John King might be a really good reliever. He's the first of the players the Cardinals acquired at the deadline to suit up for them. Since coming over from Texas, he's been a major bright spot for the Cardinals. In 13 innings, (14 games) King has an ERA of just 1.38. Now, he's been pretty lucky, but that's begun to balance out the awful luck he had in Texas. On the whole, King now owns a 3.98 ERA and a strong 3.58 FIP on the season. He's done an excellent job limiting walks, which minimizes his low strikeout issues.
What King does best is generate ground balls. He's been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball at keeping the ball on the ground. This also allows him to be efficient. King doesn't often find himself deep in counts needing to make some perfect pitch. He attacks hitters, gets ahead, and then forces them to make bad contact. This strong season is right in line with his career numbers. He's been a 4.00 ERA pitcher over parts of four seasons, which is roughly seven percent above league average.
King's strong performance has all but guaranteed him a spot in next year's bullpen. He will likely be one of the top lefties and could fill the role many hoped Pallante would fill this season: the firefighter. In a jam, bring in King. He's probably going to get a ground ball, and that's likely to end the threat! King was overlooked in the Montgomery trade, but he may soon remind Cardinals fans of Romero, another relatively obscure reliever acquired at a deadline with little fanfare. All King needs to do is continue pitching well. As long as he keeps his walk rate down and generates just a few more whiffs, he'll find himself working as a setup man in 2024.