KC Royals: Can Danny Duffy Stay Healthy For An Entire Season?
Duffy Excels In 2016 After Move To Pen
The KC Royals began 2016 spring training with three starting rotation slots filled, and a competition for the final two rotation slots. Danny Duffy did not earn a spot in the rotation in spring training though he performed extremely well now out of the bullpen. Out of the 2016 KC Royals bullpen, Duffy brought his walks down to 2.50 BB/9, his FIP (fielding independent pitching) was at a minuscule 2.34 (lower than Wade Davis who sits at a FIP of 2.63) over 16 innings.
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However, partially due to ineptitude, partially due to injuries, Danny Duffy has been inserted into the 2016 KC Royals rotation as a regular starter. The sample size is small on Duffy as he has only started 7 games with low pitch limits initially, making his first few outings short. But, so far things are looking pretty good.
Duffy has the lowest ERA among the 2016 KC Royals starters at 3.25, and it appears for now he isn’t pitching around anyone with a walk rate BB/9 of 1.75 which is also lowest on the team among starters. He has given up a few (8) home runs making his HR/9 a bit high at 2.0. But due to his low walk rate and low .218 opponents batting average, they haven’t hurt much as they have mostly been solo home runs. A HR/9 isn’t good, but keep in mind Chris Young has a HR/9 of 3.61.
The 2016 KC Royals need desperately need a consistent and healthy Danny Duffy this year as the rotation has already been bitten by the injury bug when both Chris Young and Kris Medlen went on the DL. Injuries, plus suspensions, plus inconsistent efforts from some of the starting staff have put the KC Royals in deep holes during games giving them no chance to win.
The KC Royals also rank 26th in number of innings pitched by starters so far this year. The implication of that is the Royals have been riding the bullpen often and there have already been several games where the bullpen aces like Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis were unavailable having worked multiple games in a row. That forces the Royals to carry at least one extra pitcher making players like Terrance Gore and potentially Brett Eibner (once Alex Gordon returns) luxuries they cant afford.
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Lets hope that the injuries that have plagued Duffy in the past were just coincidental bad luck, and that he is ready for a full load the rest of the season. The KC Royals need him now more than ever.