KANSAS CITY -- For the second straight year, Yordano Ventura will represent the Royals at the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game on July 14. He will be joined on the roster by Miguel Almonte.
Royals assistant general manager for scouting and player development J.J. Picollo said the two young, Dominican-born pitchers are actually very similar. Each throw fastballs in the mid-to-high 90s and are quickly rising through the Minor League ranks.
Ventura, a 22-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, is currently ranked as the Royals' No. 3 prospect. He was the starting pitcher for the World Team in the Futures Game in Kansas City last season, in which he tossed a perfect bottom of the first inning. He was promoted to Double-A Northwest Arkansas following the Futures Game and allowed fewer than four hits in five of his six starts.
"He's continued where he left off last year," Picollo said. "He's repeating his delivery very well, he's commanding his breaking ball better. He's developing his third pitch and making the strides he needs to make."
Ventura started this season with Northwest Arkansas, where he was 3-2 with a 2.34 ERA through 11 games and was selected to the Texas League All-Star Game before making his Triple-A debut with the Omaha Storm Chasers on June 6. In four starts, he is 2-1 with a 5.49 ERA.
"We're proud of what he's been doing and hope he can continue his success," Picollo said.
Almonte, the Royals' 19th-ranked prospect, is a right-handed pitcher for the Class A Lexington Legends. He is 3-5 with a 3.82 ERA in 13 games this season. The 20-year-old from the Dominican Republic had thrown just 27 innings in the United States prior to this season, and has a fastball that sits in the low 90s and peaks around 96 mph.
"Miguel, at a young age, has been able to command the strike zone," Picollo said. "He's got three pitches that he can use at any time and when a young pitcher gets ahead of batters like he's shown he can do, he's got a chance to pitch deep into games and be successful.
"He's really just maturing as a pitcher and understanding situations. There was a time in his career where he was just trying to strike everybody out and would get himself into jams trying to do too much, but now the pieces are starting to fall in place for the mental side of pitching and understanding what he needs to do, inning to inning and batter to batter."
The 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game takes place at 1 p.m. CT on All-Star Sunday at Citi Field in New York and can be seen live on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World Team dugouts during the game by tagging tweets with the hashtags #USDugout and #WorldDugout.
Also, for the first time, fans will determine the final player on the U.S. and World Team rosters by casting their votes in the All-Star Sunday Futures Finalists ballot. There are five candidates for each team, and voting ends on Sunday at 10:59 p.m. CT.
Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less