From now until Spring Training concludes, Fox Sports San Diego will preview each player at each position that is in big league camp.To kick things off as we wait for a certain free-agent signing to become official , we will look at the Padres bullpen; which was certainly a bright spot in 2018.Last season, the Friars en was, arguably, a top five group in Major League Baseball. As a whole, they accumulated 8 Steve Finley Jersey
.7 fWAR, good for 2nd in all of baseball. Not only that, but their Field Independent Pitching was good for 2nd, K 9 good for 4th, and ERA good for 6th.With many of the same pieces returning this season, San Diego will be looking for another solid campaign from the guys who reside beyond Petco left-center field wall.40-man RHP Kirby YatesThe Padres have done as good a job as any team in baseball when it comes to acquiring and developing arms that were castoffs in other places, and Kirby Yates is no exception. Prior to being acquired by the Padres, Yates owned an underwhelming 5.38 ERA in 98 ⅓ career MLB innings.After being acquired by San Diego in April of 2017, something clicked. Yates ended up appearing in 61 games after being acquired, firing 55 ⅔ innings with a 3.72 ERA. He also struck out an eye-popping 14.07 batters per nine innings.Firmly in an organization plans for the first time in his entire career, Yates had a fantastic 2018. The first half of his season was spent as the setup man for All-Star closer Brad Hand https://www.padresteamgearshop.com/Ran..._Jersey-12
. During that time, an argument could have been made that he was the best setup man in baseball. Prior to the All-Star break, the Hawaii native accumulated a 1.43 ERA in 37 ⅔ innings pitched. He struck out 48 batters while only walking 11 in that span. Following the trade of Brad Hand on July 19, Yates transitioned to the closer role. He recorded 10 saves in limited opportunity, and although his ERA was nearly two runs higher than it was in the first half of the season , he struck out nearly 15 batters per nine innings.Yates enters camp in 2019 as the odds-on favorite to be the Padres closer.