Tha Sports Junkies 101

Gone Too Soon: Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura

Gone To Soon: Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura Robert Vigliotti via Flickr.com

MLB

Taken too soon, a look at the careers of Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura

Former major league third baseman Andy Marte died on Sunday after being involved in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Marte played seven years in the majors with the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Marte began his MLB career when he was signed as an international free agent by the Braves in 2000. From there, he rocketed up the prospect rankings until he reached number nine in 2004. In 2005, at the age of 21, Marte debuted in the majors with the Braves. He played in 24 games and recorded 66 at-bats during the 2005 season. The heralded prospect hit just .140 with no home runs and four RBI’s.

After an unproductive first stint in the majors, the Braves traded Marte to the Boston Red Sox. With Cleveland, Marte would appear in 50 games during the 2006 season. He hit .226 with five home runs and 23 RBI’s.

With another disappointing taste of the big leagues under his belt, Marte played in just 20 games with the Indians in 2007. In fact, during his entire big league career, Marte never appeared in more than 81 games in a season. After the 2010 season which saw Marte hit just .229 with five home runs and 19 RBI’s, the once highly regarded prospect was sent to the minors. He bounced around the minors with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Angels organizations for the next few years before re-appearing in the majors with the Diamondbacks in 2014. He hit .188 with one home run and three RBI’s in just six games. Those six games marked the end of Marte’s big league career as he spent the next two seasons in Korea. Over the last two seasons (2015 and 2016), Marte hit .312 with 42 home runs and 163 RBI’s.

Even though Andy Marte’s career never lived up to the hype that surrounded his play as a prospect, his tragic death shows us all just how fragile life can be.

Marte was 33 years old and will be missed all around baseball.

Sadly, Andy Marte’s death was not the only loss of life on Sunday. Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car accident in the Dominican Republic on the 22nd. The young starter was only 25 years of age and was a part of the Royals World Series winning club in 2015.


Yordano was signed as a free agent by the Royals in 2008, and later made his MLB debut in 2013. Ventura made just three starts in 2013 and recorded a 3.52 ERA in 15.1 innings pitched. Yordano’s first full season in the majors came the following year in 2014. He made 30 starts, and won 14 games to go along with his 3.20 ERA in 183 innings pitched. That effort helped the 23-year-old finish sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting that year.

Ventura’s regular season could not compare to the postseason, and particularly one start in the 2014 World Series against the San Francisco Giants. The Royals were down three games to two to the Giants and facing elimination in Game 6. Yordano Ventura took the ball for Game 6 with the pressure of an entire fan base on his shoulders. To add to the pressure, Yordano’s friend and follow Dominican native Oscar Taveras had passed away just days prior to Game 6. Taveras was a prospect with the St. Louis Cardinals, and was killed in a car wreck in the Dominican Republic.

With the letters “R.I.P. O.T #18” written in white on his cap, Ventura took the mound. From the moment he stepped on the mound until he threw his last pitch, Ventura was great. He tossed seven innings of three-hit shut-out baseball on the way to a 10-0 rout of the Giants.

His pitching performance was masterful that night and defined the career of a young man who was living the dream of being a major league baseball player.

Yordano struggled following the 2014 season. In 2015, his ERA inflated to 4.08 and his WAR dropped from 3.2 in 2014, to 1.9 in 2015. The following year, 2016, Ventura saw his ERA climb to 4.45 and his loss total increase from eight in 2015, to 12 in 2016.

We will never know what 2017 would have held for Yordano Ventura as he was tragically taken from us before his time. One can only imagine that with his big heart and great skill, that he would have done great things during the rest of his baseball career.


Both Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura were taken from this earth and their families to soon. Ventura was about to enter the third year of a five-year contract with the Royals while Marte was working toward a possible comeback to the major leagues. At a time when the tragedies of the world are raging around us, baseball is a release from the world. When those tragedies seep into baseball, they leave a hole that takes a long time to heal.

RIP Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura.

**Statistics from Baseball-Reference.com