Daily Dose: One Last Dose

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After six months and 130 columns, this is the final “Daily Dose” of the 2009 season, although Rotoworld’s baseball coverage is far from over. Our player news page has constant updates 365 days per year, so whether you want to keep up to speed on all the playoff action this month or get the latest rumors and transaction analysis during the offseason Rotoworld will have everything you need.
We’ll also be churning out all kinds of good content here at Circling the Bases, where Matthew Pouliot, Craig Calcaterra, Bob Harkins, D.J. Short, and Yours Truly blog all day every day. And if for some crazy reason Rotoworld and CTB aren’t enough to satiate the daily Gleeman fix that you’ve developed over the past six months, check out my personal blog at AaronGleeman.com and my Twitter updates.
Annoying plugs aside, I’d like to thank everyone who read this column throughout the season and offer a special thank you to those of you who sent e-mails and notes via Twitter. Writing a daily column for six months is a grind, so feedback is always nice, positive or negative. Hopefully the Daily Dose has aided your fantasy teams in some small way. And if your leagues are going down to the wire, good luck this weekend!
While writing 100,000 words in this space since April seems like a lot when you put it that way, here are some notes from around baseball …


* Picking up a win with shutout ball is nothing out of the ordinary for Chris Carpenter, but Thursday’s victory was unique for what he did at the plate. Carpenter came into the game as a lifetime .105 hitter with zero homers in 326 plate appearances, which was good for a .252 OPS that ranked fifth-worst among all active players with more than 300 trips to the plate. So naturally he hit a grand slam and a two-run double.
“I think the only other home run I hit had to be in high school,” Carpenter said. “I was a really good hitter, I guess, but I grew up in New Hampshire and we didn’t see many 90-mph fastballs.” In other words, at this point in his career Reds starter Kip Wells is more or less equivalent to a New England teenager. On the mound Carpenter threw five shutout innings, improving to 17-4 while capturing the ERA title with a 2.24 mark.
* Not to be totally outdone, Tim Lincecum completed his Cy Young case with seven innings of two-run ball, improving to 15-7 with a 2.48 ERA and league-leading 261 strikeouts. While he trails Carpenter by two wins and 0.24 points of ERA, Lincecum logged 32.2 more innings. Carpenter’s rotation-mate Adam Wainwright is one of just two pitchers with more innings than Lincecum, and he’s also 19-8 with a 2.58 ERA.
* Mike Scioscia announced Thursday that Ervin Santana will not be part of the ALDS rotation, as the Angels will instead go with Joe Saunders in Game 4 at Fenway Park. Santana is 5-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 starts since August 1, but his overall numbers certainly don’t warrant a playoff start and Saunders is 4-1 with a 3.24 ERA over eight career outings against Boston. Either way, the Angels’ rotation depth is remarkable.
AL Quick Hits: Scott Baker picked up his 15th win Thursday as the Twins staved off elimination … Jon Lester showed that his knee was healthy with 6.1 shutout innings Thursday and will be ready for Game 1 of the ALDS … John Lackey was limited to two innings Thursday in a tune-up for Game 1 matchup with Lester … J.D. Drew sat out Thursday’s game with a shoulder injury that’s not considered serious, but may be benched until the playoffs just to be safe … Kevin Millwood tied his season-high with 10 strikeouts in a complete-game victory Thursday … Impending free agent Russell Branyan returned from the disabled list Thursday … Chris Davis went 3-for-5 with a homer Thursday after hitting .306 with five long balls in September … Matt Garza got another tough-luck loss Thursday in a Quality Start, dropping to 8-12 despite a 3.95 ERA and .233 opponents’ batting average … Carlos Carrasco left Thursday’s start after taking a Jacoby Ellsbury liner off his leg and then fell to 0-4 with an 8.87 ERA.
NL Quick Hits: Tommy Hanson tossed seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision Thursday, finishing his impressive rookie campaign at 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA … Jose Reyes will require surgery after tearing his hamstring earlier this week, but should be ready for spring training … Dan Haren struggled in his final outing Thursday, but still leads the majors with a 1.00 WHIP … Randy Johnson indicated Thursday that he’s uncertain about pitching in 2010 … Aaron Cook tossed eight innings of one-run ball Thursday as the Rockies clinched a playoff spot … Derrek Lee was scratched from Thursday’s lineup for personal reason … Chan Ho Park will likely be unavailable for the playoffs after aggravating his hamstring injury Thursday … Manny Parra gave up five runs over 2.2 innings Thursday, finishing with a 6.36 ERA … Cliff Lee took a loss Thursday, falling to 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA for the Phillies … San Francisco reportedly will bring back general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy in 2010.

Yordano Ventura and Jose Fernandez were two of the most promising arms in MLB

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 3: Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on July 3, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Baseball lost two incredible pitchers in the last four months, both to horrible and unforeseen tragedies. Jose Fernandez and Yordano Ventura were among the most talented and promising pitchers in MLB, two young arms that drew both accolades and criticism for their performance on the mound.

Ventura signed with the Royals in 2008, blazing through several tiers of their farm system before he was called up to replace an injured Danny Duffy in late 2013. He secured his rotation spot the following spring and finished a solid 2014 campaign with a 14-10 record, 3.20 ERA and 2.4 fWAR in 32 starts for the club. During the Royals’ World Series run later that year, Ventura dedicated his performance in Game 6 to Cardinals’ prospect Oscar Taveras, who was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic just two days earlier.

In four years with the Royals, Ventura pitched to a 38-31 record, 3.89 ERA and 6.5 fWAR. While his command and overall production rate waned, bottoming out in 2016 with a 4.45 ERA and 1.85 SO/BB rate, his dynamic pitch repertoire still kept him front and center in the Royals’ pitching staff. He brandished an electric fastball that, at its lowest point, hovered around 96.6 m.p.h. and, at its best, topped out around 102.6 m.p.h.

Like Ventura, Fernandez made an instant impression in the major league circuit. He earned Rookie of the Year distinctions in 2013 after delivering a 12-6 record, 2.19 ERA and 4.1 fWAR with the Marlins. Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in his sophomore year, he recovered to take on a full workload in 2016 and stunned the league with a 16-8 record, 2.89 ERA, career-high 253 strikeouts and 6.1 fWAR.

Ventura developed a reputation for brushing back hitters, which escalated in some cases to volatile bench-clearing brawls. In 2015, he was ejected for three altercations in three consecutive games and served a seven-game suspension. Halfway through the 2016 season, he earned another eight-game suspension after plunking the Orioles’ Manny Machado in the back with a 99 m.p.h. heater. Some speculated that his aggressive behavior on the mound was excused — or, at least, made more palatable — by his talent and track record, while others called for a more heavy-handed approach from the league.

Fernandez, too, found himself at the center of speculation after reports emerged that painted the 24-year-old as a “clubhouse difficulty,” citing attitude problems that damaged relationships between the pitcher and Marlins players and staff. On the field, he was occasionally chastised for failing to adhere to some of baseball’s unwritten rules, most notably when he showed his elation after hitting his first career home run off of the Braves’ Mike Minor in 2013.

It’s impossible to predict where Fernandez and Ventura’s careers would have taken them. We mourn them not for their actions on the mound or their potential as star pitchers, however, but for their inherent value as people who were loved and respected by their families and teams. Major League Baseball will be worse off for their loss.

Yordano Ventura killed in an auto accident

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 2:  Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals jokes with teammates as he walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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UPDATE, 12:07 p.m. EDT: The Royals have confirmed reports of Yordano Ventura’s death with an official statement. No further details pertaining to the accident have been divulged.

Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.

Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.

Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.

Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.