KC Royals: Danny Duffy has been elite this year

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals have had an up and down season so far with an eleven-game losing streak after an April start that was one of the best in the history of the club.

One player that has been elite for the KC Royals this year has been Danny Duffy. While Duffy got sent to the IL for a flexor strain, he has become an anchor for a rotation filled with inconsistency. The rotation is young, outside of Duffy and Mike Minor, so the inconsistencies make some sense.

This season for Duffy, though, has been elite compared to previous seasons and he has shown a lot of progress in some of the more advanced stats and has even developed his pitches. Along with this, he has fixed a lot of what made him inconsistent in previous years.

To start with the more known and easier statistics Duffy currently has a 1.94 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, with a K:BB ratio of 48:12. All of these stats are so much better than his previous years as Duffy has always had problems with walks and giving up hard contact.

So far this year Duffy has about the same percentage of hard hits as he has in previous years with 39 percent, which is slightly above average. Duffy has also given up fewer barrels this year with a barrel% of 6.4 with only seven barrels allowed in total.

About the only thing Duffy is giving up is a lot of line drives with a percentage of 34.5, which is higher than in previous years. With this, let’s look at the more fun statistics that truly show that Duffy has turned the corner.

To start, Duffy has a 2.32 FIP, a 1.6 WAR, an 0.43 HR/9, and an 81.4 LOB%. To say the least, this is elite and contrasts from Duffy’s previous seasons as he has had problems with home runs, FIP, and WAR.  He is even top ten in HR/9 and top ten in WAR.

Duffy’s stats are elite among the KC Royals and compared to other pitchers

To start with the stats in the previous paragraph, Duffy has a FIP that compares to pitchers like Brandon Woodruff, Jacob DeGrom, Gerrit Cole, and Corbin Burnes, all of whom are top Five in FIP for starting pitchers. That is a really elite class to be a part of as those four will probably either win the Cy Young Award or be runner-ups for it.

Next up are the WAR standings where Duffy currently ranks seventh in the whole league. Duffy is tied with Matthew Boyd, Trevor Bauer, and Marlins’ breakout Trever Rogers in WAR. While not all of these players are ones you would think to win the Cy Young, outside of Bauer, it shows that Duffy is in with the elite of the league.

Duffy is also seventh in HR/9, which is above DeGrom and Burnes. For HR/FB Duffy is also a top ten pitcher at sixth on the list behind John Gant, Boyd, and Spencer Turnbull. This means that Duffy has not given up many home runs and that flyballs do not lead to home runs.

These show that he has developed into one of the best pitchers in the league so far this season and is one of the many surprises this year. While it is only the beginning of the year and anything can happen, Duffy has a good starting point for when he comes back from his IL stint due to the development of his pitches.

The further development of Duffy’s pitches has helped him and the KC Royals

Duffy has developed his pitches further this year and it shows in his spin rates. For most of his pitches, he has been around 2100-2200 RPMs in his career, which is both average for some pitches and well below average for others.

This year, though, Duffy has shown he can also spin it with the best of them. His fastball spin rate has not differed so far this year, but all of his offspeed pitches have seen a general increase in spin. For one, his slider went from 2391 RPMs last year to 2481 RPMs which is great because sliders are more effective with a higher spin rate.

The biggest increase for Duffy though is in his changeup. Last year his spin rate was 2161 RPMs. This year though his changeup has a spin rate of 2302 RPMs, which adds more deception to the pitch. Even his curve has seen a nice increase, even if he throws it only ten percent of the time.

With an increase in spin rate across the board, Duffy may continue to have a career year and may even be a dark horse candidate for the Cy Young. He may struggle when he returns from injury, but I believe that he will return to form.

Next. Josh Staumont owns club's closer role. dark

This season, Danny Duffy has been the ace the KC Royals have needed for a while and hopefully, when he comes back from injury he can continue his dominance while the youngsters can develop and help the KC Royals make a push towards contention.