Not Just Throwin’ Fire
(Photo via Minda Haas Flickr)
It’s is just spring training but Ace Ventura flashed just that yesterday in his 4.1 innings versus the A’s. From reports at the field and people in the know it sounds like Yordano looked just like many of us have hoped.
101-102 mph is just plain ridiculous and while I know most every hitter can hit a good straight fastball if they are sitting on it you gotta remember that Ventura is mixing in a high 90′s cutter (Hello high 90′s?), a crazy curveball and from at least one guy an unbelievable change up. Â While these reports aren’t new it was the first time that we’ve heard people say those things about Ventura while going up against major league hitters. Â The change up is a pitch that could make major league hitters look absolutely foolish as their bats are going to be cocked and ready for that big heat. Â Ultimately while those last two are huge pitches it will be his ability to throw strikes that will allow him to reach his potential or not and yesterday he was doing just that, hitting the zone on the regular. Â The Royals generally don’t hide their hand very well and all indications lean that the 5th spot is as good as Ventura’s with the possibility of him fitting into the middle of the rotation to break up soft tosser’s Jason Vargas and Bruce Chen. Â The spring isn’t over and Danny Duffy had a good outing last time out as well but this type of performance may have put Ventura so far ahead that Duffy doesn’t have time to overtake him.
As far as Danny goes I think this could be the best thing for his future as a major league starter. Â Currently he is working on a slider that I’m sure he’ll need to refine while also working on his command and control which a year after Tommy John should continue to get better as that is generally the last thing that comes back. Â It is extremely early but taking a look at Duffy’s slider results in comparison to his curveball is showing some interesting results.
As you can see Duffy is getting more whiffs on his slider and more strikes as opposed to the curveball. Â That shouldn’t be too surprising knowing the big break on Danny’s curve and the fact that hitters offer at the pitch just 36% of the time in his career in general. Â That slider mixed in with his plus velocity fastball could be a pitch that generates more swings and misses, quick weak contact and allows Duffy to work deeper into games. Â I have always said I like the slider more for Danny for the appearance of the pitch is closer to Danny’s fastball which should add deception and hopefully allow him to perform better against same side hitters (.258/.328/.414). Â While the Royals are hoping Kyle Zimmer is that impressive late season addition maybe Duffy can slot into that role as well to give KC two power arms to go with James Shields and Yordano Ventura in case one of Jeremy Guthrie or Jason Vargas struggles.
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