The slow pace of this MLB Hot Stove winter has finally picked up in the last few days and now the Toronto Blue Jays look like they convinced someone to take their money as widespread reports indicate they will sign free agent closer Kirby Yates for the 2021 season. Flush with cash all winter, Toronto struggled to get much attention from free agents over the last few months but Yates is a very good get to fill a closer position on their team that has been a problem for awhile. While we all know by now how much of a late bloomer Yates became, he truly is a top five fantasy baseball closer in ever sense of the word after posting a 2.18 ERA in 2018 and following that up with a Cy Young-worthy 1.19 mark in 2019 while amassing a total of 53 saves. Obviously we throw out the 4.1 inning disaster that was 2020 due to Yates suffering through bone chips in his elbow that necessitated surgery. With that now in the rearview mirror, Yates is expected to dominate once again as all his indicators continue to glow.
For one thing, Yates has become completely impossible at times to get a hit off of and that is mainly due to insane swing-and-miss stuff that have resulted in K/9 rates over 12.50 each of the last four seasons. Add in terrific control for a power arm and the ability to keep the ball in the park and Yates is someone no hitter wants to see. Yes he will be moving into a much tougher ballpark and division in the AL East but this is not as much of a concern for a closer as it would be for a starter who has to see the lineup 2-3 times in an outing. So while we again suggest avoiding drafting closers early, Yates is one of the top options if you choose to buck the advice.