Barring another move in free agency or a trade, it appears as though the Royals are going to be relying upon two of their young starters to be part of the rotation. While James Shields is certainly the ace of the rotation, the other veteran options in Jeremy Guthrie and the newly signed Jason Vargas are more middle of the rotation innings eaters than anything else.
With that being the case, the Royals are likely to rely upon Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura to step in and attempt to fill the role vacated by Ervin Santana. With Duffy coming back from Tommy John surgery, it may be Ventura that is able to step into that role.
Ventura certainly tantalized with his talent during his three starts at the end of the season, finishing with a 3.52 ERA and striking out eleven in his 15.1 innings of work. That built off his strong minor league campaign, where between two stops, Ventura combined for an 8-6 record with a 3.14 ERA. He struck out 155 batters in 134.2 innings, with only 53 walks.
Armed with a fourseam fastball that touches 100 MPH, while mixing in a sinker and a low 80′s curve, Yordano Ventura certainly has the repertoire that could lead to success. Yet, Ventura is more than just a power arm. In his brief time in Kansas City, Ventura displayed an ability to generate ground balls, getting an out on the ground for every fly out. With one of the better defensive shortstops in baseball behind him in Alcides Escobar, if the Royals are able to get a second baseman that is also solid with the glove, Ventura could end up as one of the Royals better starters in 2014.
Although it would be great to see the Royals either bring back Santana or sign another free agent to fill out the second slot in the rotation, Yordano Ventura may be capable of filling that role soon. He may even be able to step up and become the de facto second starter as soon as this upcoming season.