Daily Dose: He's alive!

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Chris Young earned his demotion to Triple-A last month by hitting .194 in 103 games and went just 4-for-25 (.160) with 10 strikeouts during his first week back in Arizona, but that all changed Sunday. Young blasted three homers and drew a pair of walks in five plate appearances against the Rockies. Sure, his monster day came at Coors Field, but the rest of the Diamondbacks were just 3-for-30 with seven strikeouts.
Young had an opportunity to tie the major-league record with a fourth long ball in the ninth inning and with the Diamondbacks down eight runs there was every reason just to swing away, but instead he coaxed a two-out walk. Perhaps not surprising from a guy who’s averaged 55 walks per 150 games through the age of 25 and a reminder that despite his struggles and high strikeout rates he still has some plate discipline.
There’s no getting around the fact that he was brutally bad prior to the demotion and Young had been disappointing in general by batting just .232/.303/.428 through 448 career games, but for fantasy purposes it’s way too early to give up on the former top prospect. He just turned 26 years old Saturday and has averaged 22 homers and 18 steals per 150 games even while hitting .232 with a strikeout one-fourth of the time.
While the Diamondbacks stick with Young after handing him a five-year, $28 million contract just 17 months ago, here are some other notes from around baseball …


* Wade Davis looked very good in his MLB debut Sunday, racking up nine strikeouts while holding the Tigers to one run in seven innings. He was denied a win when the bullpen blew a two-run lead, but Davis definitely pitched well enough to remain in the rotation. Last week in this space I recommended Davis as an AL-only pickup and I’m still not sure he’s a good mixed-league investment, but there are worse fliers to take.
* Drew Stubbs continued his uncharacteristic power display Sunday afternoon, going deep for the fifth time in 84 at-bats after homering a grand total of three times in 107 games at Triple-A prior to last month’s call-up to Cincinnati. Stubbs has the speed, plate discipline, and defense to be an asset long term, but hitting homers and making consistent contact ultimately are not going to be strengths.
AL Quick Hits: Luke Hochevar was battered for seven runs Sunday, making him 0-6 with an 8.12 ERA since back-to-back great starts in July … Derek Holland struggled again Sunday and has now allowed 22 runs in his last dozen innings … Ichiro Suzuki got his 2,000th hit in his 1,402nd career game Sunday, which is just a dozen games short of Al Simmons’ all-time record … Jake Peavy (elbow) threw a 60-pitch bullpen session Sunday and will throw again later this week … Brandon Inge’s grand slam in the ninth inning Sunday pushed the Tigers’ divisional lead to seven games … Sergio Mitre was rocked for 11 runs Sunday, with terrible defense playing a part … Jeremy Guthrie pulled his ERA under 5.00 for the first time since May with seven scoreless innings Sunday … Gio Gonzalez turned in seven innings of two-run ball Sunday after coming into the game with a 6.07 ERA … Carl Crawford went hitless Sunday for the fourth straight game … Jon Lester had seven shutout innings Sunday for his seventh straight Quality Start.
NL Quick Hits: Justin Upton was pulled from Sunday’s game after failing to hustle on a hit off the wall that he assumed was a homer … Prince Fielder leads baseball with 123 RBIs after delivering a walk-off homer in the 12th inning Sunday … Jerry Manuel said Sunday that Carlos Delgado’s (hip) chances of playing again this year are “very slim” … Tim Hudson allowed just one run and had six strikeouts versus one walk in seven innings Sunday … Miguel Tejada had hits in all four at-bats Sunday and drove in a run for the first time since August 19 … Mike Pelfrey evened his record at 10-10 with eight innings of one-run ball Sunday … Seth Smith went deep twice and drove in five runs Sunday … Johnny Cueto had nine strikeouts in six innings of one-run ball Sunday … Ryan Zimmerman’s walk-off homer Sunday snapped a nine-game losing streak and handed Leo Nunez his second blown save this month … Daniel Cabrera gave up five runs without recording an out in his Diamondbacks debut Sunday.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.