SPRINGDALE, AR - Northwest Arkansas Naturals fans got a bit of extra excitement for the 2013 season earlier this month as pitcher Yordano Ventura was named to MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects List. Ventura, named the No. 59 prospect, made his final six starts with the Naturals in 2012, going 1-2 with a 4.60 ERA in 29 1/3 innings with 25 strikeouts. He joined the Royals Organization as an 18-year-old in October of 2008 after signing as a minor league free agent out of the Dominican Republic.
The 2012 season was Ventura's best as he made 23 starts in three leagues. Ventura made 16 starts with Advanced-A Wilmington, recording a 3-5 record with a 3.30 ERA. In 76 1/3 innings, Ventura recorded 98 strikeouts with 28 walks. Ventura was named a Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star and was named the Blue Rocks Pitcher of the Year. Ventura made one start with Rookie-level Surprise on Aug. 19, giving up one run in 3 2/3 innings.
Ventura also participated in the 2012 SiriusXM Futures Game, held at Kauffman Stadium. As the starting pitcher for the World team, Ventura didn't surrender a hit and of his 11 pitches, eight were strikes. Prior to the 2012 season, Ventura was named the Royals No. 10 prospect by MLB.com
The 2011 season was Ventura's first full minor league season. With the Kane County Cougars, Kansas City's former A affiliate, Ventura made 19 starts and was 4-6 with a 4.27 ERA. In just over 84 innings, Ventura had 88 strikeouts with 24 walks. Before the season, Baseball America rated him as the pitcher with the best fastball in the Royals organization.
Ventura spent his first professional season in 2009 with the Royals Dominican Summer League team. In 10 games, Ventura was 0-1 with three saves and a 2.78 ERA. During the 2010 season he made three starts in his native country before compiling a 4-2 record in 10 games with Rookie-level Surprise. 2010 is the last season at this point in which Ventura has been in a game as a relief pitcher.
Ventura is a non-roster invitee to Spring Training and reported with the Royals pitchers and catchers last Monday. He is currently ranked No. 3 on MLB.com's list of Royals top prospects.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale. Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.
Hometown: Samana, Dominican Republic
Height: 5' 11''
Weight: 168 lbs
Career Appearances: 69
Career Innings Pitched: 280 2/3
Career Record: 12-17
Career ERA: 3.62
Career Strikeouts: 300