Before Kyle Zimmer and Yordano Ventura, there was Danny Duffy. He was one of the Royals top pitching prospects, a hard throwing left hander who was expected to be a top starter on the Royals for years to come. Unfortunately, Duffy, like the other top pitching prospects at the time, had been unable to reach that potential. In this case, Tommy John surgery and control issues delayed that ascension.
Since his recall to the majors this season, Duffy has been the pitcher that the Royals had expected. Although Duffy has a 1-3 record, he has pitched far better than wins and losses would indicate. Overall, Duffy has produced a 1.96 ERA and a 1.036 WHiP. While his walks are higher than one would like, Duffy has managed to hold the opposition to a .148/.293/.197 batting line. With the Royals needing top quality pitching, Duffy has certainly done his part.
Even though Danny Duffy has made only two starts since Bruce Chen was placed on the disabled list, it seems highly unlikely that he will lose that spot in the rotation. Duffy has become the pitcher that the Royals envisioned, challenging hitters and keeping his emotions under control on the mound. Barring a complete meltdown in his next few starts, Duffy appears to be in the rotation to stay.
Last season, when Chen joined the starting rotation, he provided the Royals with a much needed boost. By solidifying the back of the rotation, Chen helped the Royals get back into the playoff hunt before time simply ran out. With the Royals needing their pitching staff to dominate in order to compensate for the lack of offense, Duffy has been doing his part.
With the ascension of Ventura as the Royals version of a young Pedro Martinez and the belief that Zimmer can be a top of the rotation starter in his own right, the Royals could end up with a young Big Three to front the 2015 rotation. As with most pitchers who come back from Tommy John surgery, Danny Duffy seems to be a better pitcher now than he had been previously. Hopefully, this transformation can continue and the Royals will have not just a pitcher who can give them a boost this season, but can be another top of the rotation starter for years to come.