KC Royals pitcher Danny Duffy hasn’t just become a solid starting pitcher in his age 27 season. He’s also a threat to win the 2016 Cy Young award as the best pitcher in the American League.
Even though Danny Duffy didn’t join the Kansas City Royals rotation until late May, and only stretched his arm out enough to throw 100 pitches in a game until June 22, he’s put himself into the Cy Young picture. After throwing his first career complete game in the KC Royals 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night, Danny Duffy has taken over as the American League leader in starter ERA at 2.82.
The rest of his numbers are similarly outstanding. Duffy is 9-1 in his 16 starts for the Kansas City Royals this season, with a 10.0 K/9 in 124.1 innings pitched. Duffy ranks eighth among AL pitchers with 3.7 bWAR (Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement) despite spending most of the first two months of 2016 pitching out of the KC Royals bullpen.
Though Duffy has put himself in the Cy Young award race, he’s not the front-runner. If I were handicapping the contest, I’d consider the favorites to be:
- Carlos Quintana, Chicago: 9-8, 2.85 ERA, 7.89 K/9, 4.5 bWAR
- Cole Hamels, Texas: 12-3, 2.89 ERA, 8.86 K/9, 4.4 bWAR
- J.A. Happ, Toronto: 16-3, 2.96 ERA, 7.80 K/9, 3.4 bWAR
- Corey Kluber, Cleveland: 12-8, 3.21 ERA, 8.94 K/9, 4.0 bWAR
- Michael Fulmer, Detroit: 9-3, 2.43 ERA, 7.62 K/9, 4.4 bWAR
The above list, of course, reflects my own preferences. For example, for purposes of the Cy Young award, I favor Baseball-Reference WAR based on actual results over Fangraphs.com’s WAR, which is based on adjusted Fielding Independent Pitching (an estimated stat). My reasoning is that the Cy Young should go to the pitcher that actually dominated, not the guy that SHOULD have dominated.
Of course, you can always argue that xFIP is a better indicator of true talent level, and also normalizes for park factors and opponent quality. In that case, names like Chris Sale (14-5, 3.16 ERA), Aaron Sanchez (11-2, 2.85 ERA), and Masahiro Tanaka (8-4, 3.32 ERA) join the list.
Here are my five reasons why Danny Duffy could end up surpassing all of the above players and walk away with the award this winter:
Next: Reason No. 5