Yordano Ventura (photo: Minda Haas)

Yordano Ventura Will Make Major League Debut Tuesday


The Royals announced that right-handed pitcher Yordano Ventura will be called up to start Tuesday’s game against Cleveland in place of Danny Duffy.

Ventura compiled a 3.74 ERA in 77 innings for Omaha after tearing through Double A Northwest Arkansas at the start of the year. He threw 57.2 innings for the Naturals before his June promotion. Ventura has struck out 27.4% of the batters he’s faced this year but walked 9.4% of them as well.

By now, you should know of Ventura’s triple digit fastball. Every day he’s scheduled to start a game, he tweets out the hashtag #LetsThrowFire to his followers, and it’s the pitch that drew so much attention two years ago and earned him a spot as a rising prospect. Over the last two years, he’s been refining his curveball and changeup to work off of the fastball. Jason Parks provided a brief report on that progress today on Baseball Prospectus:

Ventura will be able to find success with his fastball at any level of baseball, and if he can refine his command within the zone, it’s a game-changing pitch that will elevate his entire arsenal to another level. His curveball is a second plus pitch, but its success is predicated on his ability to locate his fastball.

But the sleeper pitch in the arsenal is the changeup, and several sources think it could eventually develop into a plus-plus monster, a defining pitch that could propel him to the top of a major-league rotation.

If Ventura can get all three pitches, watch out. It’s hard enough to hit 100 mph (or, at least, it seems that way based on observation – personally, I struggle with 70), but adding a breaking ball and a changeup can be unfair. There’s a ton of potential if he shows he can hold up. Ventura is only listed as 5’11″ and 180 pounds, which isn’t the stereotypical frame for a front-end starter.

He ran into some trouble recently as he was late to Omaha’s first playoff game and was replaced by Brian Sanches. He hasn’t pitched since August 29 but he and the organization have put the incident behind him. Ventura doesn’t have a history of these issues that I can recall, so it seems to be isolated.

Cleveland is a patient team and Ventura, as a strikeout pitcher, is prone to throw a lot of pitches and can walk a few. His high pitch count this year was 109 on August 19. They may wait him out and try to get into the bullpen as soon as possible. So far there hasn’t been any statement of a pitch count.

Ventura will take Danny Duffy’s spot in the rotation. With an off day on the schedule, the Royals skipped his last start and are skipping him again due to tightness in his elbow.

MRI results came back clean and it’s just inflammation of a flexor muscle. Bob Dutton characterized the Royals as being “ultra cautious” since Duffy is coming off of June 2012 Tommy John surgery. Duffy’s last start was on September 7. No word on if he’ll be available later in the season.

Duffy, not surprisingly, was optimistic about everything:

 

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Tags: Danny Duffy Kansas City Royals Yordano Ventura

  • jimfetterolf

    I like this. Wonder if it suggests that Santana doesn’t look to be signed. Duffy, Smith, Ventura.

    • Michael Engel

      I don’t think I’d read that far into it. They’ve had him in mind as a September call up all year and needed someone to make the start. I think that was their hope coming out of spring training before Santana had done anything, but they do have to be prepared for a Santana-less future and then if they do sign him, great.

      • LastRoyalsFan

        I think there is a need for Ventura in addition to Santana. If they can’t sign Erv they will need to hit the market for at least one starter. So far the 2014 rotation includes Shields, Guthrie and three question marks. Duffy may be a key part if his recovery continues and he comes back with the necessary durability. My guess is that this is just an early look and Ventura will still have to prove he’s ready to earn a 2014 spot in spring training.