Infielder Matt Duffy
An eight-year veteran, infielder Matt Duffy has had a surprisingly hot start to the 2023 season. His defense and a contact-first bat will interest some utilityman-needy contender.
Duffy signed with the Royals as a minor-league free agent on January 2023 and was a non-roster invitee to spring training. The California State alum was coming off a down 2022 season with the Los Angeles Angels. His .619 OPS and 77 games were well below his career norms. After appearing with his third team is as many years, not many teams were likely clamoring for his services. But, Duffy forced his way into Kansas City with a strong spring training performance.
Duffy posted a .293 batting average and six walks to only eight strikeouts in 15 games for the Royals. Whether it was a single plate appearance or he started the game, Duffy was ready to go for the Royals. That is what the team needed. The Royals lacked an option that could play all over the infield, and Duffy was just that. Even though he only appeared in 77 games last season, he logged at least 15 games at first, second, and third base. Duffy has been an above-average defender over the course of his career, and that glove has translated all over the infield.
Duffy has appeared in multiple defensive positions for the Royals in six games, but that is not the best part. Duffy has been red-hot at the plate, with a .412 batting average, 1.00 OPS, and 182 wRC+. It has been a small sample size for sure, but the Royals have been abysmal at the plate so far in 2023. Duffy's performance has been the outlier, unfortunately. His stats will likely regress to more normal numbers, but he has shown what he can do with the opportunities he is given. For teams that need a reliable bat in spot starts or as a pinch option, Duffy will certainly have value down the stretch.