New York Yankees: Four sleeper candidates to make the Opening Day roster

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TAMPA, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 27: Michael King #73 of the New York Yankees prepares to deliver a pitch to the Tampa Bay Rays in the fourth inning during a Grapefruit league spring training game at Steinbrenner Field on February 27, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

RHP Mike King

Despite having a poor outing on Thursday against the Tigers it’s safe to assume Jordan Montgomery is going to fill the fourth slot in the Yankee rotation to begin the season. The fifth spot will come down to a group of young pitchers who either have limited big-league experience or haven’t even made their debuts yet. That group includes 24-year-old right-hander Mike King.

King earned his first major league call-up late last September and debuted in the final series of the regular season. In 387 minor leagues innings, King has a career 2.93 ERA so he should be ready to make a big impact for the Yankees this season. In 6.2 IP this spring he has a 2.70 ERA with four strikeouts. He’s allowed seven hits including a home run, but he’s only walked one batter.

His main competition for the final rotation spot is probably Jonathan Loaisiga who could also end up making the team as a reliever. Loaisiga has the stuff to dominate out of the pen and he might not have the stamina to succeed in the rotation given his history of arm issues. King, on the other hand, is built to be a starting pitcher.

Between the two Loaisiga has pitched better this spring tossing five scoreless innings with 9 K’s but there’s still another 20 games left on the exhibition schedule. Loaisiga is pretty much a lock to make the roster either way, but King still has plenty of time to edge him out for the final spot in the rotation.