Yordano Ventura, the Kansas City Royals' top pitching prospect, made his major league debut on Tuesday and did so in impressive fashion. The 22-year-old pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up five hits, one run and striking out three.
The baseball world was looking more at the radar gun, though, than Ventura's pitching line. What we saw is that Ventura can throw baseballs really, really, really fast. He topped out at 102 mph.
To put a silly exclamation point on Ventura's achievement, he did it while wearing another man's glove. As you see in the video above, Ventura was wearing teammate Jeremy Guthrie's glove. We're not entirely sure why, nor was the Royals TV announce team, but it didn't seem to hurt Ventura's velocity.
Just how fast is 102? Well, it's a pitch for the record books, according to ESPN. The book of recent history, at least.
.@Royals Yordano Ventura hit 101.9 mph in his MLB debut Tuesday, the fastest pitch thrown by any starter in last 5 seasons.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 18, 2013
There's some dispute about the exact speed. ESPN says 101.9 while PitchFX at Brooks Baseball says 102.49. Either way, that's really, really fast. It's like two Barry Zito fastballs.
While we routinely see a guy such as Reds closer Aroldis Chapman light up the radar gun — he's hit 105 mph before and often reaches 101— seeing a starting pitcher gas up to 102 is more rare. Closers can come in and throw flames for an inning. Starters have to pace themselves.
Justin Verlander can (used to?) crank it up that high. He peaked at 103 mph in a 2011 playoff game and is the starting pitcher who has brought the most heat in the PitchFX era, as Mike Axisa notes in a good piece at Eye on Baseball.
We can't wait to see how hard Yordano Ventura throws in his next start, and down the line in what looks like a promising career. We just hope when he hits 102 mph again, he'll have a glove with his own name on it.