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
Awaiting the arrival of a top prospect can be difficult, especially if there is an apparent need for that player. During the 2012 season, Royals fans were hoping that Wil Myers would arrive and replace Jeff Francoeur, only to have that dream derailed when Myers was traded for James Shields. Although it is not the same situation, with the apparent hole in the Royals rotation at this point in the offseason, the latest prospect that has captured the minds and attention of the fanbase is Yordano Ventura.
Ventura definitely helped stoke the flames of interest with his performance for the Royals this past September. In his three starts, he was 0-1 and pitched 15.1 innings, but he also allowed under a hit per inning while showcasing a fastball that averaged 98.6 MPH. Ventura still has control issues, but there is no denying that he has electric stuff. Should he be able to harness his pitches, Ventura has the potential to become a future top of the rotation starter, maybe not an ace, but a solid second pitcher.
Naturally, it is that potential that makes us want to see Yordano Ventura in the starting rotation to start the season. While he is likely to get a long look during Spring Training as the Royals decide between he, Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar for the fifth starter spot, Ventura likely faces an uphill battle. Unless Davis and Hochevar both get shelled during their time in the Cactus League while Ventura dominates, it is likely that he starts the season in Omaha.
In the grand scheme of things, that may be the best potential outcome for the Royals. Should Davis or Hochevar pitch well enough to essentially be a placeholder in the rotation and not be a wasted start each time out, then Ventura will be able to refine his control and work on developing his secondary pitches. Also, by keeping him in Omaha for a few months, the Royals can push back Ventura’s arbitration clock, saving a bit of money.
Of course, that plan is likely subject to change. Should the Royals find themselves hovering around the American League Central lead and Davis or Hochevar are once again doing their best impression of napalm, then Ventura may be forced into action sooner than expected. However, unless that happens, then Ventura likely will not be in Kansas City until sometime in June.
Chances are, we will have to wait a bit longer for Yordano Ventura to become a permanent fixture in the Royals rotation. However, if that means that the Royals are in contention and the rotation is doing their part, then it will be well worth the wait.