2. Michael King
Britton also mentioned Michael King by name specifically before he departed the podium.
However, his praise for the 25-year-old was a bit less effusive; instead of theorizing on his end-game capabilities, Britton merely called King “intriguing”. But a mention’s a mention!
Perhaps King can move from “intriguing” to “effective” based on the uptick in velocity we’ve seen this spring, as his typically boring sinker has leapt from around 92-93 to peaks of 96. One of these fastballs specifically made veteran catcher Wilson Ramos look like an elementary school student.
Of course, Yankees fans haven’t been anywhere near satisfied with the output of their 2018 Minor-League Pitcher of the Year, who suffered a setback in spring training of 2019, holds a 7.22 career ERA in the bigs, and has been much more of a two-pitch pitcher than advertised.
King may not be Greg Maddux, but if he can command the sinker at the corners and ride that velocity increase, there’s a chance he’ll find himself in that second echelon of relievers while Britton is working his way back.
There are many middle innings to be filled, and no Yankee fan will be satisfied if Luis Cessa simply gets promoted into late-and-close situations. Instead, young tweener relievers like King will need to step up and make themselves essential.
And speaking of tweeners…