If there were any doubts that he was ready for a spot in the big league rotation, Yordano Ventura answered them Monday night in Surprise, Arizona. He has impressed so much this spring, Ventura not only locked up the fifth spot, Ned Yost has named him the third starter, ahead of Jeremy Guthrie and Bruce Chen.
Sure, it was just a spring training game, but Ventura was dominant, and he wasn't exactly facing the Oklahoma City RedHawks. The right-handed flamethrower struck out Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus on his first seven pitches, locking up both on devastating curveballs. In all, he struck them both out twice, and also fanned Prince Fielder and Jim Aducci.
Ventura did not even allow a fly ball until the fifth inning, when he survived two deep drives. Up to that point, all of his outs were the result of strikeouts and weak ground balls. Four of Ventura's six strikeouts came on breaking balls, showing he has more to offer than a plus-plus fastball that often hits triple digits. He was so good that he was able to refrain from using his change-up for most of the night.
In all, Ventura used only 73 pitches to work six scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and did not walk a batter, though he hit one with a pitch and was charged with a balk. He now has allowed only three earned runs in 15.1 innings this spring while holding opponents to a .185 average. He has walked just one hitter and struck out 15.
The outing gives Royals fans even more to be excited about when it comes to the 22-year old, and now we know for sure we will see him on the mound for the Royals in Detroit April 3.