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.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.