Royals Duffy To Start Sunday – What Should We Expect?
Danny Duffy was throwing serious heat in the Royals bullpen. Expect that to change.
Many Royals fans wanted Danny Duffy in the rotation from the beginning. While I understood their thinking, I was not in that group.
In that linked article, I had this to say about Danny Duffy’s velocity
"In 2015, Duffy’s 94 MPH fastball ranked as the 23 highest among pitchers with at least 130 IP. Of the 22 above him, only David Price and Chris Sale were left-handers, and both of them also sat at 94 MPH. I’ll compare Duffy’s fastball to Price’s, for the sake of similarity. Price’s fastball is, for the most part, straight, but explicitly fast for a left-hander. Duffy’s could be categorized as the same, with a max velocity of 98 MPH. However, Price got swings and misses on 28% of his fastballs, while Duffy only registered just over 15% as a starter in 2015."
On the premise of Duffy’s velocity going up in the bullpen, I made this assumption about his 2016 season.
"I don’t doubt that Duffy will get a look at the rotation, but the Royals lack of an effective left-handed reliever paired with Duffy’s burst of strong history out of the bullpen, his value may be higher when he’s in relief. However, that value will depend strongly on his ability to strike out hitters."
I never doubted that Duffy would get a shot at the Royals rotation because for one, it was still February and I was mostly talking about a shot in Spring Training, but also because the vulnerability of the Royals rotation was obvious.
Yordano Ventura was overly inconsistent. Edinson Volquez had over-achieved in back-to-back seasons. Ian Kennedy had gotten shelled the year before in a pitcher’s park.
Then you had Chris Young, who was a 36-year old walking the fly ball pitcher tight rope, and Kris Medlen, who was coming into the season having pitched in just 15 games since 2013 and started in just eight of those.
Danny Duffy, meanwhile, had arguably the best season of any of those starting pitchers over the last two seasons, posting a 2.53 ERA over 149+ innings for the Royals in 2014.
The chances of Duffy not getting a few starts this season was as unlikely as Luke Hochevar getting a start.
Next: Why I Wanted Duffy In The Bullpen