Royals ace dies in D.R.

By: Kyle Tooley ~Sports Editor~

Photo courtesy of | Ventura tips his cap to Royals fans after a start.

Shocking news came out of the Dominican Republic on Sunday night, as Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was found dead at the scene of a car crash.

The ace of the Royals’ rotation and key cog in their 2015 World Series championship was only 25 years old.

Ventura was the lone person in the single-car crash, and his car was found flipped on the side of the Juan Adrian highway.

In a separate car accident also in the Dominican Republic, former Cleveland Indians infielder Andy Marte, 33, was also killed on the same day. He played parts of seven seasons between the major and minor leagues.

The cause of Marte’s accident is a bit clearer than that of Ventura’s, as witnesses say Marte’s Mercedes was traveling at a dangerously high speed at the time of the crash.

The toxicology report from Ventura’s death won’t be released for approximately three weeks.

The accidents come just a few months after Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident and just two years after St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic.

Ventura and Taveras were childhood friends. In his first start following Tavares’ death, Ventura inscribed “RIP O.T. #18” on his cap.

Ventura, known for his passion for the game as well as his ability to light up the radar gun, signed as an international free agent with the Royals back in 2008. He had signed a five-year, $23 million extension in the summer of 2015.

Ventura owned a 38-31 record over four seasons, posting a 3.89 ERA as well as 470 strikeouts in just 94 games. His fastball consistently reached triple digits, making him one of the hardest throwing starting pitchers in baseball.

Ventura is survived by his wife and three children.