1) Danny Duffy Has Matured
Duffy used to be a hyper-competitive guy that let his emotions rule him on the mound. In 2013 and 2014, James Shields help show him how to channel that energy and desire into success, without changing who he was.
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However, Duffy struggled in 2015 without his mentor to guide him. Duffy had to move to the bullpen before he found success as a shut-down reliever in 2015.
But, in 2016, Danny Duffy is simply a different guy. He’s confident. Things that used to bother him on the mound, don’t get him off his game anymore. A case in point came in Thursday night’s game against Seattle with the KC Royals down 1-0 in the fifth inning.
Duffy had given up a lead-off double to Mariners center-fielder Dan Robertson. Shortstop Shawn O’Malley then attempted to bunt Robertson to third base and got down 0-2. When O’Malley pulled back his bat after squaring around to bunt with two strikes, the ball appeared to cross home plate for strike three—but home plate umpire Jim Reynolds didn’t give Duffy the call.
In the past, such a failure might have caused a Danny Duffy meltdown. Instead, on Thursday, Duffy didn’t even glare at the home plate umpire. He paused a bit, it’s true. But when things didn’t go his way, he just went back to the mound and continued with his job. Even when O’Malley succeeded in getting down the sacrifice on the next pitch, and Roberston scored on a sacrifice fly, it didn’t take Duffy out of his game.
That’s professionalism boys and girls.
Danny Duffy is now a mature professional ready to lead a staff. Though Danny Duffy finished his start down 2-0, he managed to keep the Kansas City Royals in the game with a fine 6.1 inning start in which he allowed only 2 runs and struck out 7. Can you imagine Yordano Ventura shrugging off something like that on a consistent basis? Neither can I. That’s why Duffy is a mature pitcher, and Ventura has a 5.26 ERA with arguably better stuff than Duffy.
Honestly, I don’t think there’s even room for debate. Danny Duffy is the KC Royals ace in 2016. He just needs some mid-rotation help for the Kansas City Royals staff to post much better results in the second half.