Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (41) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals Player Profile: Danny Duffy



The Kansas City Royals are coming off their best season since 1989, and are looking to improve on their 86 wins in 2013. Going forward, we are going to take a closer look at the players that should play significant roles for the Royals in 2014, as they try to make their first post season appearance since winning the World Series in 1985.

If you want to read the other completed profiles, just click here. This link will be updated as we add more profiles over the upcoming weeks.

Up next: pitcher Danny Duffy.

Is anyone else worried that the Kansas City Royals are on a path to screw up Danny Duffy and/or Yordano Ventura? The fact the Royals don’t want both of them in the rotation is worry enough, but if it is for the right reasons, it is understandable.

Neither Duffy or Ventura have a history of pitching deep into games – not in the minors, and not in the majors. Manager Ned Yost could be worried about putting stress on the bullpen if they have two pitchers in the rotation who can’t get out of the 5th inning every start. Heck, I have worried about this myself.

That the Royals are considering pitching either out of the bullpen is a mistake. These two pitchers have to at least fail as starters before exiling them to the bullpen. If one doesn’t make the Opening Day rotation, he must be sent to Omaha, and that seems to be the plan at this point.

Kansas City Royals pitcher Danny Duffy (23) Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

But which one. We are going to have to wait and see.

Duffy has more experience, and has already had his Tommy John surgery. While his overall Major League numbers are not impressive – 4.75 ERA, and 1.570 WHIP – his last 11 starts, covering his starts in 2012 before the arm issues, and late last season in September of 2013, are much more impressive.

In those last 11 starts, he has a 2.94 ERA and a WHIP of 1.481. The biggest issue with Duffy is his lack of control. In those 11 starts, he has pitched 52 innings (not good), with 50 strikeouts (good), and 32 walks (not good).

His Strikeouts Per 9 Innings is 8.7, in those games games, which is a very solid number for a starter, but his Base on Balls Per 9 of 5.5 is not. He also has only allowed 2 home runs in those 11 games, which is excellent.

If Duffy could bring his walks down, and his innings up, he could be a very solid number three pitcher, or even a passable number two starter for the Royals.  That is the hope.

There have been flashes of his great talent but with the arm injury in the middle of that time period, those 11 starts span nearly 18 months.

More data is needed but if Duffy is healthy, and he can increase his stamina and control, the Royals will be hard pressed to send Duffy to either the bullpen or AAA. It would be terrific if both of Kansas City’s young, talented arms could push the issue, and both earn their way into the rotation. That could only be great for the Royals.

It is worrisome the Royals didn’t feel secure in having both in the rotation, and felt the need to re-sign Bruce Chen for a rotation spot.

Duffy has the most experience, and unless he is a train wreck in Spring Training, he should be in the starting rotation, regardless of what the Royals decide to do with Ventura.

It is actually kind of nice to see the Kansas City Royals in a conundrum with their rotation because they have several realistic candidates.

Here’s hoping they don’t blow it with Danny Duffy.

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  • jessanders

    I agree with pretty much all of this. It’s a shame the way the Santana thing worked out, I’d rather have Santana for 1 than Vargas for 4. Have Shields, Santana, Guthrie, Duffy, Ventura as your opening day rotation, then have Zimmer ready to come up if/when one of them struggles/gets injured, with Davis as a backup starter, or maybe sign Chen anyways, but as the swingman.

    Oh well, no sense even considering it. Barring injury, 40% of our rotation next year will be Guthrie and Vargas. Hopefully we have these 3 ready for next season, and Manea to be a middle of the year/September call-up. Personally, I’d like to see Guthrie dumped, and have Manea be in there. 3 lefties in the rotation is a bit much, but w/e.

    • Tyler_KC_Fan

      One year of Santana vs. 4 years of Vargas. I pick the 4 years of Vargas. At the rate everything is going, if we signed Santana to a year deal and the way it looks with Shields walking next year, we are replacing Shields and Santana next year. We only have Zimmer as a prospect that could be up next year, what if Zimmer isn’t ready? Then we either spend a lot of money on a FA pitcher or we rely on Davis and Chen to fill in. We won’t have a true #1 or #2 pitcher and we are struggling again. Signing Vargas gives security for 4 years and only looking for 1 pitcher next year.

      Zimmer is the only pitcher that looks to be called up in September and that’s only if we make the playoffs. Manea won’t be called up or anything for quite a few more years. Guthrie is better and more reliable than our prospects. We dump Guthrie, we dump 200+ IP, 10-15 wins, soild 7 innings a game and a pitcher that wont lose a game for the team.

      • Joel Wagler

        And Zimmer hasn’t even thrown off a mound yet. Don’t know if this is the Royals being over cautious, or if there is something seriously wrong there.

  • jimfetterolf

    Duffy’s ceiling is well above a #3. He will be held below 180 innings this year, just as Ventura will, who also has Super Two considerations. That gives the edge to Duffy if both perform at a similar level in ST.

  • Tyler_KC_Fan

    The reason we won’t have Duffy and Ventura in the starting rotation this year is because Vetura has arbitation issues. We lose years on Ventura if he starts the year with the team. We didn’t sign Chen because we were worried about starting pitching, we signed Chen because he is consistant and he understands his role, which this year is a swingman for Ventura. Nothing wrong with what they are doing and when Duffy can continue working real game situations and not just 2/3 innings he will improve. He has extreme upside, along with Ventura.

    Shields, Vargas, Guthrie, Chen and Duffy – start of the year rotation
    Shields, Vargas, Guthrie, Duffy and Ventura – mid first half/ASB