Right-hander Mike King has made the Yankees’ Opening Day roster, manager Aaron Boone told reporters this afternoon (Twitter link via the New York Times’ James Wagner). Top pitching prospects Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, meanwhile, will open the season on the alternate roster in Scranton.
A stress reaction in King’s elbow limited him to just 48 innings in 2019, but he impressed the organization enough to make a brief MLB debut in September and to crack the Opening Day roster in ’20. The 25-year-old King, acquired in the trade that sent Caleb Smith and Garrett Cooper to the Marlins, posted a sub-2.00 ERA in 161 1/3 innings in his last full season back in 2018. He logged a 4.18 ERA with a 28-to-6 K/BB ratio in 23 2/3 frames in a very hitter-friendly Triple-A setting last year.
King isn’t as highly regarded a prospect as either Garcia or Schmidt, but he’s further along in his development and considered to be much more polished. Garcia did pitch 40 innings in Triple-A last year, but he’s also four years younger than King. He could very well still make his MLB debut at some point in 2020. Schmidt, too, has a chance at cracking the roster at some point, although the 24-year-old has only pitched 19 innings above the Class-A Advanced level. Both Schmidt and Garcia were ranked among the game’s 100 best prospects according to each of Baseball America, MLB.com and The Athletic prior to the season.
With Masahiro Tanaka working his way back from a concussion and Luis Severino out for the year due to Tommy John surgery, King could get a chance to start a game or two early in the season. However, Tanaka also tossed a 20-pitch bullpen session this afternoon (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch), and he could be back in the fold for the Yankees at month’s end.