Everyone loves a new pitching phenom, so here’s some good news: 22-year-old flame-thrower Yordano Ventura has won a spot in the Royals’ starting rotation, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Ventura made his MLB debut with three September starts last season and has been extremely impressive all spring, flashing a triple-digit fastball that helped him rack up 155 strikeouts in 135 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season.
Ventura will start Game 3 of the regular season after beating out left-hander Danny Duffy, a one-time top prospect now making his way back from Tommy John elbow surgery. And that likely means Duffy is headed back to Triple-A, where he’ll try to impress the Royals enough to eventually replace veteran Bruce Chen in the rotation.
In terms of raw stuff and upside Ventura is one of the top handful of pitching prospects in all of baseball, so even as a Twins fan destined to watch him dominate my favorite team’s lineup for the next decade or so I’m really looking forward to watching him pitch every fifth day.
On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”
Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.
Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.
Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.