“What?” – you may ask – “Kyle Davies (and his 7.77 ERA) gets to stick around and Duffy has to go back to Triple A? What about the six-man rotation?”
Fear not, as it’s merely a way to get Duffy work on a regular schedule over the All-Star break.
Duffy hasn’t shut down the league, but he’s been decent, especially for a 22-year-old and a pitcher in the Royals rotation. Over 52 innings, he’s compiled a 4.85 ERA. Over that span, he’s punched out 43 batters and walked 25.
He’s progressed over his last four starts, striking out 23 but walking just 4 in 21.2 innings. He’s managed his pitch counts a little better, too. In his first six starts, he threw 97 pitches per start over 30.1 innings – an average of 19.7 an inning. Since, he’s thrown 93.75 pitches per start, or 17.30 pitches per inning.
Or, perhaps, a better expression of his slight improvement in pitch efficiency, he threw 4.217 pitches per batter faced in his first six starts, but only 3.99 pitches per batter faced in his last four. That, combined with his 23/4 K/BB ratio gives me hope that he’s settling in at the big league level and could be the impact southpaw the scouting reports and minor league stats suggest.
He’s been unlucky recently, as batters are hitting .377 when they put the ball in play – but that could be a problem of small sample size, and, of course, when figuring BABIP, the increased strikeout rate (9.55 K/9 over the last four starts) limits the number of at bats that go into the calculation.
The Royals confirmed that Duffy will be the last one to go in the rotation after the All-Star break, so instead of going 12 days between starts, he’ll get a turn in Omaha to stay on schedule.
He’s performed better than Davies (and his notorious stuff) and Luke Hochevar (two time first round pick). Barring some meltdown, he’s probably going to finish out the year with the Royals.