Every season there are a handful of players that are talked about as “the next big thing” in baseball. The majority of the time those players don’t live up to their lofty expectations. Every so often, a player comes along and exceeds his expectations and causes a waiver and trade frenzy in the fantasy baseball world.
I am here to tell you Yordano Ventura is the real deal. On Tuesday night, he threw the fastest pitch ever recorded by a starting pitcher in a regular season game, at 102.9 mph, according to PitchFx. There are only two starting pitchers who possess this kind of velocity in baseball, Justin Verlander who threw a 103.2 mph pitch during the 2011 ALCS — and Yordano Ventura.
A lot of readers will bring up the point that a sample size of exactly one game pitched this season does not make him one of the top pitchers in baseball. Those readers would be right in that assumption. The potential of what he can accomplish his season is phenomenal when you look at his statistics from Tuesday night and what team it was against.
Yordano Ventura: 4/8 vs. Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are a playoff contender and considered by many as one of the top three teams in the American League. Yordano Ventura made them look like a mediocre middle of the pack team during his first start on Tuesday.
His electric fastball helped him tally those six strikeouts. Five of his six strikeouts came against Tampa Bay’s two best hitters: Evan Longoria and Wil Myers. Last year’s American League Rookie of the Year Will Myers struck out three times in a row and Evan Longoria added two more.
With all of the effort Yordano put into his season debut he has nothing to show for it in the win column. Tampa won 1-0 on a ninth inning single by James Loney.
The 1-0 score is an important factor when looking at Ventura going forward. Kansas City has a very good offense but it is one that will struggle at times against premier pitching like they faced against Tampa’s own young hurler Chris Archer.
I expect Ventura to have 12-15 wins by the end of the season. There is a chance for more wins but hitters like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer will need to put up very good numbers for the Kansas City offense for that to happen.
Yordano Ventura will be among the league leaders in strikeouts this season. I also expect him to put up an outstanding WHIP.
There will be starts where he doesn’t have his best stuff and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts. Young power pitchers are notorious for having an outstanding start followed by one that is horrible. He will be no exception as he continues to gain experience week by week.
At this point in time, the smartest move you can make would be to acquire Yordano Ventura at any cost.
The longer you wait, the more you are going to have to pay for him as the season wears on. I expect him to be a fantasy baseball force this season. It would be a shrewd move to get him now before his current owners figure out exactly what they have on their rosters.