The Royals have confirmed reports that Yordano Ventura was killed in a car collision early Sunday morning in the Dominican Republic. Ventura was just 25 years old. The cause of the crash has not yet been revealed.
Ventura has spent his entire professional career with the Kansas City Royals since being signed as a teenager from the Dominican Republic in 2008. In his rookie season, he burst onto the scene with a fastball that could reach triple digits, winning 14 games that year. He pitched in a pivotal Game 6 of the World Series that fall, tossing seven shutout inning against the Giants in a 10-0 win. The performance came just after the death of Oscar Taveras, a friend of Ventura’s who was one of the most promising prospects in the game, who also died from a car collision.
Ventura was known for being emotional on the mound, getting into several dust-ups with opponents, culminating in a brawl between him and Orioles infielder Manny Machado this past June. His performance could be inconsistent, and his stuff seemed to be better than his results. Still, he was an integral part of the Royals rotation with potential to become even greater, and that potential sadly, will never be realized. In just over three seasons with the Royals, he won 38 games with a 3.89 ERA and 7.2 WAR.
Ventura’s stunning death takes place the same weekend as the death of former Major Leaguer Andy Marte, who also died in a separate car collision in the Dominican Republic. It also comes just months after the tragic boating death of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.
The Royals have released an official statement.