In professional sports, production is the bottom line.
Former Bishop Hendricken pitcher Mike King has had himself an impressive season with the Trenton Thunder, the New York Yankees’ Double-AA affiliate that plays in the Eastern League.
King has been on a roll recently, racking up 10 consecutive quality starts and amassing a 6-5 overall record with a 1.95 ERA. He was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week and was also named to the Yankees top-30 prospects list during that span.
“It was good. Obviously, you’re not really in it for awards, you’re in it for wins. It was nice to get the team win, be rewarded and now we can build off of that,” said King.
King played his college ball at Boston College and was later drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. He was traded to the Yankees prior to the start of the 2018 season.
“They’ve been really good to me. I wasn’t scared but I was a little nervous going in. I wouldn’t know anyone, wouldn’t have any friends, wouldn’t know the coaches or system or anything like that. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be going in but they’ve been great,” said King, who is also appreciative of the Marlins organization. “I still love the Marlins and am thankful for the friends and relationships I made over there, I still keep in touch with a lot of them. But I have a different opportunity here and I’m hoping to make the most of it.”
One of the biggest adjustments for King this season has been the culture of the Yankees system and the competitiveness he has faced each day.
“I feel like the competition is better so it kind of brings out the best in everybody. The Yankees are a better organization based on wins from the top down. Although in the minor leagues (the Yankees) want everyone to develop, they still want you to win and want you to produce while developing,” said King. “With the Marlins they just really wanted you to develop and the wins would come with the development. The Yankees care about winning and having healthy competition within their teams. You need to have the numbers to win especially since there is a lot of great talent on this team.”
King has become one of the top arms in Trenton, and the Thunder have climbed to second place in the conference. King and his teammates are confident while they grind through the summer and have set the bar high as they enter the final leg of the schedule.
“We try to build on every win that we get. We have a really good locker room here and everyone is in it to win it … we’re not just sitting here minding our own business, we’re talking about winning an Eastern League championship. It’s a different mentality that I am used to in the minor leagues,” said King.
As for King’s personal repertoire, he believes that it is still a work in progress. Although he hopes to one day toe the rubber at Yankee Stadium, he is zeroing in on winning as much as possible for the Thunder.
“There’s still a lot of room for improvement, still a lot to improve on. I have some off-speed pitches that I still have to master, making every pitch more consistent in terms of location and accuracy. Also, just trying to slow the game down,” said King. “That’s what it takes to move up. Everyone’s goal is to move up but for the time being my goal is to win every game that I pitch and getting our team closer to a championship.”