Checking In On Boxberger, Yates | The Process Report

Checking In On Boxberger, Yates

Brad Boxberger

In one of our initial pieces on Boxberger, we pondered whether the Rays would alter his mechanics. Boxberger, a former starter, worked from the set whenever the bases were empty, and in doing so limited his exposure to the stretch—from which he would deliver his highest-leverage pitches. Another reason for a potential tweak was an inability to locate his fastball to the glove side, a limiting proposition for a pitcher dependent on his changeup. Some five months later, Boxberger has abandoned the set and improved his arm-side fastball. Consider that last season just 41 percent of his glove-side fastballs registered as strikes, whereas this season that rate is up to 53 percent over a similar sample. Both are welcomed developments for Boxberger, who is looking more and more like a potential late-inning fixture for the Rays.

Kirby Yates

The fresh face, Yates has made just two appearances since replacing Josh Lueke in the bullpen. To his credit, he’s shown a plus fastball that sits in the low-to-mid-90s and runs to the arm side, and plays faster than it is thanks to his short, deceptive arm action. Yates has also employed a pair of secondary offerings, slider and changeup, and seemed intent to use his changeup more on Friday night before running into some control problems. Those locational woes will determine whether he can hold down a middle-relief spot for the long haul. For the time being, he seems like an upgrade over Lueke.

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