After pitching six perfect innings in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ 2-1 win over the Syracuse Chiefs Wednesday, starting pitcher Mike King was a hot topic in the home team’s clubhouse. And rightfully so.
King struck out six batters over the six effective frames. In doing so, he lowered his already-impressive ERA down from 1.33 to 1.09.
Here’s what manager Bobby Mitchell, catcher Gary Sanchez and first baseman Ryan McBroom had to say about the 23-year-old right-hander:
Mitchell on King living up to expectations:
“I’d heard nothing but good things about him when he got here and I’ve seen everything I’d heard — preparation, the command, just, location, location, location and the movement. He’s proven that he can obviously pitch here. It’s a short period, but I don’t see it — the way he handles everything — I see him being a pretty darn good pitcher at the major league level.”
Mitchell on if King could pitch in the majors right now:
“Yeah, I do. I really do. It remains to be seen, but I think he can. Like I said, the preparation’s huge for him. It doesn’t look like he’s ever nervous or doesn’t have confidence in himself, and I think that’s huge when you get to the next level and I think he’s proven that here, coming up here and pitching the way he is. He’s pretty much dominated the league up here in six starts. You always kind of think, ‘Yeah, he’s going to run into a snag.’ But he doesn’t. It’s pretty good.”
Mitchell on King making it up to Triple-A under the radar:
“Well, for one, his preparation. He does the work to get better. Like I said, confidence in what he’s doing. He’s confident in everything he does on the mound. You can tell. Every pitch he throws, he’s got conviction in every pitch he throws. Primarily, I think, because he calls a lot of them and when you do that, you have a lot of coincidence in what you’re throwing. It’s just been, I think, him going up in levels and doing that is a big, big plus for him to see that he can compete at a very high level. He’s not only competed, but he’s pretty much dominated so far. I don’t see anything happening down the line where he doesn’t, really, when you look at him. He keeps the ball down really well. He elevates when he needs to. It just seems like hitters take a lot of strikes on him. And then the changeup today, was outstanding to lefties. Outstanding. Threw really good three, two.”
Sanchez on King’s outing:
“He stayed on top of the count. He never fell behind. Just attacked the strike zone, threw a lot of strikes and every time he asked for a pitch he needed he executed it. That’s what made him successful today.
“I had an easy day because of the way he pitched.”
Sanchez on if King’s “stuff can play” in the bigs:
“If he keeps hitting his corners, hitting his spots and throwing the ball low over the zone with the movement of his fastball, he can get anybody out with that.”
McBroom on if the RailRiders had to win it for King:
“Yeah. Yeah, that’s huge. He’s nasty. He’s one of the best pitcher’s I’ve ever played defense behind and seen in professional baseball because he’s done it consistently. It’s not the first time he’s done something like this. He does it pretty much every outing. He’s fun to play behind and, you know, when we got him on the mound we just have to score a few runs to win the ballgame.”
McBroom on what’s made King so successful so far:
“He attacks. He doesn’t play defense. You know what I’m saying? So he goes after each hitter, good tempo and just throws strikes. He doesn’t beat around, nit-pick and things like that. He gets in there and throws strikes. He attacks, which is awesome.”
McBroom on King’s unique delivery:
“Yeah, it’s not easy when a guy’s 60 feet away from you throwing as hard as he can. Any type of movement that’s not normal makes it that much tougher. You have — I don’t know the exact time measurement to get ready to hit a fastball, but it’s not a lot of time, and when they add things like that to mess up a hitter’s timing and groove and seeing the baseball, it just makes it that much harder.”
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle