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.