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Article: Potential Twins Bullpen Target: Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres

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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 03:01 PM

It's no secret, the Twins will be seeking bullpen help as the trade deadline approaches. The current group of relievers have helped get the Twins where they are, but let's face it, there is plenty of evidence that suggests upgrades are required. Who may be available? Today, we'll take a look at Padres closer Kirby Yates.*You're going to see a lot of speculation and analysis on potential bullpen additions at the site over the coming weeks. Cody led things off last night with a great overview of 10 potential trade targets. We'll continue to explore the reliever market by running profiles on specific pitchers each day.

Kirby Yates, RHP, 32-years-old
San Diego Padres (33-33, 4th in NL West)
Under team control via arbitration through 2020

2019: 0.96 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 15.4 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 in 28.0 IP
2018: 2.14 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 12.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 in 63.0 IP

What’s to Like?
Well you gotta like the idea of a guy named Kirby joining the Twins, right? He’s also a frontrunner for fireman of the year right now. If you were looking to ride a hot hand, Yates is among the hottest you can find right now.

Yates leads all relievers in saves (23), FanGraphs’ WAR (1.9) and WPA (2.59). Out of the 165 relievers with at least 20 innings, Yates is third in ERA (0.96), fourth in xFIP (1.95) and second in K-BB% (37.7). Opposing batters are hitting just .167/.245/.219 (.464 OPS) against him right now.

Yates hasn’t given up a run in his last 10 appearances, yielding just two hits and one walk over that stretch. He hasn’t been taken deep in 2019 and has surrendered just five extra-base hits.

Plugging in a set closer to the ninth inning would allow Rocco Baldelli to continue using Taylor Rogers in whatever other high-leverage situations he sees fit.

Concerns
Diversity is something to aim for in the bullpen, and Yates’ pitch mix is similar to a current Twins reliever. Yates’s specialty pitch is his splitter, same as Blake Parker, though Yates goes to that offering nearly twice as often as Parker does (42% vs. 21.8%).



There’s also some concern that he may be a product of his pitching environment. Yates has posted a 161 ERA+ over 146 2/3 innings with the Padres. He was nowhere near that good with the Rays (73 ERA+ in 56 1/2 innings) or Yankees (83 ERA+ in 41 1/3 innings).

What happens if you take him out of San Diego and put him back in the American League? He did develop that splitter while with the Padres, however, so maybe this is for real.

The aging curve for relievers can be pretty brutal. Yates is 32 and it’s not like he’s a flame-thrower as it is. His four seamer, which he throws roughly 57% of the time, sits 93 mph.

See Also
10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target

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#2 Thegrin

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 03:29 PM

And why would the Padres trade him ? and When ? They are close to front in the wildcard race and I doubt that will be much different by August.

Besides that, we shouldn't give much for a year and a half rental (assuming he performs close to his current norms.) You can't expect much out of him after next year.:)


#3 Tom Froemming

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 04:21 PM

 

And why would the Padres trade him ? and When ? They are close to front in the wildcard race and I doubt that will be much different by August.

Besides that, we shouldn't give much for a year and a half rental (assuming he performs close to his current norms.) You can't expect much out of him after next year.:)

We could just wait until they make a trade and write about it then, but I decided naw, let's take a big, long look at what's out there :) Relievers don't get a whole lotta love, so there are a lot of good ones out there Twins fans may not have heard of or may not know much about. We'll also be taking a look at some of the higher-profile guys too.

 

Anyway, as it pertains to the Padres, I don't think they're very good. They do have some good young talent, however, so maybe everything will click for them at some point. Hard to tell. But while they're only four back in the wild card race, they're tied for ninth in the NL and are 13th in the NL in Pythag W/L. 

 

I suspect they'll be sellers, and if that's the case, Yates will be among their better trade chips. Maybe they won't be prepared to make moves anytime soon, just saying this is a guy to have on the radar.

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#4 Doomtints

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 05:58 PM

Tom is on the mark. Of all the teams who should be willing to trade a pitcher to address a hitting problem, the Padres should be at the top of the list. The Twins don't have the depth to trade pitchers-for-pitchers, but surprising things always happen and it's not impossible.

 

Other teams that need hitting and have relief pitching:

 

- Rays (risky, the Rays have a lot of smoke and mirrors going on)

- Diamondbacks (Sherfy is in the minors for them, he would be an ace reliever on 25 other teams. Grab Sherfy or grab someone else so they can promote Sherfy)

- Indians (won't happen)

- Reds (Garrett, Bowman are performing insanely)

- Giants (Smith is very good, too good for a non-contender, and the Giants have others who could step in for him)

- Marlins* (Brice?)

 

*Only if they are in "let's shuffle the problem around" mode, a la Terry Ryan.

