John King, RHP, TEX

Jumping all the way from High-A to the majors in this shortened season, let’s see how John King got to the Rangers.

Video courtesy of Baseball America
  • Born: September 14, 1994
  • B/T: Left/Left
  • 6’2″, 215-lbs
  • Drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft from University of Houston

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

A starter in the minors, King really stepped up in 2019. His strikeout rate jumped big time, while his already low walk rate went even lower, and the result was a WHIP showing pitcher dominance instead of hitter dominance in 2018.

He was good against everyone, but he was very, very tough against lefties.

King may have four pitches, but he pitches as if he has only three. He really goes sinker/changeup almost all of the time, and that could work nicely in the pen.

He might want to throw that slider more often since it has more spin and it gets the whiffs.

That chart is not as scary as it might look. In High-A, King started out at a very high level, and maintained it through much of the year, only to tire at the end as might be expected. He still had a good K-BB% ratio even then.

Here’s the warning flag: King has a nice low-to-mid 90s fastball, and it’s a good one. But his slider, changeup and curve are not yet where they need to be. If he can develop a couple of those pitches, he could become a back-of-the-rotation starter in the majors.

The Scouts

Warnings

He is 25 and has never pitched even at Double-A.

He needs at least one more pitch to develop.

Conclusion

King had a terrific 2019, and in a perfect world he would be spending 2020 at Double-A developing his secondary pitches. Since we don’t have that perfect world, he is in the Rangers’ bullpen facing major leaguers before he is ready to do so. The results will likely show that for now.

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