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September 17, 2013

The Call-Up

Yordano Ventura

by Jason Parks and Craig Goldstein


The Situation: The Royals find themselves in the playoff hunt for the first time since the advent of manned flight, and adding a potent weapon to an already potent bullpen could help propel the team toward October baseball. With the grind of a long season wearing heavily on the legs and the hands of hitters, a high-octane flamethrower capable of hitting over 100 mph on the gun can be a devastating force, even more so when you consider that the league is unacquainted with the young arm.

Background: Yordano Ventura was signed out of the Dominican Republic in the fall of 2008 for less than $30K. The Royals took it slow and low with Ventura, keeping him in the Dominican for all of 2009 and parts of 2010, before bringing him stateside for a taste of the Arizona League and Fall Instructs. A strong full-season performance in the Midwest League brought Ventura more attention, as the bat-missing skills were hard to overlook despite some concerns about his size; at the time, Ventura was listed at 5’11’’ and a generous 150 lbs. (depending on the source).

But it wasn’t until his breakout performance in 2012 that Ventura started converting some of the doubters about his ability to pitch in a rotation. Over two levels (three if you count his AZL appearance), the Dominican righty made 23 starts, logged 109.1 innings, and struck out 130 batters. Thanks to this strong performance, Ventura found himself on the Baseball Prospectus Top 101 for the first time, ranking 62nd overall coming into the 2013 season. The 22-year-old built on his strong performance with an even stronger performance in 2013, making more starts, logging more innings, missing more bats, and pitching well enough in the upper minors to get the much anticipated call to the majors.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (09/17)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The Call-Up: Christian... (09/10)
Next Column >>
The Call-Up: George Sp... (04/17)
Next Article >>
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (09/17)

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