Venters with the Atlanta Braves
March 20, 1985 |
|April 17, 2010 for the Atlanta Braves|
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||2.23|
Career highlights and awards
Venters was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 30th round of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft. He began his professional career with the Rookie League GCL Braves in 2004. During the 2004 season in the Rookie League, Venters started 8 games making 11 appearances total going 1-6 with a 5.74 ERA and 3 saves. In 2005, Venters was promoted to the Class-A Rome Braves. In 23 games (12 starts) with the Class-A team, Venters had a 8-6 record and a 3.93 ERA. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in late 2005, Venters missed the entire 2006 season. In 2007, Venters was promoted to the Class-A Advanced Myrtle Beach Pelicans. He appeared in 17 games (12 starts) going 3-3 with a 3.39 ERA and 1 save in the Class-A Advanced system. Venters was demoted all the way down to the Rookie League level to begin the 2008 season where he posted a 4.70 ERA in 4 starts. He was promoted to Class-A Advanced, where he went 1-2 with a 4.08 ERA in 5 games (3 starts). He was then promoted to the Double-A Mississippi Braves, where he finished the season by going 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 3 games (2 starts). All together in the 2008 campaign, Venters posted a 3.41 ERA, 1 save, and a 2-2 record in 12 total games combined with the 3 affiliate levels. Venters started the 2009 season in Double-A posting a 4-4 record in 12 starts with a 2.76 ERA. He was promoted to the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves, where he finished 4-7 with a 5.62 ERA in 17 starts. Combined with both Minor League levels in 2009, Venters went 8-11 in 29 total starts with a 4.42 combined ERA.
The Braves added Venters to their 40-man roster with an invitation to spring training. After spring training, Venters started the 2010 season in Triple-A. After 2 games (1 start), Venters went 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA until being called up to the Majors on April 17, 2010.
On July 17, 2010, in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Venters was deemed to have intentionally thrown at Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder. He was ejected from the game along with Braves manager Bobby Cox and later suspended 4 games, a decision which Venters later appealed. Venters' suspension was subsequently overturned. He finished the season with a 1.95 ERA, in an NL 6th-best 79 games pitched.
Venters became a key part of Braves bullpen during the 2011 season serving primarily as the set up man for Craig Kimbrel. Along with Kimbrel and Eric O'Flaherty the three pitchers have become known as O'Ventbrel for their dominance over the last three innings of a ballgame. As on August 21, 2011 the trio had three of the six lowest ERAs in the NL with Venters having a major league leading 1.11 ERA and was third in strike outs with 79.
Venters was placed on the disabled list on July 5, 2012 due to a sore left elbow. He returned to relief on July 22, 2012 where he pitched two scoreless innings versus the Washington Nationals. Venters finished the 2012 season with a 5-4 record and a 3.32 ERA.
Venters opened the 2013 season on the disabled list with left elbow discomfort. Trying to avoid surgery, he was injected with platelet-rich plasma, and was expected to return until at least late May but it was unsuccessful. On May 16, 2013, Venters underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time of his career and was eliminated for the 2013 season. Venters was placed on the 60-day disabled list on July 4, 2013 to free up a spot on the Braves' 40-man roster as Joey Terdoslavich was promoted from AAA Gwinnett to replace Jordan Schafer on the active roster.
After the season, Venters signed a one-year deal with the Braves for the 2014 season, avoiding arbitration. Venters began the 2014 season on the 60-day disabled list while recovering from surgery, enduring many setbacks in the process. On August 28, 2014, Venters learned he had torn his ulnar collateral ligament again and would need a third Tommy John surgery to continue his baseball career. The third procedure was performed in September 2014, and will prevent Venters from pitching in 2015.
On November 19, 2014, the Braves designated Venters for assignment. He was released two days later.
Venters primarily utilizes his sinker, which he throws with exceptional velocity (93–96 mph). He used that sinker to achieve a near-70% ground ball rate in 2010, leading all qualified MLB pitchers. His superb knuckle curveball is thrown at 85–88 mph. In 2011, it resulted in an extraordinary whiff rate of 71% (the highest for any pitch by any relief pitcher) and was put in play less than 6% of the time. He also has a four-seam fastball in the mid 90s, and a changeup in the upper 80s that he began throwing somewhat frequently in 2012 against right-handed hitters.
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- Sanchez falls short in NL Rookie of Year bid | MLB.com: News
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- Braves’ hitting turnaround is more than just Uggla | Atlanta Braves
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- Bowman, Mark (November 19, 2014). "Top prospect Peraza among Braves' roster additions". MLB.com. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
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- Seiner, Jake (April 24, 2013). "Q&A: Braves' Wood 'curving' up Southern League". MiLB.com. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
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