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 Be Locking Up the Fifth Starter Spot


The competition between Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura for the fifth starter spot may be over.

Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) tips his hat to the crowd as he leaves the field in the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

While Duffy has struggled thus far in his appearances in the Cactus League, posting a 7.71 ERA while giving up ten hits and a walk over seven innings, Ventura had performed fairly well. Heading into yesterday’s game, he had posted a 3.60 ERA, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out three over five innings. Those are not bad numbers, but they are hardly enough to show that Ventura has seized the fifth starter spot.

Then came his start yesterday. Yordano Ventura, against an Oakland Athletics team that featured quite a few starters, was outstanding. In his 4.1 innings of work, he allowed one run on two hits, striking out six without giving up a walk. Ventura even hit 101 on the radar gun, which led to this interesting tweet from Jon Heyman of CBSSports:

101 MPH, and was not trying to throw too hard? Talk about impressive.

With the way that Ventura pitched today, and the struggles that Duffy has had thus far in Spring Training, this may now be a competition in name only. Based on performance, not only is Ventura the clear frontrunner for the spot, but he may have pulled ahead permanently. Unless the Royals are concerned about Ventura’s service time, which is always a possibility, he may have locked down that final spot in the rotation.

Unless Yordano Ventura implodes the rest of the way, it would seem that he may have locked down the fifth starter spot for the Royals. In a rotation in need of a pitcher with upside, he has emerged as the best choice.

Tags: Kansas City Royals Yordano Ventura

  • moretrouble

    Well…I would, maybe, lightly pencil his name in that slot. There are a couple of weeks left and things can go bad in a hurry. However, it appears Ventura can make KC fans forget all about Ervin Santana.

    • jessanders

      That’s certainly the hope. His upside is well above the 3 WAR that Santana posted last season, but I’m not entirely sold on his ability to give enough innings. I know he won’t touch 200, just simply because the team doesn’t want him to, so 150? That’s doable, 30 starts, 5 innings each. Just tough on the BP.

      • jimfetterolf

        He had 150 last year, the assumption from management was originally that he’ld get 180 this year.

      • moretrouble

        Uh…Ventura has pitched only 15 innings or so at the MLB level. I don’t think anyone really knows how good he WILL be, only how good he COULD be, no disrespect intended.

        • Dave Hill

          I saw a tweet from someone – it may have been a writer for the KC Star – that said that Ventura reminded him of a young Pedro Martinez. If he’s even 75% of Pedro, I’d be ecstatic.

          • jimfetterolf

            Pedro is a common comp based on size and stuff. He’s always the answer to the question, “Can Ventura hold up, he’s so small.” I still think Herrera needs another shot at the rotation.

          • moretrouble

            That is an excellent point, Jim, upon which I’m in total agreement.

          • moretrouble

            What we are seeing with Ventura, Dave, is the publicity machine of the front office with the cooperation of the Star and other sources. They build up these kids to the point that the public has unrealistic expectations. They did it with Butler, then Gordon, then Hosmer and Perez. Fortunately, the players live in an insular environment. Like all young people, they spend a lot of their time texting friends on their phones, LOL. I wish the media and fans would leave these guys alone. It sounds strange to say this, but to be a great player, he must be a normal person, doing all the things normal people do — and put his baseball career in perspective. Just because he can throw a baseball doesn’t mean he’s a great person.

  • jessanders

    He’s been considered for a while a candidate for Rookie of the Year. I hope he wins it. The Royals need it.

  • chiefs3182

    I think that it’s very tough to evaluate Duffy this early in the season. Starting pitchers always have varied timetables when coming off of Tommy John’s surgery. After comparing one of his previous games to the one I saw this year, even his delivery looks different. I don’t believe he is completely healthy yet, and for that reason, it shouldn’t even be a decision. It just helps that Ventura looked lights out two days ago, and was already pitching above average before that. It’s exciting to have two people capable of taking over the final spot in the rotation. KC normally doesn’t have all of the roster decisions that are pending for this season since the talent is not normally there. It’s an exciting time in Kansas City.

    ***A little constructive criticism for Mr. Hill***

    The piece was put together well except for the final four sentences in the article. In three of the four final sentences you mention how he locked up the final spot. In the second to last sentence it says “he may have locked down that final spot”. Then the very next sentence (to finish the article) says “it would seem that he may have locked down the fifth starter spot”.

    - Just makes it a tougher read in my opinion and seems like a space filler. I have written for multiple sites and love hearing criticisms of my work so that I can improve. Just thought I’d pass that along. I’ve enjoyed many of your articles!