Kirby Kali Yates
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 170 lb.
- School Yavapai College
- High School Kauai High School
- Debut June 7, 2014
Relief pitcher Kirby Yates has played in the Tampa Bay Rays system since 2009.
He was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 26th round of the 2005 amateur draft, two picks after Jordy Mercer, but did not sign. He missed the 2007 season of college due to Tommy John surgery. He was then signed by scout Jayson Durocher as an undrafted free agent by the Rays in 2009.
With the Princeton Rays in 2009, he was 0-1 with four saves and a 2.39 ERA, striking out a whopping 49 in 26 1/3 IP. He split 2010 between the Bowling Green Hot Rods (3-6, 5 Sv, 3.30, 97 K in 90 IP) and Charlotte Stone Crabs (3 R in 5 1/3 IP) before a right shoulder strain cut his season short in mid-August; he had surgery that offseason. In 2011, he missed the first two months while recuperating. He wound up pitching very well for the GCL Rays (0-1, 3 R in 6 2/3 IP) and Charlotte (2-0, 2 Sv, 1.62, 45 K, 22 BB in 33 1/3 IP). His .128 average allowed for Charlotte was the second-lowest by a Florida State League hurler with 30+ IP since 2005; Diego Moreno was at .105 in 2010.
He was healthy for the Montgomery Biscuits in 2012 and went 4-2 with 16 saves, a 2.65 ERA and 94 K in 68 IP over 50 games, though he walked 39. He tied Justin Freeman and Evan Marshall for 6th in the Southern League in saves, tied for 6th in games pitched and had the best K rate of any reliever. Among Rays minor leaguers, he tied Chris Rearick for third in pitching appearances and was 4th in saves. He then had two saves and a 2.45 ERA for the Phoenix Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League. In '13, Kirby remained sharp (3-2, 20 Sv, 1.90 ERA, .175 opponent average, 93 K in 61 2/3 IP), now in AAA for the Durham Bulls. On May 5, he combined with Jake Odorizzi, Frank De Los Santos and Jeff Beliveau on a no-hitter versus the Pawtucket Red Sox. He replaced De Los Santos with two outs in the 8th and got the next out. In the 9th, though, he walked Ryan Lavarnway and Mark Hamilton. Ryan Dent bunted the runners over. Brandon Snyder hit a shot to the wall but Rich Thompson made a great over-the-shoulder catch; the sacrifice fly cut the lead to 2-1. Beliveau then relieved and got Jeremy Hazelbaker to preserve it. For the year, Yates tied Michael Crotta and Ryan Buchter for third in the 2013 IL in games pitched, behind Wirfin Obispo and Anthony Carter, and tied Preston Guilmet for third in saves (after Jairo Asencio and Carter). He tied C.J. Riefenhauser for second in the Tampa Bay farm system in games pitched (behind Juan Sandoval) and led in saves, one ahead of Sandoval.
From 2009 to 2013, he had a career ERA of 2.59 with 384 strikeouts in 291 1/3 innings.
He is the brother of Tyler Yates.