Prospect rankings primer
Last year's Royals list
The Top Ten
1. Yordano Ventura
Height/Weight: 5’11” 180 lbs
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2008, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #5 (Org), #62 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: 3.52 ERA (15.1 IP, 13 H, 11 K, 6 BB) at major-league level, 3.74 ERA (77 IP, 80 H, 81 K, 33 BB) at Triple-A Omaha, 2.34 ERA (57.2 IP, 39 H, 74 K, 20 BB) at Double-A Northwest Arkansas
The Tools: 8 FB; 6+ CB; 6+ potential CH
What Happened in 2013: Ventura logged a career high in innings pitched—spanning three levels—and concluded his impressive run with three starts in the majors.
Strengths: Elite arm speed; fastball sits mid-upper 90s; can hit triple digits deep into games; can manipulate the movement; gets cutting action at lower velo; curveball is plus pitch; hard breaker with tight rotation and excellent depth; changeup could end up another well-above-average pitch; offers deception from FB and good action.
Weaknesses: Slight build; concerns about workload ability; tendency to lose command by overthrowing; changeup can get too firm; requires more refinement than other offerings; curveball plays down when FB command is loose.
Overall Future Potential: 7; no. 2 starter
Realistic Role: High 6; no. 3 starter
Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; achieved major-league level; ready for extended look.
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: We already got a sneak peak at his heat in September, but with the inside track to a rotation spot on Opening Day, Ventura is ready to make a fantasy impact. The immediate future may not feature the type of strikeout numbers you’d expect long term, but he is still the type of pitcher to take a shot with at the back end of your rotation in 2014. Beyond that, he has the potential to be a full four-category contributor if he can handle the workload.
The Year Ahead: Ventura has been throwing gas since he could walk, but the progression of his secondary arsenal has turned him from a future relief prospect to a frontline arm that can pitch atop a major-league rotation. The body is slight and short, and normally I’d be quick to put him into a late-innings box. But Ventura can hold velocity like a workhorse, gaining strength as he goes along, not losing it. I do have some concerns about long-term workload and what 200 innings might do to the stuff, but it’s hard to ignore the electricity in his arm and the potential that creates. I wouldn’t be shocked if Ventura takes another step forward in 2014, and pitches his way into Rookie of the Year discussions.
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