Yates is measuring up pretty well to older brother Tyler, who pitched parts of five seasons in the Majors. Except when it comes to height. Kirby checks out at “5-foot-10 and three-quarters.” Tyler is 6-foot-4.
“People are always like, ‘What happened?’” Kirby said. He responds: “I got the arm, and that’s all that matters.”
- In 2005, Yates was drafted out of high school by the Red Sox in the 26th round, but he did not sign.
Kirby was extra valuable to the Yankees in the early 2016 season. He had been acquired for just $78,000 from the Indians over the 2015 offseason after Cleveland purchased him from Tampa Bay. As of May 25, 2016, he proved to be a quality bridge to the team's dominant back-end relief crew.
It was a remarkable turnaround for Yates, who battled injuries and ineffectiveness in 2015. But this isn't the first time Yates has overcome long odds. Along with his older brother, Tyler, Kirby is one of only two Major Leaguers who attended high school on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. He also overcame Tommy John surgery, which sidelined him for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. (Kelly - MLB.com - 5/25/16)
July 14-17, 2017: Kirby was on the paternity list.
In 2017, Yates says he has put baseball into its proper perspective. That's because his wife, Ashlee, gave birth to the couple's first daughter, Oaklee. Yates returned to the club and whiffed Nolan Arenado after an eight-pitch battle in the eighth inning.
"Baseball's just baseball; there's a lot of other things that are more important in life," Yates said. "Once my wife got pregnant, I kind of realized that. That's another thing that's helped me this year. I come to work every day, but when I leave, I leave work at the field. I haven't done a good job of that in the past, but I've done that this year." (Cassavell - mlb.com 7/18/17)
Aug 14, 2017: Yates was on the bereavement list.
July 3-6, 2018: Yates was on the paternity list.
Aug 31-Sept 3, 2018: Kirby was on the bereavement list.
Nov. 2018: Yates was on the MLB roster for the 2018 Japan All-Star Series with Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).
2009: The Rays signed Yates as a non-drafted free agent, out of Yavapai Jr. College in Prescott, Arizona.
November 25, 2015: The Rays traded RHP Kirby Yates to the Indians for cash.
January 8, 2016: The Indians traded Yates to the Yankees for cash ($78,000).
- October 5, 2016: He was claimed off waivers by the Angels from the Yankees.
- April 26, 2017: Kirby was claimed off waivers by the Padres from the Angels.
Jan 12, 2018: Walker and the D-backs avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal.
- Jan 11, 2019: Walker and the D-backs avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal for $3.0625 million.
|Birth City:||Lihue, HI|
|Draft:||Rays - NDFA - 2009 - Out of Yavapai J.C. (Ariz.)|
|2011||GCL||GCL - Rays||4||6.2||6||3||2||4||0||0||0||2||0||2.70|
Yates has a 92-96 mph 4-seam FASTBALL. He also has an 85-88 mph SLIDER and an 86-89 mph CHANGEUP.
"Kirby's got a pretty unique release point, and that helps him to get on top of hitters," Rays pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "It's not in the normal slot, or even at three-quarters or lowered. It's just different." (Kelly - MLB.com - 5/25/16)
2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 60% of the time; Change 3% of the time; Slider 32.3%; and Curve 4.7% of the time.
2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 62.3% of the time; Sinker less than .1%; Change 13.9%; and Slider 23.6% of the time.
"I'm comfortable," Yates said of pitching for the Padres. "They've allowed me to be myself. I had some things that I wanted to do within myself, that I thought I needed to do. They've let me do that and helped me along the way."
The best example, Yates says, is his split-finger fastball, a critical third pitch in his arsenal. Yates had spent time with the Rays, Yankees and Angels, but the Padres were the first team to truly nurture his splitter. (Cassavell -mlb.com - 7/18/17)
2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 58.3% of the time; Slider 4.7%; and Split 37% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 94.6 mph, Slider 87.4, and Split 87.9 mph.
2018 Season: In the second half of 2018, Yates became the closer for the Padres, after Brad Hand got traded to the Indians. In San Diego, Yates was encouraged to lean on a splitter he had recently developed, an approach that has made a world of difference. Working off a 94-mph four-seamer, the 87-mph split falls off the table and makes life difficult for hitters. Over the past two seasons, the pitch has generated a 46 percent whiff rate, with opponents batting .126 with 83 strikeouts in 143 at-bats.
As of the start of the 2019 season, Kirby had a career record of 12-11 with a 4.02 ERA, having allowed 37 home runs and 182 hits in 217 innings.
April 29-June 10, 2015: The Rays placed Yates on the disabled list with a strained right pectoral muscle.
- April 9-20, 2018: Kirby was on the DL with right ankle tendinitis.