Yordano Ventura isn’t throwing all that hard
Yeah, take that with a grain of salt. He is still throwing that hard.
Ventura hit 97 MPH for the Royals last night, multiple times, and was hitting 99 often in 2016. He isn’t, however, throwing all that hard compared to his normal velocity standards.
Take a look at what has progressed since he began throwing fire full-time in 2014.
From April 2014 to October 2014, Ventura had a minimum max-velocity of 101.39. From April 2015-October 2015, that number drops to 99.07.
Fast forward to last night, and that number sat at just 97 MPH. Again, not slow by any stretch of the imagination. But it is worth noting.
According to Brooks, Ventura hasn’t hit 100 MPH since last September. That pitch came on September 23, when the Royals faced Seattle. Since then, Ventura has started 13 games for the Royals and thrown 55 innings.
Again, I’d like to note that this isn’t coming from a panicked perspective, as much as it just being an observation. In five of those 13 starts, he hit 99. In none of those starts did he fail to 96 and the only start that he did not touch 97 was his first start of Spring Training.
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But, like I said earlier, it is worth noting. From a Royals fan’s perspective (I really enjoyed him throwing 102 MPH in 2014, but that could just be me) and from an analytical perspective.
However, what stood out to me, more than even his drop in max velocity, was his drop in average velocity.
Last night’s start was just the fourth of Yordano’s career in which he did not average at least 95 MPH on his fastball.
The first of those four starts coming in his game three start for the Royals in the 2016 World Series on October 20 of 2015.
That is significant because it means the four lowest velocity starts of Ventura’s career have came in the span of 162 days. And if you don’t count the two Spring Training starts, he has now registered his two lowest average velocity starts in back-to-back starts.
Despite this, Ventura looked like the guy we want him to be for much of the night last night.
Ignore the six walks. It was his first start and four of those walks came to Byung Ho Park (did you see what he did to Soria?) Brian Dozier (walks a ton), Joe Mauer (walks a ton), and Miguel Sano (walks a ton).
His command was definitely not there, alongside his velocity not being its typical fire, and he still navigated through 5+ innings for the Royals, giving up just two hits, two runs, and striking out six. All things considered, that’s not bad.
It was encouraging to see him getting a lot of swings and misses on that curveball, especially with most of them not being hittable. He was getting hitters to chase. The only one he really got away with was the curveball that got Sano looking in the fourth.
Ultimately, who knows what will come from last night. It’s Yordano.
The strikeouts and missing bat barrels are encouraging, the walks and velocity are discouraging, and we probably need more than one start to make a real judgement.
The velocity, however, will be something to watch. If you asked almost any pitcher in baseball if they would take a 95-97 MPH fastball, they would be thrilled. He doesn’t need that extra 3-5 MPH to make his fastball elite.
However, that extra 3-5 MPH was what made him a borderline elite pitcher in 2014.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Oh, and this piece is titled “Royals Takeaways,” which is obviously plural, so I’ll give one more takeaway.
Kelvin Herrera’s slider makes him scary good. And he’s the Royals 7th inning guy.
This summer is going to be fun.