We’ve seen enough of Ryan Yarbrough as a Starter
By Kasey Kuhrts
With the trade of Rich Hill and the injury to Chirs Archer, Ryan Yarbrough has been a mainstay in the starting rotation for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021. However, we have seen enough of Yarbs as a starter.
Yarbrough has been one of the longest-tenured Tampa Bay Rays players, as he has been with the club since 2018, but he hasn’t been a starter the entire time.
Yarbrough has pitched in 99 career games with the Rays, 46 of those came as starts. 17 of those starts have been in 2021, the most of any season for Yarbrough with the Rays.
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Ryan Yarbrough’s 2021 as a starter
As I mentioned, Yarbrough has made 17 starts for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021, the most recent came on Friday night against the Orioles in Baltimore.
In that start, Yarbrough pitched five innings, allowing five runs on nine hits, striking out four, and allowing two long balls. Not a great line against a team with a record of 38-72. Nevertheless, this line added to his less than impressive numbers as a starter in 2021.
In his 17 starts, Yarbrough is pitching to a 5.09 ERA in 99.0 innings. Opposing hitters are hitting .269 off Ryan Yarbrough as a starter, the league average batting average is .242. Yarbrough carries a 1.22 WHIP as a starter and has a record of 4-4.
Looking closer, Yarbrough’s last seven outings have come as a starter, in which he has a 5.12 ERA, and opponents are hitting .312 with a .306 on-base percentage, .490 slugging percentage, .796 OPS, .301 BAbip. Not great.
Now, it’s been well documented that I wanted the Tampa Bay Rays to bring in a starter at the deadline as I mocked trades for Jon Gray and Danny Duffy. But with these numbers, I at least hope they tried to get a starter for this team.
Now, although Ryan Yarbrough hasn’t been great as a starter, he’s been valuable as a bulk guy/reliever.
Ryan Yarbrough’s 2021 as a reliever
Now, it’s only been five appearances, totaling 20.0 innings, but Yarbrough has a much better 3.15 ERA in those innings. His WHIP goes from 1.22 as a starter to 1.15 as a reliever, and the opponent batting average goes from .269 as a starter, to .236 as a reliever.
Ryan Yarbrough’s 2021 in total
-0.7 WAR, 83 ERA+, 4.41 FIP, and 9.3 hits per nine innings pitched, are not good stats. They are also career worsts for Yarbrough. Now, I am in no way saying I am done with Ryan Yarbrough, but I would love to see the Tampa Bay Rays use him any other way than a traditional starter. How about starting Collin McHugh, and letting him go three innings, then bringing in Yarbs?
However, until Chris Archer is ready to come back, or the Rays decide to call up Shane Baz, it looks like the Rays are stuck using Ryan Yarbrough as a traditional starter.
It does beg the question, what could have been if the Rays traded for a traditional starter? I at least hope they tried.