Yordano Ventura’s star continues to rise. The Royals righthander turned in one of his best outings of the year Monday for high Class A Wilmington, allowing two runs on four hits over seven innings against Potomac, while adding in seven strikeouts and two walks.
The 21-year-old Ventura has responded well to what was his worst outing of the year two starts ago, when he didn’t make it out of the second inning on June 7. He pitched five strong innings on June 13 and then matched his longest outing of the year Monday. Ventura gave up all four of the hits he allowed in the first three innings, including a two-run homer to Potomac’s Kevin Keyes in the second, but he allowed just one baserunner after the third, retiring 12 of the last 13 hitters he faced.
Ventura, who showed a 95-97 mph fastball and bumped 98 in last week’s California-Carolina League All-Star Game, dropped his ERA to 3.04 after 68 innings. He upped his strikeout total to 85, which ranks second in the league at the moment, but he figures to take over the top spot in short order since the current leader, Rangers righty Cody Buckel, has been promoted to Double-A. Ventura does lead all CL starters in strikeouts-per-nine (11.25) and ranks fourth in the league in opponents’ average (.220)