High 90s fastball, sharp break on the curve, respectable change-up, must I say more? For a starting pitcher, it might help to know if he can locate, which is certainly a cause for concern when looking at Kansas City Royals’ second-year starter Yordano Ventura for upcoming 2015 Fantasy Baseball drafts.
Control really is the only thing standing in Ventura’s way of Fantasy and real-life stardom, and perhaps the best tool you could use in deciphering between the numerous up-and-coming starters in the draft. Ventura recorded a BB/9 rate of 3.4 in 2014, and despite flashes of dominance, his BB/9 rate still exceeded 3.2 through 25.1 postseason innings, and had a career minor league BB/9 rate at 3.1. For comparison sake, most top of the rotation starters record a BB/9 rate below 2, including Corey Kluber at 1.9 BB/9 rate and David Price at 1.7. As for guys being drafted near Ventura, Gerrit Cole had a 2.6, Alex Wood 2.4, Alex Cobb at 2.5; however Zack Wheeler had a 3.8 BB/9,
I will never predict a round to take a player as it all depends on what draft strategy you explore. What I will do is tell you what players should go first, and which players you should approach with caution. With that said, if you love Zack Wheeler, he certainly has the pedigree to take that next step. If I’m drafting though, unless it is after round 10, I would probably wait for the first shoe to drop, and then snag one or even two of the young potential studs remaining.
— KC Kingdom (@KCKingdomFS) February 7, 2015
I like Ventura, probably more than most people I will draft with this year, but it makes the most sense to take one that has already proven their control (Cole, Cobb, Wood), rather than bank on Ventura figuring it out this year. I talked with Ventura in 2013 right before his promotion to Triple-A Omaha, and he mentioned he grew up trying to model himself after Pedro Martinez, also from the Dominican Republic. With improved control, Ventura has the makings of a front line starter, and in his prime, I could see his ceiling, ironically, to that of 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Martinez. The problem is Ventura is 23, and he has not reached his prime yet. Martinez had a 4.8, 2.8 and 3.1 BB/9 rate his first three years in the Majors. Two years later he won a Cy Young with a 2.5 BB/9. It takes time.
Obviously, I am not inducting Ventura into the Hall of Fame after one season, but he certainly has the skill set and work ethic. We hear about the likes of Yasiel Puig gaining 20 plus pounds in the offseason. I have seen the minor league prospects with all the natural gifts in the world, but no work ethic, out until 3 a.m. the night before a game shutting down a bar. What we do not always hear about is the guy like Yordano Ventura showing up to the ballpark at 10 a.m. for a 7 p.m. game running steps. And this is after he threw six shut-out innings and struck out 10 the night before.
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