 

2019 is simply a down year for pitching.

Edited by Doomtints, 11 June 2019 - 06:03 PM.

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#5 BK432

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 09:47 PM

As an NL fantasy baseball player, I've been a huge fan of Yates the past couple years. He's seriously good and worth consideration. Good writeup.


#6 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 05:18 AM

yes please


#7 spycake

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:31 AM

Ah yes, Kirby Yates. We passed on him on waivers -- twice! -- with Rule 5 pick Justin Haley still on our 25-man roster back in 2017.

 

Who knows if we would have straightened him out like the Padres have, but I remember it as an example of the opportunity cost of rostering a Rule 5 guy.

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#8 redstorm

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:53 AM

I know it's all hypothetical, but it would be nice to see a potential package that the Twins would have to give up for each of these relievers as part of the write-up.

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#9 spycake

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:37 AM

 

I know it's all hypothetical, but it would be nice to see a potential package that the Twins would have to give up for each of these relievers as part of the write-up.

It was determined to be cruel & unusual punishment by the Gene(va) Mauch Conventions to make Twins fans repeatedly type "more than we got for Pressly." :)

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#10 Blake

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:38 AM

 

Ah yes, Kirby Yates. We passed on him on waivers -- twice! -- with Rule 5 pick Justin Haley still on our 25-man roster back in 2017.

 

Who knows if we would have straightened him out like the Padres have, but I remember it as an example of the opportunity cost of rostering a Rule 5 guy.

I have to give the FO a pass back then, because they were still trying to get things going along with Molitor and his cadre running things on the field.

 

It really does appear cleaning house with the on-field staff has made a difference.


#11 Shaitan

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:41 AM

I don't see SD trading controllable talent after their free agent investments. Pending free agents, sure. But they're also playing for next year.

 

But who knows. The trade game is unpredictable.


#12 Tom Froemming

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:44 AM

 

I know it's all hypothetical, but it would be nice to see a potential package that the Twins would have to give up for each of these relievers as part of the write-up.

That's always so difficult, since so much of that really just depends on what other teams are willing to offer for these guys.

 

These features will be more geared toward familiarizing everyone with the potential relief market, but Jeremy did write an interesting piece on Twins trade assets a couple weeks ago. We'll also look back at the recent historical precedents set when acquiring an ace pitcher or a stud reliever. Stuff like that. Since the Twins certainly appear to be buyers, we'll be hitting those kinds of things really hard over the coming weeks.

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#13 spycake

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:59 AM

 

I have to give the FO a pass back then, because they were still trying to get things going along with Molitor and his cadre running things on the field.

 

It really does appear cleaning house with the on-field staff has made a difference.

Yeah, I didn't mean to say that to pick on the current FO, just remembering it as an example of opportunity cost. (I also wouldn't necessarily pick on the field staff about this -- I don't think the field staff was directing Rule 5 picks.)

 

I'd guess the FO is learning too. This year, no Rule 5 picks, no Breslow/Belisle age veterans. Duffey and Magill (and perhaps even Harper and Morin) might be considered attempts to find the next Kirby Yates.

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#14 Blake

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 09:04 AM

 

Yeah, I didn't mean to say that to pick on the current FO, just remembering it as an example of opportunity cost. (I also wouldn't necessarily pick on the field staff about this -- I don't think the field staff was directing Rule 5 picks.)

 

I'd guess the FO is learning too. This year, no Rule 5 picks, no Breslow/Belisle age veterans. Duffey and Magill (and perhaps even Harper and Morin) might be considered attempts to find the next Kirby Yates.

Speaking of Duffey, I think he's pitching with a bit of attitude, which I think is good. If Duffey gets command of that fastball, he could really be something. Of course, the same could be said of May.

 

Kind of scary to think this team, which continues to win, is still a work in progress.


#15 ND-Fan

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 09:21 AM

I find where the Twins are right now kind of funny because we are in this situation because of move we made last year by this front office. This when they traded away Ryan Pressly for future prospects and now we need reliever which is going to cost us prospects plus probably a player. If the Twins would have just kept him alot of our bull pen needs would have been met by just staying pat. Second the prospects we have recieved have made no impact at major league level yet and we would still had controll with Pressly like they are seeking now to find a reliever. This front office have made some very good moves but some there moveshave not been the best. This has been there weakness they have under estimated there own potential to win in there first 3 seasons here and haven't had strategy in season to bolster the team to be winner. Yes they made moves to have potential to win in the offseason but sometimes it takes in season additions to get where they are winning now this season they are being tested again how much faith do they have to improving this team for this fall. Baseball is sport when youre winning you need to take advantage of what ever is going right because even when on paper you should win doesn't mean you will win.