Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has died in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic at age 25, reports the Kansas City Star.
In a statement, ISE Baseball said, “We suffered an indescribable loss today. Our hearts and souls are broken with the passing of Yordano Ventura. Yordano’s heart and passion for the game of baseball and for life had no equal. Today, we lost a teammate, who never backed down; a friend, who never let you down; and a brother, who always made you smile.”
Read on to learn more about Yordano Ventura.
1. His Fastball Reached Over 100 Mph
Ventura’s fastball reached over 100 miles per hour. He stood at 6-feet tall, 195 pounds, and finished the 2016 season with an 11-12 record and 4.45 ERA. Last year marked Ventura’s fourth season in the major leagues, during which he made 32 starts for the Royals. He threw 186 innings with two complete games.
On June 7, 2016, Ventura was faced with a 9-game suspension after allegedly becoming embroiled in a fight with Orioles shortstop Manny Machado. Speaking at the US Cellular Field after the announcement of his suspension, Ventura said, “I didn’t do anything for nine games, but we’ll appeal.” His suspension was later reduced to 8 games.
2. He Signed With the Royals as an Amateur Free Agent in ’08
In 2008, Ventura was drafted by the Royals as an international free agent, and received a $28,000 signing bonus. The team invited him to spring training in 2013, and he was promoted to the major leagues on September 17, 2013.
As of 2015, he was the team’s second-youngest opening-day starter in club history, and his ERA ranked 10th in the league overall.
In 2014, Ventura finished sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting.
3. He Was Born in the Dominican Republic
Ventura was born in the Dominican town of Samaná on June 3, 1991. According to a 2015 article in the Kansas City Star, Ventura’s 5-year contract gave him the flexibility and stability to return to see his family back in the Dominican Republic. The Kansas City star reported, “According to a source, Ventura will earn $750,000 in 2015, $1 million in ’16, $3.25 million in ’17, $6.25 million in ’18 and $9.75 million in ’19. There was also a $1 million signing bonus.”
At the time, Dayton Moore, the General Manager for the team, told the outlet, “He is really a once-in-10-year type of talent that comes along and we have to move forward and get those kind of players signed long-term.”
4. He Won the 2015 World Series With the Royals
In 2015, the Royals beat the Mets 4 games to 1 and became World Series champions after earning a wild-card entry to the playoffs in 2014. The win marked their first since 1985. After the win, first baseman Eric Hosmer said, “It’s the best. We came back and won a world championship. Words can’t even describe how awesome this feels right now. Couldn’t have done it with a better group of guys. We battled since Day 1, Minor Leagues a lot of us, and this is an unbelievable feeling.” In the World Series Championship campaign, Ventura went 13-8.
5. The Royals General Manager Has Released a Statement About His Death
On Sunday, The Royals General Manager, Dayton Moore, released a statement about Ventura’s death.
“Our prayers right now are with Yordano’s family as we mourn this young man’s passing. He was so young and so talented, full of youthful exuberance and always brought a smile to everyone he interacted with. We will get through this as an organization, but right now is a time to mourn and celebrate the life of Yordano.”
In a tragic coincidence, third baseman Any Marte was also killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, at age 33. Tony Clarke, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, issued a statement following Ventura and Marte’s deaths.
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