In the midst of a record setting half-season in San Diego, there was little suspense regarding the All-Star status of Kauai’s Kirby Yates, but one day after officially being selected to the mid-summer classic, a look back at the road taken to the top is impressive.
The Padres closer, who became the first pitcher in Major League Baseball history record 14 saves before May 1, and broke the organization record for saves prior to the All-Star break with 27 is one of the toughest pitchers in all of baseball, having mastered a splitter that has paced 56 strikeouts in just 35-innings to go with a 1.27 ERA.
All of that comes 10 years after being signed by the Rays as an undrafted free agent.
Two trades, and two releases later, he is now one of the very best in baseball. An achievement that has his older brother and former big leaguer himself, Tyler Yates, beaming with pride.
“To be where he’s at right now, it just shows the hard work that he has put in over the years, and he never gave up,” the older Yates told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
“He kept believing, we all believed in him, and he kept going and going and grinding, and you can start seeing the improvements, and I think when he got to San Diego it just clicked and he got comfortable. They let him be him. They didn’t try to make him something that he’s not. They were like, go do your thing, and this is where he is at. He’s an All-Star now and they are reaping the rewards of it, so it’s unbelievable for him. I’m a very proud big brother of his accomplishments. He’s earned every bit of this, and nobody can take it from him. Very proud,” added Tyler.
In his five year career at the Major League level, Tyler Yates pitched for the Mets, Braves, and Pirates. He recorded 222 strikeouts in 248 innings pitched, primarily as a relief pitcher.
The 2019 MLB All-Star Game is scheduled for July 9 in Cleveland, Ohio. The game will be televised on KHON2 at 1:30pm HST.