Baseball

MLB History: Yordano “Ace” Ventura

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In MLB history, there have been a lot of dominant young pitchers, however, we have seen a few tragically pass away before they become break-out stars. Miami Marlin Jose Fernandez is one player who comes to mind. Another would be the former Kansas City Royals pitcher, Yordano Ventura. Ventura was destined to make MLB history in some way throughout his career.

MLB History: Road to the Show

Yordano Ventura was signed in 2008 out of the Dominican Republic and spent the next several months working on his game. He made his minor-league debut in 2011 in Class-A and also appeared in the Futures Game that same year. In 2012, Ventura was promoted to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. At the start of 2013, he got an invite to spring training with the Royals but did not make the opening day roster. He found himself spending a short time in Double-A but quickly made it to Triple-A Omaha that year.

Late into the 2013 season, the Kansas City Royals called up Ventura from the minor leagues. He made his MLB debut and only made three starts for KC that year.

Next Three MLB Seasons

In 2014, Yordano Ventura got the final spot in the starting rotation that year and was on pace to complete his first full season in MLB. Ventura made 30 starts that season, with a 3.20 ERA, and a record of 14-10. He finished sixth in voting for the Rookie of the Year and people took notice and saw something special in this young pitcher for the Royals.

He appeared in the Postseason in 2014 with the Kansas City Royals who made a run as a wildcard team. Ventura’s most notable Postseason start came in Game 6 of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants, where he held the Giants scoreless through seven innings. Another note behind this game was that Ventura pitched in this game remembering the death of close friend Oscar Taveras, a former St. Louis Cardinals prospect.

Ventura took a step back in 2015, despite his success in the prior year. He finished with a 4.08 ERA, however, he had a record of 13-8. Ventura was apart of the team’s runs to the World Series this year.

During this run, Ventura’s most notable game was in Game 6 of the 2015 ALCS, where Ventura pitched 5.1 innings, and only gave up one earned run as the Royals made it back to the World Series for the second time in two years. He then went on to win the 2015 World Series with his teammates over the New York Mets, winning his one and only World Series title.

After the World Series victory, Ventura pitched his final season in 2016, where he went 11-12, with an ERA of 4.45. Ventura was still at a young age and never reached his full potential. His fastball reached all the way to 102 MPH at times.

Always Our “Ace”

On January 22, 2017, Yordano Ventura died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic when Ventura lost control of the vehicle. Ventura, at age 25, was presumed dead when the authorities arrived.

A dark cloud of sadness was cast over the Royals’ organization. Despite the loss of a loved one and a teammate, Kansas City honored the flamethrowing pitcher by wearing a patch on their sleeve that said “Ace 30” for the entire 2017 season.

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Nick Whyman is an editor at Overtime Heroics and has been writing for OTH since January of 2020. Whyman is also a Senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Broadcasting.