Kirby Yates is mowing down batters in Gwinnett. He has ten strikeouts over 7.2 innings, allowing just one earned run. And earlier this week, he got over a significant hurdle, as he pitched on back-to-back days without any issues.
Kirby Yates did back-to-back appearances on his rehab assignment, and Snitker said reports continue to be all positive for the veteran reliever. Said he didn’t know when Yates would be activated. (Just me talking, seems like it’ll be pretty soon now with that box checked.)
— David O’Brien (@DOBrienATL) August 4, 2022
The Braves don’t really have many holes when it comes to their pitching staff, but Yates has the type of upside that they must take a chance on.
In 2018, Yates posted a 2.14 ERA over 63 innings. No way he could top that, right? Well, in 2019, Yates followed it up with one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen from a reliever. He finished the season with a 1.19 ERA to go along with a league-leading 41 saves.
Since then, injuries have plagued Yates. He’s essentially missed each of the last two seasons and is coming off Tommy John surgery. There’s no way we should expect him to be the dominant closer he once was, but that’s not what the Braves need. If he can prove to be a steady middle reliever from the right side, Yates will be another key addition to a loaded bullpen.
So when might we see him in Atlanta?
My guess is after the Mets series. He’s probably ready to join the major-league club, but it would be pretty ill-advised to throw him into the fire against New York in what is arguably the biggest series of the season. The best thing to do would be to ease Yates into the swing of things, so I would expect to see him in a Braves uniform sometime next week, most likely against the Marlins in Miami.