Sep 2, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (41) delivers a pitch in the fourth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Duffy May Have Found His Role

Aug 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (41) sits in dugout during the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals have been waiting for Danny Duffy to become the high octane, dominating force that they envisioned back when he became of the Royals top pitching prospects. Thus far, in his two outings, Duffy appears as though he has finally tapped into that potential.

While the Royals plans involved having Duffy start for the Omaha Storm Chasers until a spot opened in the rotation, he was called up as a relief pitcher out of necessity. Without another viable left handed option to bring to Kansas City, Duffy became the only lefty in the bullpen. Not only could Duffy be serving as a long reliever, but he could also find himself appearing late in the game, facing off against a tough left handed hitter.

With the way Danny Duffy has pitched since being recalled, he could end up in that important role sooner than later. While he has only appeared in two games for a total of 4.1 innings, Duffy has allowed three hits and a walk. Most impressively, Duffy has struck out seven of the sixteen batters he has faced, attacking the zone with a fastball that reached as high as 99 MPH last night.

In fact, last night’s performance showed a different Duffy than the Royals may have been accustomed to. Not only did Duffy have command of seemingly everything he threw, but he also had command of himself on the mound. Instead of letting a base hit or a walk get to him, Duffy was able to bear down, continuing to focus on making his pitches and get out of the inning. He even showed an impressive pickoff move, catching Jose Altuve for the second out of the tenth inning.

Yes, it is only two appearances, and it is hard to put a lot of stock into such a small sample size. Yet, Danny Duffy, since his return to the majors, seems to be a much different pitcher this time around. Instead of expecting that something bad is going to happen if he is not perfect, Duffy appears as though he expects success. He seems to have a confidence that he has not had previously. That new-found confidence may have made all the difference in the world for Duffy.

Danny Duffy may have been called up because the Royals did not have any other options. However, if he keeps performing at this level, it is going to be hard to send him back to Omaha.

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  • jimfetterolf

    If Chen’s glute keeps acting up, you may see DD in the rotation next week.

    • Dave Hill

      It’s possible, but they did bring up a possible starter in Marks. Going to be interesting to see how they handle that.

  • cardsfanatik

    I’m not sure, but I’m getting tired or ALL of the pitchers the Royal’s develop, not being anything but relievers. Dominant relievers, yes, but they can’t develop a stater to save their life it doesn’t appear. And it can’t ALL be players.

    • Dave Hill

      Ventura looks like the first successful starter they have developed. They also stopped rushing their pitchers by then.

    • moretrouble

      I think KC has developed plenty of young starters — they just don’t trust them. Odorizzi, Will Smith, Everett Teaford are just a few names of kids I think could have done well as starters given the opportunity. But, with KC’s offense so weak, the front office went with veteran guys like Shields and Santana. They’ve got a pretty good bunch of kids right now and I think they recognize they have to use them due to budget limitations.

      But, generally speaking, how many teams develop true top of the rotation starters? Those guys are pretty unusual — they come around to a team about once every generation or so. That’s why those guys command big bucks in the FA market — there are damn few of ‘em.

      • jimfetterolf

        Odorizzi came through the Brewers and his stock dropped with the Royals, Will Smith was out of the Angels organization.

  • Tyler_KC_Fan

    After struggling when called up in 2004, Zach Greinke was moved to the pen to be a middle relief pitcher in 2007. During his time in the pen, Greinke was able to figure out what worked and didn’t work. Duffy seems to be following the same pattern. Duffy has been working on mastering at least 2 pitches (his fastball and change up) and switching from a curveball to a slider to bring in a third pitch. Duffy looked amazing and one thing he said after his last outing was he was calm, cool and relaxed. If he can master that type of mentality he will be the top of the rotation pitcher we have been hoping for. I still believe Duffy is a swing man for Chen. If Chen struggles with his glut injury, Duffy should take his spot. No one else.

    Leaving Duffy in the pen is a terrible idea. Giving up on Duffy as a SP is a terrible idea. Brian Bannester made a comment similar to the one that I just said. I know Duffy isn’t Greinke…right now. But who said he couldn’t be once he figures it out? Imagine having Ventura, Vargas, Duffy, Guthrie and maybe Zimmer next year. If Duffy keeps improving like he has been, I think we could have a top starting rotation.

    • jimfetterolf

      Read that Duffy snapped off a few nice curves the other day, on top of FB and CH. All that and 98-99mph and he’s going to be fun if he gets his emotions under control.

      • Tyler_KC_Fan

        After today, I find it very hard to believe that Chen stays in the starting rotation much longer. If Chen comes out for his next start and struggles or gives up 4 or 5 runs again and Duffy comes in and goes through 2 innings like he did again, I think Duffy gets his opportunity to start again. Chen does a great job of never losing the game for the team, but I think Duffy is getting more and more confident and his ability to control his emotions is huge right now.

        Shields, Vargas, Ventura, Guthrie and Duffy. That could be a filthy starting combination. The bullpen is getting back what we were expecting, the defense is spectacular and the offense is starting to figure it out as well. This team looks pretty good right now!

        • jimfetterolf

          Strong south wind is Bruce’s biggest enemy. Might be an idea to DL Bruce for a couple of weeks and give Danny his chance.