It has been expected that the battle to determine the Royals fifth starter will come down to Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar. While Yordano Ventura and the recently signed Brad Penny may be a part of the competition, they were both relative longshots to win the job. Both pitchers could be sent to the minors, and in the case of Ventura, his arbitration clock could be delayed if he remained in Omaha to start the season.
Conventional wisdom certainly dictates that Ventura will end up in the minors to start the year. Yet, according to J.J. Picollo, the Royals’ assistant general manager of scouting and player development, that may not be the case. Ventura may actually have a chance to start the 2014 season as a member of the Royals rotation.
“So, in his (Ventura’s) mind, he should come into camp like, ‘It’s my job to lose.’ Somebody’s going to have to take it from him or he’s going to have to give it away,” Picollo said. “But I do think he’s in a great position to win a spot in that rotation and I do think he’s ready for it at this point.”
Based on that quote, not only does it appear as though Yordano Ventura has a legitimate chance to start the season in the Royals rotation, but he may even be a favorite at this point. It certainly would make sense. After spending over $90 Million this season, why should the Royals worry about a few extra dollars in the next few years? Dayton Moore has built this team to hopefully win now. Instead of trusting a starting rotation spot to either Davis or Hochevar, Ventura would provide upside and, potentially, a better option in the rotation.
Another factor in Ventura’s legitimate candidacy for a role coming out of Spring Training was how he performed for the Royals last season, Despite being thrown into the thick of a playoff push, Ventura never showed any signs of nerves, which caught the attention of the front office as well.
“There was a lot on the line and the way he didn’t vibrate out there and kept his calm and put our club in a great position to win the ballgame (was great),” Picollo said.
Unless Yordano Ventura completely implodes during Spring Training, or either Hochevar or Davis suddenly have turned into viable options for the rotation, he may actually begin the season with Kansas City this year. If that does end up being the case, he may be in the Royals rotation to stay. The Yordano Ventura Era may be upon us.