Atlanta Braves: How does the Kirby Yates injury impact bullpen?

Sep 4, 2022; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Kirby Yates (22) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2022; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Kirby Yates (22) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

With the news that Atlanta Braves have placed relief pitcher Kirby Yates on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation late in the season, it begs the question how the situation will impact the Braves bullpen as the postseason looms.

How will the absence of Kirby Yates impact the Atlanta Braves bullpen?

With Yates being placed on the disabled list on September 16 (retroactive to September 13), the 35-year-old Yates could well return before the end of the regular season (the Atlanta Braves end the season on October 5 at Miami). He could also be back before the Braves and New York Mets square off in a key National League East series on September 30.

But will Atlanta rush him back that quickly? The Braves just activated him on August 10 after missing the entire 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and Atlanta has signed him to a deal that goes through the 2024 campaign. With that in mind, would they push for him to return this season or keep him off the postseason roster to ensure his health for 2023?

Yates has pitched in just seven innings over nine games since debuting with the Braves, logging a 5.14 ERA/7.25 FIP/1.571 WHIP. Those high numbers are not in line with what Atlanta’s relief corps has posted this season, with the Braves overall posting a 3.15 ERA and 1.163 WHIP.

With Jesse Chavez back in a Braves uniform (opponents hitting .143 against him in six innings over six outings in September) and plenty of familiar late-inning options for Brian Snitker available (including Tyler Matzek, Collin McHugh, and closer Kenley Jansen), there’s no reason to rush Yates back.

dark. Next. Albies will give Braves late-season boost

Atlanta’s bullpen is one of the team’s strengths and has been all season. Yates is a plus for the Braves, rather than a necessity. Atlanta can shuffle around enough pieces to ensure that Yates stays healthy and any concerns about elbow inflammation can be addressed sooner than later.

So how does the Yates injury impact Atlanta’s bullpen? Not as much in 2022 and it potentially could in 2023.