Danny Duffy Debuts for the Kansas City Royals

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIMay 19, 2011

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  Danny Duffy of the Kansas City Royals poses during photo media day at the Royals spring training complex on February 26, 2010 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The influx of young talent continues to make its way up the ladder for the Kansas City Royals. We saw Eric Hosmer get the big-league call a couple of weeks ago, and now they have called up another young stud in Danny Duffy.

Duffy made his debut against the Texas Rangers last night, and I would say it was a mixed bag for the 22-year-old. Here’s the good and the bad from Duffy’s debut.

The Good

Duffy walked away from the game last season because of personal reasons, and I am sure the Royals are glad Duffy changed his mind because the kid has electric stuff. His fastball was consistently in the 94 to 95 mph range all night, and he featured a plus curve and change at times.

Duffy’s fastball is clearly his best pitch. He spotted his fastball on the corners beautifully at times, and the Rangers never looked comfortable against him. This is in stark contrast to Julio Teheran‘s start against the Philadelphia Phillies, in which I thought the Phillie batters looked extremely comfortable against him.

His best inning was in the second, when he struck out the side and made Mitch Moreland, David Murphy and Craig Gentry look foolish in doing so. His strikeout against Murphy was particularly impressive, as he flashed a 12-to-6 curve that had Murphy fishing for the pitch.

Duffy also flashed the ability to field his position and showed an above-average pickoff move to first base when he felt the need to pay attention to runners (I’ll get to that in a second). He was all over an Ian Kinsler bunt in the third, and he clearly is not a minus on the mound when it comes to fielding his position.

The Bad

In Keith Law’s analysis of Duffy below, he mentions that Duffy can lose focus at times, and that was on clear display on Wednesday night.

Duffy walked six batters, and he allowed four stolen bases in four innings. He barely paid any attention to the runners on base. I’ll put it to you this way: Mike Napoli stole second with ease.

Duffy also showed a lack of concentration when he got ahead of hitters 0-2. Ranger batters were 4-for-5 with a walk after they fell behind 0-2 in the count. I know the Rangers crush left-handed pitching, but that can’t happen.

The lefty has a ton of talent and showed great stuff at times, but the key word there is at times. If Duffy is going to be a successful major-league pitcher, he is going to have to learn how to focus on every pitch of every inning.

Here are some other things you should know about Danny Duffy...

Age: 22

Throws: Left

College: None. Went to Cabrillo High School in Lompac, CA

Drafted: Third round of the 2007 June draft

Minor League Stats

5 Seasons 2.5973712344.01.1057.10.52.910.53.65
Rk (2 seasons)Rk1.571513046.01.0435.90.03.514.34.06
A+ (2 seasons)A+2.9427271140.21.1667.
A (1 season)A2.201717081.20.9926.20.42.811.24.08
AA (1 season)AA2.9577139.21.1858.
AAA (1 season)AAA3.0077036.01.1117.51.02.510.84.30
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/19/2011.

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis:

Ranking: No. 98 out of 100 best prospects in baseball for 2011

Analysis: “Duffy had an unusual 2010 season, tweaking his elbow in February, retiring, unretiring, then showing inconsistent stuff all summer and into the Arizona Fall League. When everything is right with Duffy, he’ll pitch at 91-94 as a starter with an action changeup around 80 mph that he trusts as his go-to offspeed pitch. His curveball is slow with almost vertical break, but the tightness comes and goes and he’s still working on finding his feel for the pitch.

I’ve never loved Duffy’s long arm action and wasn’t shocked when he came up sore, but at this point the bigger concern is his mental approach to the game—between retiring unexpectedly in February and an almost distracted look in Arizona, he doesn’t seem fully committed to baseball right now. The Royals reported that he was better in that regard after he returned from his hiatus, and there’s mid-rotation potential here if Duffy works out his off-field issues.”


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