To the surprise of nobody—and to the consternation, perhaps, of only those who dislike things that are totally awesome—fire-balling phenom Yordano Ventura has officially been named as the final starter in the 2014 Kansas City Royals rotation. Call it the spring’s most “no-duh” moment, I suppose, but it’s one of those formalities that had to be addressed.
After a completely dominant, nearly unhittable campaign—15 strikeouts in 15 innings while only walking one, a WHIP lower than one, and a measly three earned runs—the 22-year-old Dominican will slide into the third spot in the rotation behind ace James Shields and new-hire Jason Vargas.
So if you’re needlepointing something to commemorate the season, the rotation is set like this:
4) Jeremy Guthrie
5) Bruce Chen
Or if you want to include my thoughts on your needlepoint, too, it’d look something like this:
Shields could be a legit number two on almost any team in the league, and an ace on many others. He’s competitive, often-great, and playing out his last season with KC. If there’s any player on this team who is more of a sure-thing, I don’t know who it is. (Salvador Perez, perhaps?)
I’ve spoken previously at some length about this past December’s acquisition of Vargas, and my thoughts on the matter. In a nutshell, it’s like this: I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t understand it now. He’s not a BAD pitcher, per se, he’s just very, very average. I don’t think he was overpaid, necessarily, I just wonder why it took a four year deal to get him here. He’s an innings-eater, I guess, but there are cheaper guys who offer the same amount of innings-eating abilities and could have provided more long-term upside. But, OK, he’s the number two starter, so what can you do?
And then there’s
I don’t think I’ve been as excited about a homegrown pitching prospect since Zack Greinke first stepped foot on Kaufmann Stadium soil. (And showed a lot of promised, then sucked, then showed some more promise before finally becoming one of the best pitchers in the league.)
Ventura’s stuff is electric. It’s amazing. It’s astounding and awe-inspiring. It’s like watching a sunset over the Pacific ocean while fireworks go off and a rocket shoots into the sky and a bald eagle swoops by, and you’re drinking an ice-cold beer on the beach and eating a slice of the best pizza you’ve ever had and you’re getting a BJ from Kate Upton while your accountant—who’s sitting on the beach next to you, for some weird reason—is telling you that you’ve got too much damn money in your bank account, so of course you should go ahead and buy that suit made out of polar bear fur.
Call me crazy, but I think Ventura is already poised as a favorite for Rookie of the Year, and barring some sort of debilitating injury (which means I’d just go ahead and kill myself), he’ll win a Cy Young within the next three.
I love Yordano Ventura, and I don’t care who knows it.
Then you’ve got Guthrie and Chen, and perhaps, the less said about these two, the better. (Look, I love both of these guys as dudes. They seem like legitimately good guys, and quite honestly, I think they can still both be serviceable to some degree. But statistically, Guthrie seems due for a regression—prove me wrong, J!—and I’m just constantly sad that Bruce Chen is even in the discussion as a starter… even if it is for the last spot in the rotation.)
Anyway, you probably don’t have the room on your needlepoint for all of this nonsense, but the gist of it is, I’m not worried about James Shields, I’m irresponsibly optimistic about Yordano Ventura, and one of the other starters needs to be a whole lot better than I’m expecting, should the Royals have any chance at seriously competing.
So basically—with regard to the starting rotation—this feels a lot like the start to most seasons in ol’ KC.
But remember, whatever you do, BE ROYAL. (?)
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