Link of the day: Who has the most homegrown talent?

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Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com
penned a fascinating and informative piece on homegrown talent in the
big leagues, providing succinct capsules of some of the most-widely
regarded farm systems, ranging from the Giants, with blue-chippers like
Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner to the Orioles and future-aces Chris
Tillman and Jake Arrieta.

According to Mayo’s piece, the teams with the highest percentage of
homegrown talent on their 25-man roster are the Rockies (64%), Yankees
(56%), Tigers (52%) and Angels (52%). Bringing up the rear are the
Mets, Nationals and Royals (20%) and last of all, the Astros (16%).

By the way, it’s worth noting that the three current division
leaders and the wild card leader in American League — the Red Sox —
also lead the league in “homegrown talent percentage” — yeah, it’s a
new statistic:

Getting homegrown talent to the big
leagues is an indicator, but it’s not a be-all, end-all. Some teams use
prospects to trade for big league help and thus don’t have as many
players on their 25-man roster that are signed and developed solely
from within. While it might be telling that only 16 percent of the
Astros’ 25-man roster fit that category, the A’s 36 percent rate is
because they’ve done so much farm building via trades. They added three
more pieces in the recent Matt Holliday trade.

Perhaps the most inclusive way of
evaluating a system is looking at both elite talent and depth together.
It’s hard to argue with that recipe of having impact guys with lots of
usable parts at every stop. In the end, it’s all about producing
players the big league club can use in some fashion.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.