One of the better performers of 2017 was this right-hander, who earned a promotion to Bowling Green before the season was through.
No.42, RHP Michael Fenton MacWhinnie York, 21 yrs old
Born: Feb 24th, 1996 in Las Vegas, NV
Height/Weight: 6’2” 190 lbs Bats/Throws: R/R
Twitter handle: @Yorkiee7
Baseball America Rankings
DRB Writers ranking
- High: 22nd
- Low: 56th
Mikey York: Abilities
- Fastball (2-seam and 4-seam) in the low to mid-90s, can consistently hits 95 MPH
- Above-average Command and Control
- Has an above-average curve, and uses a circle change
- Abilities notes: Throws strikes, and isn’t afraid to pitch inside.
Joined the Rays by way of....
- The 2016 draft, in what’s proving to be a very promising class overall for the Rays.
- On being drafted by and signing with the Rays, Mikey had this to say
“It’s unbelievable,” said York, a 6-foot-2-inch Arizona State commit. “Words definitely can’t describe how I feel. It was a long year (coming back from Tommy John surgery). Just pure enjoyment right now. …
Latest Transaction: assigned to Bowling Green Hot Rods from Hudson Valley Renegades August 18, 2017.
Note - Threw at least 5 innings in all of his 2017 regular season starts, and his WHIP improved after his promotion, going from an already impressive 0.82 with Hudson Valley to 0.59 with Bowling Green. It’s also notable that it only took 8 starts with HV to convince Rays staff that he should be promoted to Bowling Green for the end of season and playoffs.
Facts, Honors, and Awards
- Awards in H.S. - 1st Team All-Conference, 1st Team All-Region, and 1st Team All-State - 2014
- His father, Mike York, played baseball professionally (15 years), and spent short time with Pittsburgh and Cleveland. On growing up in Vegas and on his dad’s influence, Mikey has said:
“Living in Las Vegas, you’ve got good weather year-round. You either play one sport or the other. For me, it’s always been baseball. I’ve been playing it since I was four years old. My dad got me into it,” York said. “He paved the way for me. He showed me everything he knows.”
- Nolan Ryan is one of his idols, and favorite music artists are Drake, Pink Floyd, Kid Cudi.
- If and when he gets an MLB at-bat, he stated he’d like to have ‘Simple Man’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd as his intro.
- In first season after his surgery, he went 6-0 with a 2.03 ERA and 61 SO in 48.2 IP.
- Made the 2017 Mid-Season All-Star Team while with Hudson Valley.
- A must read article courtesy of Fangraph’s David Laurila on York available here
- On recouping from injury and ensuring he’s strong enough to handle the wear and tear of pitching, York had this to say,
- Recently got engaged, so congrats Mikey!
Mikey York 2017
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Stats Notes: Pitched for Bowling Green in the playoffs, striking out 7 in 4 innings of work while allowing 2 ER on 2 BB, 2 H (1 HR).
Interesting Comparison: Aaron Nola
- Aaron Nola comes to mind as a righty with a similar build and repertoire. Nola uses a low to mid-90s fastball, a curve, and a change to get the job done, just as York does, and is also more renowned for his ability to locate and command what he throws than his velocity.
- Since he went through college and was very advanced coming out, Nola never did throw at the lower levels of the minor leagues, so a direct comparison can’t be made. But if you were to ask me what York’s ceiling might be, I would point to Nola. And since Nola also recently had Tommy John surgery, albeit after he reached the majors, they’re that much more similar.
Notes for 2018 and beyond
Before I delve into what kind of pitcher York may become, I’d like to throw this very interesting quotation out there so it can set the tone:
“I’m a big Greg Maddux guy, too. I’ve gotten to know him in the offseason, what with him living in Las Vegas. I’ve been picking up on some stories he’s told me, and getting some pitching advice. I mean, that dude is smart. He was definitely out there pitching… and he was really good.”
This tells us something about York and the kind of support he’ll receive going forward. After all, when one of the best Control and Command pitchers of all time is providing you with advice on how to pitch, that has to have some sort of positive impact, right?
The results he’s achieved thus far point to his being able to apply that knowledge accordingly. It’s all well and good to say “this guy is being taught by the very best”, but if he’s not applying it, what does that matter? York managed to put up a WHIP of 0.75 over 61 innings of work at 2 levels, including a 5% BB rate and 24% SO rate, all leading to a very impressive 2.93 FIP. That definitely points to applying what he’s been (and is being) taught by Maddux and others, and teachability can take a pitcher a long way.
To be honest, York is one of my favorite helium watch guys for the 2018 season (which is why he landed 22nd on my list). His intelligence on the mound, coupled with his fearlessness and competitiveness, lead me to see a bright future for him. He’s shown he can miss bats, and that he’s fully recovered from his surgery and ready to be pushed ahead. Unlike many his age with time missed, his secondary offerings are strong enough to know he’ll be able to continue starting going forward.
The Rays got a taste of what York could manage at Bowling Green in 2017 and it’s likely he begins the 2018 season there. However, don’t expect him to remain there very long, as York is one who could likely handle a quick promotion to Charlotte. If he shows well enough in spring, there’s also a chance he could begin the season in Charlotte and I expect he’ll be well into the Rays’ Top 30 prospects lists by year’s end.