Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura passed away early Sunday morning after a fatal car accident in his home country of the Dominican Republic, according to Dominican police. He was 25 years old.
The Royals signed Ventura as an international free agent in 2008, and he quickly became one of their top prospects with an overpowering fastball that could exceed 100 mph. He made his MLB debut in 2013.
Ventura was given a 5-year $23 million after an impressive 2014 campaign that helped the Royals win the AL Championship, and entered 2015 at the top of their rotation as the opening-day starter. He would go on to win the World Series with the club later that year.
Ventura’s passing is the second fatal car accident to involve an MLB player today, with the passing of 33-year-old infielder Andy Marte earlier this morning in a separate incident. Formerly a top Braves prospect, Marte had spent the previous two seasons in Korea after bouncing around several different MLB clubs throughout his career.
Unfortunately these are not the first big names that players and fans have had to mourn in recent years, with the passing of Jose Fernandez this past season and the Cardinals youngster Oscar Taveras during the 2014 World Series.
Yordano Ventura started game six of the World Series with a tribute to Taveras, a native of the Dominican Republic, on his hat. He would go on to hurl seven shutout frames while surrendering only three hits in a 10-0 victory, and would later dedicate the performance to his fallen countryman.
Ventura finished 2016 with an 11-12 record with a 4.45 ERA over 186 innings pitched.*
*Statistics from MLB.com
-Featured image from MLB.com