If you haven’t checked it out yesterday take a second to listen to the spot Soren Petro had with Danny Duffy yesterday. Â It was good stuff as Danny seemed very pumped about the Royals chances this season and his chances of giving them a big mid-season boost. Â While Danny should contribute late this season there is another pitcher who could contribute more to the Royals in 2013.
Bob Dutton gave someon the internet an idea of what the Royals think of young Dominican right-hander Yordano Ventura.
This may have came as a surprise to some but it shouldn’t to those that listen to David Lesky and I on the Pine Tar Podcast. Â The facts are Ventura has the best two pitch combination in the Royals minor league system with his fastball-curveball combo zooming past and buckling knees in High A and AA last season. Â On top of that his change-up was getting better as the season progressed going from the “well we’ll see if it develops” into what some see as an average pitch down the line.
A pitcher like Ventura is past some of the development time because he does have two dominant pitches. Â Most nights he should be able to go out there and cruise through 4 or 5 innings of a minor league lineup with just those two pitches. Â The Royals and fans got to see plenty of that out of Yordano in 2012 as he kept his WHip at 1 or below in 8 of his 16 starts from May 1st on. Â He looked like he was finding a groove at Double A limiting opponents to just 3 hits in his 2nd and 3rd starts combined (6 BB in 12 IP) before running into what was initially described as hand soreness. Â The positives and remember it is a real small sample of those two starts were that he wasn’t afraid to throw his change-up against a higher class of hitters.
This spring he’ll get to show the org what he can do against major league hitters in short stints (Spring Training) which will give them a very good idea what he could do out of the pen. Â If he can continue to grade up the change-up then he’ll dominate AA hitters and be ready for a promotion to AAA very quickly and put him in a good spot come midseason if the Royals are in a race and need another starter to make a difference. Â On the other side if the change doesn’t advance then the spring audition combined with a possible need at the back-end of the Royals pen could get Ventura to Kansas City towards the end of the year. Â Remember what teams like the Rays and Cardinals have done in seasons past when they added big power arms at the end of the season then adding them to their playoff rosters.
Some of it depends on the Royals success and some of it depends on Ventura’s ability to refine his own stuff but either way I would expect to see Yordano in Kansas City at some point this season.
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