Wrestling With Ventura

Watching Spring Training games in 2014, a young guy on Kansas City impressed me mightily as he threw in the upper 90s with a solid Changeup and a hook that made...

Watching Spring Training games in 2014, a young guy on Kansas City impressed me mightily as he threw in the upper 90s with a solid Changeup and a hook that made belts buckle.  I quickly endorsed the young kid, believing he’d easily be a Top 20 talent in the next two years.  Unfortunately, Yordano Ventura’s time in the bigs has been turbulent as he’s had troubles with his control while a featuring a shockingly underwhelming strikeout rate.  However, tonight we were given a luscious taste of his upside as he went 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 11 Ks.  The main catalyst for his double digit strikeouts was an elite command of his Curveball – he was able to throw it for strikes as well as making batters chase in the dirt for the K.  He even dialed his Curveball, yes Curveball, up to 89.97 MPH.  Keep in mind, we’re often impressed seeing a Slider at that speed, let alone a bender that features much more drop and bite.  Sadly though, with all of this talent, Ventura is still a talented kid with raw ability, and I don’t believe we’ll consistently see performances like this for the rest of the season.  There’s a chance he matures in 2016, but it wouldn’t be wise to trust him implicitly moving forward.  One day kid, one day.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Matt Shoemaker – 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 1 BB, 5 Ks.  Speaking of guys that are enigmas, Shoemaker got the nod for the start and looked like his excellent self that we want so badly.  He’s the latest Cherry Bomb out there, and he’s most likely on your waiver wire if that’s your thing.

Zack Greinke – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks.  Aces gonna ace.

Madison Bumgarner – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks.  For realises.

Joe Ross – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. As if I could love you any more, Ross.

Gerrit Cole – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks.  I would go a typical AGA, but I feel the need to point out his four Ks.  Including this start, his last 13 outings had all been 6 Ks or fewer, outside of a trio of 8 K performances.  He’s solid, but he’s not in that next tier of pitcher that flat out wins you your week.

Randy Wolf – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks.  I don’t know how old Dirty Randy did it again, but I sure ain’t going to make him do it a third time.

Anthony DeSclafani – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BB, 6 Ks.  Don’t forget, he got lit up more than a Fourth of July sky in his last time out.

Marco Estrada – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. He has a 2.50 ERA since June 19th…and a 5.05 xFIP.  This is from a guy who – outside of 2009 –  has always had a higher HR/FB than league average.  Buy it if you want, but you’re only chasing that ERA/WHIP and it’s not coming with dem Ks like it was this time out.  You do you man.

Yovani Gallardo – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I feel like YoGa and Estrada are attached at the hip as they are both guys who are finding ways to poke their heads out like unwanted ostriches saying “heeeyyyyyy.”  Go away you flightless birds, I know you can’t fly like the rest of em, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give you my sympathies and let you join in with the rest of the crew.  This analogy made a lot more sense in my head.

Carlos Rodon – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks.  It’s tough to figure out Rodon right now, but I won’t be convinced to invest in him until I see a sturdy track record of low walk evenings.  This isn’t good enough to get me to sign on the dotted line, no matter how talented at calligraphy you are.

Andrew Cashner – 5.2 IP, 3 IP, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks.  I believe the term I’ve been searching for all year is Cashed Out.  Imagine all the fun we’ll have next year with these terms that no one will understand.  IT’S GONNA BE GREAT.

Carlos Martinez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Martinez has been stuck in BABIP hell for the past five starts, so don’t get too worried about the recent trend of 3 ER+ starts.  I’d be a little more worried about the inevitable shutdown that should take him out of a start or two in September.  :-/

Justin Nicolino – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 K. How do I put this nicely?  Justin, well, he isn’t…what’s that word?  Ah!  Good.

Roenis Elias – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks.  With Nuno moving to the bullpen (NO WAY), Elias got the start and was…meh.  He could provide some sneaky value, but the floor is made of lava and not in that fun sense.  I was super good at that game as a kid though.  I still am, but especially as a kid.  Nick, why are you perched on that radiator?  Shhhhhhhhhhh.

Dan Haren – 6.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks.  The Deuce Of Chicago.  Doesn’t nearly have the same ring.

Jonathon Niese – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks.  I get it, I get it.  You want us to slap our hands together above our heads in an aggressive way.  Or you just want your $20 to be paid in Lincolns.  Or you’re a fake phone number.  Okay now I’m confused, what’s the real clue here?  Mr. Cage, I NEED YOUR HELP.  Maybe he’s trying to tell us that he’ll only have five good starts all season?  My god, he’s right.

Chris Tillman – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks.  As much as I wanted to see Tillman be a viable Fantasy starter, there’s a part of me that’s kinda happy.  Why?  Because I get to say one of my favorite lines.  You can’t spell Win with Tillman.

Rubby De La Rosa – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Remember when a bunch of people – myself included – we’re thinking “huh, maybe this Rubby guy ain’t so bad?”  I treasure those times of naive wonder.

Drew Smyly – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Our Call Boy isn’t turning into the Smyly we saw hints of earlier in the season and it makes me worried entering September.  Let’s be real here, the Twins hold the second worst OBP in the majors and this just shouldn’t happen.

Tommy Milone – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BB, 2 Ks.  You’re alone if you started Milone.  I should totally write slogans for my day job – I knew I should have taken that course in college!

Aaron Harang – 6.0 IP, 5 ER 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks.  It’s inconceivable at this point to remember Harang won the Geezer Quality Start Battle to begin the season.  HAAAARRANNG!

Today’s Streamers

Mike Fiers vs. Minnesota Twins – There are a couple other choices like Taijuan WalkerAaron Nolaand Ian Kennedy, but I like Fiers the most coming off his no-hitter and facing a weak Twins offense.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Kris Medlen vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Medlen has a solid floor, even though he’ll still be limited to around five innings given that it’s only his second start since 2013.  Take note for those in QS leagues.

Game of the Day

Clayton Kershaw vs. Jason Hammel – You get Kershaw against the spry youngins of Chi-Town, while getting a chance to give Joe Maddon the stink eye if he elects to pull Hammel way too early.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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