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ESPN: Yordano Ventura a Breakout Player to Watch

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ESPN's David Schoenfield identifies the Royals flamethrower as one of his ten players to watch for a breakout season.

Christian Petersen

East Coast media bias? What East Coast media bias. The Royals garnered attention from the media elite in Bristol, Connecticut on ESPN's David Schoenfield's list of ten players to watch for in 2014 for a breakout season. The player identifies is not future Stormchasers third baseman Brandon Laird, but rather he of the 100 mph fastball - Yordano Ventura.

Yordano Ventura, P, Kansas City Royals: He'll rank high on prospect lists heading into the season with his high-octane heater. The Royals believed enough to give him three starts down the stretch with the club battling for a wild-card spot. Ventura isn't a lock for the rotation -- James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas are locks, with Danny Duffy and Wade Davis also in the mix -- but the Royals should go with the potential upside of Ventura over Duffy or Davis. Ventura struck out 155 in 134.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A and while the curveball and changeup are still works in progress, it’s the fastball, which hit 101.9 mph with the Royals, that should make him an effective starter as a rookie.

Clearly he is not aware of the corner-turning upside of Luke Hochevar and the "key to the trade" potential of Wade Davis.

It will be interesting to see how the Royals handle their rotation options. I don't think they would garner too much criticism if they let Ventura get his feet wet in Omaha to begin the year, to give Davis and/or Hochevar one last shot. But in a season in which they are in it to win it, and every game matters, there may also be intense pressure to put the five best starting pitchers in the rotation.