5) Danny Duffy’s Velocity Jumped 2 MPH
Duffy began the season in the bullpen after finishing the 2015 season strong when Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost pulled him from the rotation. As a reliever, Duffy began throwing as hard as he could knowing that he only had to last one or so innings. He began to attack hitters with his 97 mph fastball and get ahead in the count rather than trying to paint the corners.
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Duffy’s fastball gained almost exactly 2 mph in average velocity, jumping from 94.51 in 2015 to 96.42 in 2016. He’s up nearly 3 mph from his debut season in 2011 (93.83).
When both Kris Medlen and Chris Young went down with injuries in May, the team needed Duffy to return to the rotation. As Duff-man gradually rebuilt the endurance to last deep into games, he stuck with the hard throwing approach.
Viola! Lo and behold, Danny Duffy discovered that he could maintain the hard stuff through a starter’s workload. The situation was very much like Zack Greinke in 2008 who gained velocity as a starter after a stint in the bullpen.
Let’s just hope Danny Duffy can follow a similar career path. Zack Greinke ended up winning a Cy Young award the next season. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see Duffy make a similar leap as he becomes more proficient with his new approach to pitching.
Next: Reason No. 2