Kauai’s Yates plans to play for Rainbows
The source of Kirby Yates' disappointment could be reason for rejoice for University of Hawaii baseball fans.
Yates, a right-handed pitcher from Yavapai College in Arizona, went unchosen in last week's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. This despite a fastball consistently clocked between 90 and 93 mph last season and an older brother (Tyler Yates of the Pittsburgh Pirates) who proves top-notch talent runs in the family.
So the 2005 Kauai High graduate plans to enroll at UH and pitch for the 2009 Rainbows.
"That is correct, hopefully. I still have some summer school to take care of. I'm in the midst of doing that," Yates said in a phone interview yesterday from his home in Lihue.
Yates has several classes to take to complete an associate's degree, a requirement for him to transfer to UH and play ball.
"It's kind of a lot, but I can do a couple of classes there and a couple others online," he said.
The 2004 Star-Bulletin all-stater was picked by the Red Sox in the 26th round of the 2005 draft -- which added to his surprise at not being selected at all this time.
"When I was drafted out of high school, I was kind of hoping rather than expecting. This time I was expecting," Yates said. "I was hoping to be awoken by a phone call on Friday. When I got up it was already 10 a.m., and I was thinking, 'oh, oh.' I watched a couple of rounds on the Internet and I got the hint."
Tommy John surgery two years ago may have discouraged the scouts, but his 2008 stats at Yavapai indicate full recovery: 72 strikeouts, 30 walks and 67 hits in 78 2/3 innings to go with a 3.79 ERA and 7-5 record.
"They probably heard something about my arm they didn't like," Yates said. "I was surprised."