Kirby Yates
San Diego Padres pitcher Kirby Yates pitches against the New York Mets on May 8, 2019 at Petco Park. Photo credit: Tom Walko/Icon Sportswire

One of baseball’s top commentators weighed in on the best relievers in the game and he lists San Diego Padres closer Kirby Yates just shy of the pinnacle.

Yates, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney (paywall) ranks second, behind Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Yates, who came to the Padres from the Los Angeles Angels in 2017, saved 41 games last year and posted a 1.19 ERA. He also struck out 101 batters. He represented the Padres at the All-Star Game as well.

Meanwhile, he spoke to reporters this week and addressed the complications of the shortened season.

Yates called the Padres “a tight group” when asked how the team would respond to safety protocols and restrictions due to Covid-19.

“We will be fine and we’ll still have fun,” he told 97.3 The Fan. “And we’ll figure out ways.”

Summer camp continues for the Padres in advance of their July 24 home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

– Staff reports