Yordano Ventura made his first start on Friday night, as the Royals came from behind to grab a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Ventura struggled mightily in his first two innings, walking two batters and allowing two hits. He would eventually settle down, only to run out of gas in the 6th inning, where he walked his first two batters. Ventura battled with his pitch count and command throughout the night, but really gave a solid effort in his season debut.
During the offseason, many wondered if he would be able to take over as the team’s ace for the 2016 season. Yordano Ventura has spent two full seasons in the league, and has yet to show the maturity level needed to be the Royals’ number one pitcher. About to wrap-up the first week of the regular season, Ventura finds himself as the team’s third starter behind hard-throwing righty, Edinson Volquez and soft-tossing right-hander, Chris Young. Young was originally slated to be the team’s fourth man, but due to a hamstring issue with Ian Kennedy, the two have swapped places.
Though it’s only been one start, Yordano Ventura’s demeanor has really changed in the course of six months. With every jam that he encountered, he appeared to keep his cool and pitch out of it. Body language is key as a pitcher, and Ventura showed no signs of defeat, even when he wasn’t getting calls on pitches that appeared to be in the strike zone. One thing to be concerned about as the season marches forward is his pitch count. Ventura threw 98 pitches in 5.0+ innings of work, mostly due to his six walks.
Last year would definitely be considered a sophomore slump for Yordano Ventura. He owned a 4.08 ERA with a WHIP of 1.298 and an ERA+ of just 102. His command wasn’t much of an issue in 2015, allowing just 3.2 walks per nine innings. Call it first game jitters or whatever you want, but command, although fixable with some work with pitching coach Dave Eiland, is something to watch for throughout the season.
Ventura certainly has the potential for a bounce back year. At just 25, Ventura is still developing. The organization is hoping to see him evolve into the ace that they know he can become. With guys like Edinson Volquez as a mentor, Yordano Ventura’s outlook is very bright. The only thing that will stand in the way of Yordano Ventura is Yordano Ventura. He has all of the right tools, but spent much of last season in his own head. Hopefully 2016 will show signs of improvement for the young righty.
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