Ryan Christian Yarbrough
- Bats Right, Throws Left
- Height 6' 5", Weight 205 lb.
- School Santa Fe Community College, Old Dominion University
- High School All Saints Academy
- Debut March 31, 2018
Pitcher Ryan Yarbrough was drafted twice out of Old Dominion University, the first time by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 20th round in 2013, and later by the Seattle Mariners in the 4th round in 2014, after which he did sign.
He began his career in 2014 with the Pulaski Mariners and the Everett AquaSox, going 0-1, 1.27 in 14 games. In 2015, he made 22 starts between three teams, the AZL Mariners, the Clinton LumberKings and the Bakersfield Blaze. His combined record was 4-8, 4.10, logging 96 2 /3 innings and recording 88 strikeouts. In 2016, he moved up to the Jackson Generals of the AA Texas League, where he was a solid 12-4, 2.95 in 25 games, all starts. He had 99 Ks and 31 BBs in 128 1/3 innings and was named the league's Pitcher of the Year. On January 11, 2017, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays along with 18-year-old infield prospect Carlos Vargas and OF Mallex Smith in return for major league starting pitcher Drew Smyly.
Yarbrough made his major league debut with the Rays at the beginning of the 2018 season, pitching 4 innings and giving up just one run in a relief appearance that was part of a "bullpen start" against the Boston Red Sox. He continued to pitch in long relief with the occasional bullpen start thrown in, so that in his first 10 appearances, he had 7 games of between 4 and 5 innings, but none longer, in spite of making just three starts. That unusual usage pattern continued on May 19th, when he had the longest outing of his career thus far after he replaced short reliever Sergio Romo, who was making the first start of his career after 588 relief appearances, after the veteran had pitched a perfect 1st inning, striking out the side against the Los Angeles Angels. He took the relay and pitched six scoreless innings before giving up a run in the 8th and leaving after 6 1/3 innings. He received credit for the Rays' 5-3 win, his 4th of the year, with three having come in long relief and one as a starter. On August 20th, he was th winner in a 1-0 defeat of the Kansas City Royals in another long relief appearance as part of a bullpen day. This time he pitched 5 1/3 innings and recorded his 10th relief win of the season, and 12th overall against just 5 losses as he had taken to his unusual role like a fish to water. His 96 relief innings were the most in the majors and he was almost certain at that point to be the first reliever to top 100 innings since Scott Proctor in 2006. The Rays' players devised a name for his pioneering role on the pitching staff, calling him the "bulk man", i.e. he was the one pitching the bulk of innings on days he worked, although he was not the starting pitcher (or the "opener" as the Rays called those who pitched the 1st inning but were not expected to get much beyond the 2nd or 3rd before being replaced).