Yarbrough doesn’t have the name appeal of many of his rotation mates, but he’s developed into a solid rotation arm for the Rays. This season: 7 starts with a 3.65 ERA/4.55 FIP with 6.3 K/9 to 2.2 BB/9 over 37 innings. Over his first two seasons, the lanky Texan has been a 140-150 innings a year swingman who survives by limiting hard contact.
That undersells his impact, however. Throwing a four pitch mix (cutter, changeup, curveball, sinker), he’s one of the game’s softest-tossers to hold down a regular rotation spot. Thus far, he’s been more Dallas Keuchel or Hyun Jin Ryu than Tommy Milone or Wade LeBlanc: He was in the top 1% last season in opposing exit velocity (84.8 %) and hard hit percentage (26.2%) while posting a 2.7 fWAR season in 2019.
The Rays haven’t gotten tremendous length from their starters, but they’ve held their own with a 3.74 ERA that ranks 7th in the majors for starters. Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow have been within the realm of expectations. Charlie Morton just returned for a couple of 2-inning semi-rehab starts, looking especially sharp his last time out versus the Yankees. Josh Fleming, 24, has become the Rays’ annual out-of-nowhere contributor through three starts after Yonny Chirinos was lost for the year to Tommy John. Yarbrough will slot back into the fourth spot in the rotation on Tuesday.