In 2015, the Kansas City Royals did something that people did not think they would do and that was win the World Series. An organization that struggled for many years was finally on top of the baseball world.
Yordano Ventura played a vital part in helping the Royals win the World Series. Two years after their World Series performance, he died in a tragic car crash in the Dominican Republic.
Yordano Ventura’s path to playing for the Kansas City Royals
In 2008, the Royals signed Ventura as an international free agent. After he signed with the team, he spent 18 months training at the Royals’ academy. He quickly became one of the top prospects in the Royals organization. In 2013 he was named the teams co-Minor League Player of the Year with pitcher Lane Adams.
He made his MLB debut in 2013 at the age of 22. Ventura made three starts and finished with an 0-1 record with an ERA of 3.52. Going into the 2014 season, Ventura won the last Royals’ starting spot in the rotation during spring training. He started in 30 games and finished with a 14-10 record with a 3.20 ERA. Ventura finished sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting. In the playoffs, Ventura started the second game of the 2014 American League Division Series against the Los Angeles Angels. He pitched seven innings and gave up one run as the Royals defeated the Angels 4-1.
The Royals made it to the World Series in 2014 and played the San Francisco Giants. Ventura pitched in Game 2 of the World Series, and he allowed two runs as the Royals won 7-2. He also pitched in Game 6 with the Royals down 3-2 in the series. The right-handed pitcher threw seven scoreless innings as the Royals won 10-0 and forced a Game 7. The Giants would go on to defeat the Royals in Game 7.
Yordano Ventura winning his first and only World Series in 2015
After a successful performance in 2014, he was named the Royals’ 2015 Opening Day starter. He made his start against the Chicago White Sox and pitched six innings before he had to leave the game with a right thumb cramp. The Royals gave him a lot of run support that game as they won 10-1. Throughout the season, he led all major league pitchers with an average fastball velocity of 96.4 miles per hour. He finished the 2015 season going 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA and 156 strikeouts.
The Royals finished as one of the top teams in the American League for a second straight season. Kansas City advanced to a second straight World Series and took on the New York Mets. In Game 3 of the World Series, Ventura gave up five runs and took the loss, but the Royals ended up defeating the Mets to win the World Series. Ventura struggled a little bit during the 2016 season as he finished with an 11-12 record with a 4.45 ERA.
Yordano Ventura’s shocking and tragic death
The 2016 season was the last time Ventura pitched in the MLB. On January 22, 2017, Ventura was involved in a car crash where he lost control of his Jeep and flipped over on a curved road. Ventura was thrown out of the vehicle and was presumed dead by the time police arrived. He was in the Dominican Republic when the accident occurred. Multiple reports stated that Ventura died on impact and was not wearing a seat belt at the time.
Ventura’s death was the first death of an active player in Royals franchise history. The organization took it to heart and was very upset about the passing of their former pitcher. Ventura spent his entire career with the Royals organization, and he had a lot of skill and talent on the mound. He was 25 when he died.