Yordano Ventura throws fastest pitch in 5 years

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Faster isn't always better, but this was really, really fast.

Royals rookie Yordano Ventura has a potentially bright future ahead of him. He made his major-league debut on Tuesday night, and already made his mark with a single pitch, as ESPN's Buster Olney noted on Twitter on Tuesday morning:

The distinction between starting and relief is an important one -- Aroldis Chapman wouldn't throw 103 miles per hour as often he has were he forced to conserve his energy for long outings, but since he's a closer, he can just rear back and go. So, sure, it's not Chapman's 103, or even his insane 105 recorded at Petco Park a few years back, but a tick under 102 miles per hour from a starting pitcher is a rarity, as you already figured out given no one has hit that mark in five years.

Velocity isn't everything, though: if a pitch is straight, it doesn't matter how fast it's going, as Yan Gomes reminded us on the pitch in the question:

Ventura-102

Still, Ventura went 99, 99, 98, 102, and then opened up the next at-bat with a wicked 97 mph pitch with hard downward movement, so it's fair to be impressed by him even with the base knock. Still, more of this...

Ventura-97

...rather than straight 102 would probably do him well.

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