Last year, when Yordano Ventura hit 100 mph on the radar gun, it was sometimes a bad thing.
Ventura has one of the best fastballs in the minors, but at low Class A Kane County, sometimes he got a little too focused on hitting triple digits instead of worrying about getting hitters out.
This year's he's learned that lesson, and through the first half of the season at high Class A Wilmington, Ventura pitched with less effort and better results. He's 3-5, 3.30 with 98 strikeouts in 76 innings. But as he showed as the World starter for the Futures Game, he can still throw 100 mph when he wants to.
Given a one-inning outing in front of Royals fans, Ventura aired it out. He touched 100 mph three times on the Kauffman Field Pitch FX. His slowest fastball was 98 mph. The Kauffman Field Pitch FX system is generally considered to run a little hot, but it's worth noting that Ventura's peak velocity matched that of Pirates righthander Gerrit Cole, also considered one of the best arms in the minors.
Ventura has dropped down his arm slot slightly this year in addition to focusing on throwing with a free and easy delivery. The perfect inning of work in the Futures Game was also the fitting setup for a move to Double-A. The Royals have promoted him to Northwest Arkansas, where he will join former fellow Carolina League all-star Sugar Ray Marimon in the Naturals rotation.