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.