The Twins had a 22 year-old pitching prospect, Yorman Landa, who was on my mind recently. They’d just outrighted him off the 40-man roster about a week ago, and (as planned by both sides) re-signed to a minor league contract shortly after. It was one of those minor transactions I was aware of, but didn’t have the time or place to report it here, so never did. I didn’t think, in the big picture, it would be a big deal.
Yorman Landa was killed last night in car accident in his native Venezuela.
Yorman was not driving. His dad was. It was a dark and stormy night, and their car hit a fallen tree. Yorman did not seem to die instantly, but he ended up being the only fatality among the four or five people in the vehicle. “The ambulance took quite a while to get there,” Yorman’s agent told the press. “He was literally the nicest kid. He was my little brother.”
As mentioned, Yorman was a pitching prospect for the Twins, and pitched for the Ft. Myers Miracle last season. He was a 2016 Florida State League All-Star, throwing an 102 mph fastball in the game itself. The Twins were also reportedly relieved he was not claimed in the recent Rule 5 draft, since they just took him off the 40-man roster.
The Twins originally signed Landa as a 16 year-old out of Santa Teresa, Venezuela. He tore his labrum in 2014, slowing down his development, but had been making a nice comeback. He was a devoted player.
“He always had a smile on his face. You’d ask him how he was feeling, and even if he didn’t feel right or feel great, he’d always tell you, ‘I’m ready. Ready to go.’,” said his former minor league manager, Jake Mauer. “He had kind of a funny personality. He didn’t speak the best English, but he was improving. He seemed to always be the guy that would have a comment at the right time to make everybody smile and relieve the tension.”
Yorman had already been given an invitation to the Twins’ major league spring training camp for next season.
Understandably, Yorman’s colleagues have been grieving.
❤️ RIP Panda— TVS (@toddvs35) December 10, 2016
Going to miss turning my head to check your fastball velo on the scoreboard https://t.co/A7zE3VhCY2
A bright, funny, loving man. I will miss you dearly, Yorman Landa. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones #RIP— Trevor Hildenberger (@t_hildy) December 10, 2016
My heart goes out to all of Yorman Landa's family, friends,& past teammates. A great person on & off the field. Te extrañaremos mi hermano— Jared Wilson (@JaredDWilson) December 10, 2016
“Don’t take anything for granted, because tomorrow is not promised to any of us.” - Kirby Puckett