Yordano Ventura impressed in his most recent spring training start. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
The Kansas City Royals top pitching prospect Yordano Ventura made a start on Monday night in Arizona against the Texas Rangers. The right hander threw six shutout innings with a walk and six strikeouts on just 73 pitches.
His stuff was explosive as he carved up the Rangers lineup for six innings mixing in his fastball, change up and curveball. Ventura fired off 41 fastballs, 21 curveballs and 11 change ups during the game. The fastball averaged 98.2 MPH for the entire six innings. Go back and read that again. The fastball averaged 98.2 MPH for the entire six innings.
Just how impressive is it that Ventura averaged 98.2 MPH for the game? Matt Harvey led all starters in 2013 with an average velocity on his fastball of 95.2 MPH. The 2.8 MPH difference between Ventura and Harvey was the same as the difference between Harvey and the 19th pitcher on the top velocity list.
Now clearly it was just one game and while he did throw six innings, his pitch count was very low. Still, it was incredibly impressive. Here is a chart of his fastball velocities on an inning-by-inning basis:
Looking at the chart above is just incredible. With such velocity you would expect a lot of swings and misses, but there were only three swings and misses among the 41 fastballs thrown, including 19 swings. Eight fastballs did go for called strikes.
The change up was thrown 11 times in the game and averaged 86.4 MPH with a low velocity of 84.8 MPH and a top velocity of 89.1 MPH. Two were put in play, one was swung through and two went for called strikes. The pitch showed some extra sink and horizontal movement compared to his 4-seam fastball.
The right hander was leaving Texas hitters baffled when he threw his curveball as he had five swings and misses on the pitch and two more called strikes. Alex Rios had an infield single off of the pitch as the only real “damage” done against it during the game. While very few pitches in baseball can match up with his fastball, the curveball is also a very strong pitch for Ventura that he is going to be able to rely on against big leaguers.