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.
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had another fantastic night last night. He went 3-for-3, hitting a home run for the fourth game in a row, had an RBI single and reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances in New York’s 7-4 win over Minnesota.
For the year that gives Gregorius a line of .372/.470/.833, putting him atop the American League in average, slugging, OPS, and OPS+. He also leads the league in total bases (65) and RBI (29). He leads all of baseball in fWAR at 2.2, edging out Mike Trout despite the fact that Trout has played in two more games. He’s second behind Trout in homers with nine.
After last night’s game he insisted that he is not a home run hitter:
“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I am going out there to try to hit them . . . I’m not a power guy like Judge and Stanton, who hit 50 to 60 and up. Those are the guys who actually hit home runs. One year, let’s say, I hit five — then you ask me where that part went . . . if they go out, they go out. I’m just mostly trying to barrel it up and get a good swing . . . I try to hit line drives and if you check most of my home runs they were line drives,” he said. “It’s not like I am going up to hit deep fly balls.”
Given that he hit 25 homers last year and 20 the year before, he’s being a bit modest, even if he’s not likely to keep up this torrid pace. That modesty is not stopping some people from getting a bit carried away, of course:
We’ll forgive Bob for the hyperbole. Didi has been fun to watch.