It is hardly a surprise that a San Diego Padres relief pitcher is third among his peers on the ESPN Fantasy Player Rater and near the top in points formats. The surprise is that Kirby Yates is not this pitcher.
Lefty Drew Pomeranz announced himself as a legitimate fantasy option last season, when he posted a 1.88 ERA and 0.83 WHIP over 28⅔ innings in a relief role, after nearly a decade of inconsistency and underachieving as a starter. The Brewers sent a good prospect in Mauricio Dubon to the Giants for his services last July, and he thrived as a setup man for Josh Hader. The Padres rewarded him with a four-year contract last winter, expecting him to thrive setting up right-hander Yates.
The 11-8 Padres, however, have needed Pomeranz to close as well while Yates overcomes what the team calls general soreness. Yates, who has permitted runs in three of five outings but got a save in his past two, has not pitched in nearly a week, while Pomeranz saved the Monday and Tuesday wins sans incident. His 7⅔ innings are nearly perfect, with one hit allowed, 10 whiffs, nary a run and a 0.52 WHIP. Who is the closer?