanced to Triple-A, but has yet to pitch in 2019 after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in his elbow in March, but missed the first three months of the 2019 season after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in his elbow in March.
King's success centers on precision command of a two-seam fastball that sits at 92-95 mph. He can run or sink his heater to either corner of the plate, and he's an extreme ground-ball pitcher with a career groundout/airout ratio of 1.7 through his first three pro seasons. The Yankees also helped him improve his secondary pitches, leading to a jump in his strikeout rate from 6.3 per nine innings in two years in Miami's system to 8.5 in his first in New York's.
Both King's slider and changeup can be solid pitches when they're working, and evaluators generally prefer his slider by a slight margin. He has the best control and command among Yankees pitching prospects and one of the highest floors as well. Regarded as a finesse right-hander who might fit at the back of a rotation at the time of his trade, he now he appears to be more than that.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45
New York accomplished multiple goals in a November 2017 trade with the Marlins: clearing 40-man roster space by giving up Garrett Cooper and Caleb Smith, acquiring international bonus pool money to bolster its ultimately unsuccessful run at Shohei Ohtani and also picking up King. A 12th-round pick in 2016, when he earned Boston College's lone win in its only NCAA super-regional appearance in school history, he earned a promotion to Double-A six weeks into his first season as a Yankee.
King's best attributes are his two-seam fastball and his command. He has quality life on his 91-95 mph heater, showing the ability to run and sink it on or off either corner. He generates a lot of groundouts and misses his share of bats.
While he has had success as a starter early in his pro career, King lacks a solid second pitch. Both his slider and changeup are decent offerings but unlikely to bother big league hitters. Unless he can improve them, he might face a future as a middle reliever who depends on his sinker.