The MLBPA announced their roster for the 2018 Japan All-Star tour, and Padres closer Kirby Yates was selected to participate in the event.
The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) announced the rosters for the All-Star tour in Japan that will take place from November 8th-15th. The players that were chosen will play against those selected by Nippon Professional Baseball in Tokyo, Japan.
Padres closer Kirby Yates was fortunate enough to be one of the pitchers selected to participate in this global showcase.
The 31-year-old native of Hawaii was claimed off waivers from the Angels last season and has become, yet again, another high-quality relief pitcher brought in from waiver wire by the Padres. He broke out onto the scene in 2017 and was even better in 2018. After the Padres traded away All-Star Brad Hand to the Cleveland Indians, Yates was thrust into the closer role, where he converted 12 of 13 saves.
In 126 career games with the Padres, Yates has pitched 118 2/3 innings with a 2.93 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and has struck out 177 batters while only walking 36. Although he was great all around, Yates absolutely dominated right-handed hitters, holding them to a measly .137/.194/.218 batting line. Possessing one of the nastiest splitters in all of baseball, Yates was one of the more underrated stud relief pitchers in all of baseball.
For Kirby Yates, this selection to participate in the All-Star tour is a sign of recognition from Major League Baseball and its writers as they acknowledge just how good of a pitcher he really is. Yates should be the anchor of this select team’s bullpen as he is the only pitcher listed that is actually a closer on their current team.
From the team’s standpoint, the Padres might benefit quite a lot from Yates being selected to this roster. If he was to pitch well in a global showcase, his trade value might increase and the team may be able to deal him this winter for a better return. The Padres were actively shopping Yates at this year’s trade deadline and are willing to deal him if they receive an offer they like. With the plethora of young talent in their bullpen, it is almost inevitable that Yates will be moved at some point.
Whether he is on the Padres’ roster at the beginning of 2019 or not, Kirby Yates is an exceptional pitcher that deserves every bit of this selection. As fans of the Padres, we should be thrilled that our closer is finally getting the recognition he deserves.