While the season is still very young, today's game seems eerily similar to the many starts of Zack Greinke in his historic 2009 season. The on-the-field product is woeful--a distasteful assemblage of underachievers, disappointments, and misfits--but amidst the dross there is one shining beacon of hope.
In Greinke's stead, we find the 22-year-old phenom Yordano Ventura, who despite his slight frame shoots lightning bolts from his right hand. Standing less than six feet tall and listed at what appears to be a generous 180 pounds, Ventura throws heat that a starter--a starter of any size--simply should not throw. In his last start, one of his heaters was clocked at 102.7 MPH at 55 feet from the plate. Don't believe me?
Ventura with a 102.7 fastball from 55'. That's pretty absurd.— Dan Brooks (@brooksbaseball) April 9, 2014
That's right, Dan; that is pretty absurd.
Maybe Ventura does have Greinke's seemingly endless arsenal. He doesn't possess that vicious slider that lefties would flail at or that jaw-dropping slow-curve that Greinke would flash once every couple of starts that would send the bats of righties flying into the stands on the heels of a 98-MPH fastball. His velocity, however, inspires awe. His change-of-pace cambio comes in so hot that it gets misidentified as a fastball half the time, largely because it is faster than many pitchers' fastballs. We're all looking at you, Bruce.
Thanks to a rain day and Ned Yost, this is just the second time we get the chance to see Ventura throw this season. With the Houston Astros--a team almost on the rise--occupying the other dugout, this could be the opportunity to see something special.
It is such a special opportunity in fact that yours truly will be heading to Houston to see the hurler in person. Connor will be picking up my slack.