Kansas City Royals: Crushing Fantasy Expectations

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Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) – Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Yordano Ventura

Ah, Mr. Yordano Ventura. What do we make out of him?

Through four starts (before the most recent game with Cleveland on Wednesday), his walk rate is down over 25% compared to last year, and his WHIP is an excellent 1.05. Ventura’s K/9 hasn’t changed, and although his ERA is over 4.00 (and his 4.37 FIP is 75th in the league), it’s a small sample size and mostly due to that rough outing against Oakland on April 18.

ESPN ranked him 43rd among starting pitchers going into the season, behind the struggling Mat Latos and Hisashi Iwakuma, and right ahead of unsexy names like Jose Quintana and Phil Hughes. Frankly, it was probably a little low, and Ventura deserved better as an ace in the making.

Forget all that though – what matters now is if he can mature and keep his emotions in check.

If teams consistently can get into Ventura’s dome and impact his performance, whether it means distracting him from being effective, or causing him to be ejected the second he make a mistake, then it’s going to be a long year.

I’m not concerned about a seven-game suspension (we have a slew of spot starters for that), but more about the long-term impact, and upcoming reaction from opponents to what may be perceived as an emotional weakness. I’m confident he can find a mentor in the veteran Edinson Volquez, and until further notice, he’s still the ace and should be treated accordingly in all fantasy formats, even if it feels like the whole world hates him, according to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post.

Next: Regression? Hardly.