SPRINGDALE, AR - In the heat of a Playoff Race, the Royals have promoted flame-thrower Yordano Ventura.
The Kansas City Royals announced that the 22-year-old right-handed pitcher will start tonight against the Cleveland Indians at Kaufmann Stadium. After a 7-1 victory over the Tribe last night, the Royals currently sit 2½ games out of the final American League Wild Card. The jump to the Majors will represent Ventura's second promotion this season. He began the year with the Naturals and becomes the franchise's 38th Player to reach the Major Leagues.
"We're all excited to see Ventura pitch," Royals manager Ned Yost told the media about the promotion of Organization's number-two pitching prospect according to both MLB.com and Baseball America. "I've had my eye on this guy, like we've all had, for two or three years, watching him come up the system."
Ventura was signed in the Dominican Republic by Kansas City in 2008 as an International Free Agent. As a 5'11" 180-pound right-hander whose fastball has hit triple-digits at Arvest Ballpark this season, he has drawn some comparisons to his hero and fellow countryman Pedro Martinez. The Royals invited Ventura to Big League camp as a non-roster invitee earlier this year, and he went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA across five appearances and was among the final cuts for the Royals starting rotation.
After six starts with the Naturals in to close out 2012, Ventura was re-assigned to Northwest Arkansas to begin the 2013 campaign. In 11 starts, Ventura was 3-2 with a 2.34 ERA in 57⅔ innings giving up 39 hits walking just 20 batters and tallying 74 strikeouts. He struck out 10 batters in back-to-back outings on April 30th and May 6th. His longest start of the season at any level came on May 27th in San Antonio when he threw 96 pitches in 8 innings giving up one-run on four hits and striking out 8 without walking a batter and retired the first fourteen batters he faced. He was promoted to AAA-Omaha on June 3rd and went 5-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 15 starts, surrendering 80 hits, walking 33 and striking out 81 PCL batters in 77 innings.
The start opened up in the Royals rotation when former Naturals starter Danny Duffy experienced discomfort in his left elbow after a side session over the weekend. Duffy made four rehab appearances with the Naturals this season as he made his way back from 2012 Tommy John Surgery.
Appearing in the last two SiriusXM Futures Games during MLB All Star Weekend, Ventura had previously pitched at Kaufmann Stadium in 2012. He also competed at CitiField in New York earlier this year, and represented the Naturals as a 2013 Texas league All Star Selection.
Ventura joins OF Wil Myers, INF Ed Lucas, C Cody Clark, LHP Kevin Chapman and OF Derrick Robinson as former Naturals to make their Major League debuts this season.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texgue Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and proud host of the 77th Annual Texas League All Star Game. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, AR. For more information including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.