This week’s spotlight is on the Kansas City Royals‘ Yordano Ventura. While Matt Harvey has been dubbed as the Dark Knight, and Jacob deGrom as Robin, Ventura may just be taking on the persona of Bane this season. After his latest battle (outside of Gotham City) in Chicago, Ventura was issued a seven game suspension and is currently one of the four Royals appealing their penalty. At the moment, Ventura’s next scheduled uprising or start is for Wednesday at the Cleveland Indians.
This season, the Royals’ Opening Day starter has made four starts, and in all four of them, Ventura has been involved in either a shouting match, or bench clearing brawl. The young 23-year old right-hander is seemingly becoming the villain in Major League Baseball. Just like Bane being the only one to have “Broken the Bat,” Ventura has been in the middle of breaking bats and buzzing hitters on more than one occasion. In all seriousness, after taking on the Chicago White Sox twice, Mike Trout, and the Oakland A’s already, are these run-ins becoming a pattern and a cause for concern? If they continue to happen, will the league and Commissioner Gordon, I mean Commissioner Manfred be forced into issuing a stiffer punishment for Ventura and the Royals?
With a hot start, Kansas City has been out to prove that last October was no fluke. The Royals have been playing with a chip on their shoulders early on to show that they will not be pushed around, and that all of the experts were wrong not to pick them this season. One of the guys at the forefront of that has been Ventura who when on the mound has been throwing the ball well. Ventura is a physically talented young pitcher, but he will ultimately need to harness the emotions. With the loss of James Shields, the Royals have turned to Ventura as a leader of the rotation. But, if he is constantly getting into the middle of brawls and cutting outings short, Ventura will do more harm then help for his club.
Even with appealing the suspension, Ventura will likely miss at least one start at some point in the near future. The big thing will be how he reacts in the starts after the time off. With this growing track record, not only will umpires be looking for potential incidents, but road starts could become much more challenging with fans looking to get into Ventura’s head. Pitching inside on hitters will suddenly become a very thin line in the eyes of umpires, and thus more balls out over the plate may leave Ventura vulnerable as the season goes on.
These are some of the little things that could be the factor in the Royals returning to the playoffs or being left out. Yordano Ventura will be in the spotlight to see if he can overcome the evil when on the bump and actually finish a start. Tune in next time at the same bat time on the same bat channel.