KC Royals: 5 Reasons Danny Duffy Can Win AL Cy Young
By John Viril
Danny Duffy Is Getting Stronger
Danny Duffy’s first full month in the KC Royals rotation was June. Though he was operating with a 75-80 pitch limit for the first three weeks of the month, for our purposes in this article we’ll count him as a rotation member.
Duffy adopted a new approach as a starting pitcher after going to the bullpen at the end of 2015 and early this season.
Basically, Duffy stopped nibbling. He throws his fourseam fastball about 2 mph faster than in 2014, but he can tolerate the increased velocity because he’s using more mid-80’s change-ups. He’s also junked his curveball and focused on his slider as his only breaking pitch. Furthermore, Duffy is throwing 10% more sinkers in 2016 .
Looking at his month to month splits, we see a clear progression:
ERA WHIP K/W ratio IP/start
June 3.25 1.056 5.00 6.0
July 3.18 1.088 5.17 6.8
August 1.14 0.676 9.33 7.8
Of course, his August numbers have come in only three starts so we expect to see a bit of regression. This month’s results are skewed by his 8.0 inning, one-hit start on August 1 that saw Duffy set a Kansas City Royals record for strikeouts in a game at 16.
Even with that caveat, Duffy’s month to month improvement has been impressive. Often when a player experiences a breakthrough, his performance degrades because opponents adjust. With Danny Duffy, he’s been getting better as he’s grown accustomed to working through games with his new pitch mix.
Pitching performance typically improves as starters build up their arms the first two months. They peak in mid-season, but often tail off as fatigue sets in at the end of the year. One advantage that Danny Duffy has down the stretch is that he’s only now rounding into mid-season form after beginning the year in the KC Royals bullpen.
Next: Reason No. 3