Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Yordano Ventura May Start the Season with the Royals

Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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  • jimfetterolf

    Quite possible, but I’ld still bet on Omaha for service time and to polish an extra pitch. Nice problem to have, three or four guys fighting for the 5th spot when two year ago they would have been fighting for the #1 and 2.

    • Michael Engel

      Only thing lacking is the changeup and Jason Parks of BP says we just haven’t seen the best of that one yet (also that with power pitchers, the change comes along later anyway). I don’t know that time in Omaha is necessary for that, as it’s likely good enough with his other two big pitches to get him by as it comes along, but if I had to guess I’d say he’s destined for Omaha anyway, having all his option years left.

      • jimfetterolf

        Another reason for Ventura and maybe even Duffy to start in Omaha is that the Royals need to sort through the bodies and make some decisions. Luke’s in his walk year, so enhancing value for an ASB trade is a good thing, probably the same with Davis. I think the Royals will want Luke as attractive trade bait and need to see if Davis will ever be a solid starter. The kids at Omaha will allow a month or two of that with enough depth that we won’t get stuck with 15 games of Mendoza or 25 of Davis if the experiment doesn’t work. Each might get 5 starts before returning to the ‘pen.

  • jessanders

    Not no more. We got the #5 spot locked with Chen now…

  • moretrouble

    I’ve been saying this for awhile, but fans seem to think Ventura’s Super Two status will mean he automatically goes to Omaha. KC will not let the Super Two status prevent them from keeping Ventura, but he’s going to have to pitch his way onto the club. KC’s going to look at Davis, Hochevar, Ventura and others. If Ventura pitches lights out in ST, I think he opens the season in KC. If someone else pitches better, then they send him out.

    • Michael Engel

      For a young pitcher, they should go get the innings and worry about service time later. Ventura signed for $28,000 originally, a great bargain now, and possibly later. Make him an offer similar to Sal’s deal to buy out some of those years and control the cost as best you can.

      If they think he’s truly the guy they want, then he’s worth the investment, and if they aren’t sure, then why worry about the service time in the first place? I bet he’d be very easy to pitch this year, see how he does, and then at least buy out the arbitration seasons with a little more money up front in exchange for a more stable salary later in his team control. Maybe tack on some option years, too.