Yordano Ventura has exactly three starts in the major leagues, totaling all of 15.1 innings. Add in his time in the minors, and Ventura has pitched a total of 430.2 innings as a professional since being signed out of the Dominican Republic at age 18 as an international free agent. Despite his limited experience, it would be in the best interest of the Kansas City Royals to look to extend Ventura as soon as possible.
Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
It may seem premature to offer Ventura an extension based on his three outings at the major league level, or based on his dominant form during Spring Training thus far. Long term extensions to pitchers, especially those who are still extremely young, such as Ventura, are fraught with risk. There is no guarantee that the player will develop as expected, and the risk of injury is certainly great.
Yet, for a team like the Royals, Yordano Ventura is exactly the type of player they should look to extend. Ventura has already been compared to a young Pedro Martinez, extremely high praise for a 22 year old. Scouts have marveled at not just his 101 MPH fastball, but at the way his curveball has been performing thus far in the spring. Already, some people are wondering if Ventura can put together a season similar to the one the Jose Fernandez had for the Miami Marlins last year.
The Royals should not wait around to find out. Should Ventura become the type of pitcher that he is expected to be, perhaps as soon as this year, the Royals may not be able to afford an extension. The best plan of action, in that case, is to emulate what the Tampa Bay Rays did with Matt Moore and extend Ventura as soon as possible.
Dayton Moore has already extended one young player that is expected to be a key to the future in Salvador Perez, locking him in until after the 2019 season if all the team options are picked up. With one important piece of the equation already locked in, the Royals should look to signing other players that could be vital to the long term success of the franchise to long term contracts. Yordano Ventura is one such player.
Even if Ventura does not turn out to be Pedro Martinez, he is still expected to develop into a solid second starter for the Royals. Given the way that the market for pitching has changed over the past few years, with teams locking in their starters, signing Ventura would be another way for the Royals to save money over the long term. Ventura, meanwhile, would have the certainty that he will be getting paid even if the worst was to happen. Signing Ventura to an extension is the type of move that the Royals need to make.
Yordano Ventura could be a part of the Royals success for quite some time. It just makes sense for the Royals to extend Ventura and maximize that time frame.