Atlanta Braves: 5 Players to Worry About Ahead of ‘23 Postseason

With everything going right for the Braves, we take a look at five players who could easily have things go wrong at the wrong time.
Atlanta Braves v Chicago Cubs
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2. Atlanta Braves Player to Worry About: Kirby Yates

Kirby Yates
Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

We recently posted a hype piece about Kirby Yates and his wonderful comeback story. Even amidst all the positivity, we couldn't help but notice some of the big red flags on the 36-year-old reliever. If you want to read about all of his excellent accolades from years past, do so at the link above. I'm only here to give you reasons to worry. I'm sorry.

Remember earlier in the article when I told you that since the beginning of 2022, there has only been one Braves' reliever (min 50 IP) to have a higher walks-per-nine than Pierce Johnson? Well, here he is. Yates is walking 5.5 batters per nine innings with the Braves this year.

Prior to this season, Yates had only logged 11.1 innings over the previous three years due to injuries, which is a concern in and of itself. Many of the underlying stats don't have the look of a pitcher with a sub-three ERA. He's even lower than Pierce Johnson with a walk rate in the bottom third percent of the league. He's getting barreled up A LOT. He's in the bottom 13th percent in that category. His average exit velocity is one of the worst in the league, in the seventh percentile.

He is striking a lot of guys out with that super splitter, but man he's getting hit hard and he has one of the worst chase rates in the league. Not to mention, he's walking WAY too many hitters. There is a real reason for concern here since he has earned Snit's trust as a high-leverage veteran reliever with a killer resume. If the numbers start to catch up to him, it could be at just the wrong time.