Kansas City Royals: Danny Duffman Duffy

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 02: Danny Duffy
KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 02: Danny Duffy /

The 2016 starting rotation for the Kansas City Royals has a new “ace” and his last name is not Ventura. The “Duffman” has been straight gnar since being promoted back to the rotation this year.

To start the 2016 season no one knew what Danny Duffy actually was. Not even the Kansas City Royals front office. Was he a rotation piece? Bullpen arm? Was he able to handle the emotional ups and downs through the game? Was the mental side of the game too much for Duffy to handle?

Everyone has seen the dominance that Duffy possessed but they’ve has also seen the collapse when things are not going well. His ability to go deep into games and command his pitches always plagued him.

From 2011-2015, Duffy had never averaged more than five innings a game in his career. His career strikeout to walk ratio from 2011-2015 was 329 to 184 ( a 1.8 K/BB ratio). Not that great for a starting pitcher.

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Since being moved to the bullpen to figure out how to command his pitches and attack the strike zone, the team and fans have officially seen what Danny Duffy can be. The first month and a half Duffy threw a 3.00 ERA and he had 21 strikeout to five walks (4.2 K/BB ratio) coming from the bullpen.

On May 15th, Ned Yost decided it was time to start easing Duffy into the starting rotation. Since making his first start of the 2016 season against the Atlanta Braves, Duffy has posted a 2.99 ERA over 15 games, going 7-1.

During that stretch, Duffy’s averaged about six innings per outing and has struck out 105 batters while walking a mere 18 batters. That’s a 5.80 K/BB ratio. To put that in perspective for you, in 2015 only Madison Bumgarner (6.00), Chris Sale (6.50), Clayton Kershaw (7.20), and Max Scherzer (8.10) had better K/BB ratios.

To put it simply, the 2016 Danny Duffy is straight gnar.

Duffy’s figured out how to use all three of this pitches effectively. He throws fastballs in the mid to upper 90s at 62.6% of the time. He throws a change-up in the mid to upper 80s, 21.3% of the time while also commanding a devastating slider. The sliders speed tops out in the low to mid 80s with a lot of movement. It’s thrown 16% of the time.

He becomes almost impossible to hit if all three of his pitches are working. Duffy has stopped using his curveball this year to help with command. It seems to be working.

On August 1st, against the Tampa Bay Rays, Danny Duffy solidified his status as the “ace” of the Royals rotation. Duffy threw 8.0 innings of arguably the best baseball in Kansas City Royals history. Duffy struck out 16 hitters, breaking the franchise record once held by Zack Greinke (15 strikeouts) and allowed one hit while walking only one and shutting out the Rays. Simply mind-blowing to watch.

In this game, Danny Duffy tied Clayton Kershaw for the most swings and misses in a single game (35) in the last 15 years. Duffy also had the highest miss percentage in a single game (58.3%), beating out players like Stephen Strasburg (54.5%) and Chris Sale (53.7%).

Danny Duffy has been such a hot pitcher, he is starting to get mentioned as a player that needs to get a contract extension so that he does not hit free agency in 2018 and potentially gets offered a contract the Kansas City Royals can not match.

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However, I’m not to worried about Duffy ever putting on another uniform simply because Duffy has said multiple times that he wants to be “buried a Royal” and that he never wants to go anywhere else. Whatever the team needs him to do, he will do. This leads me to believe that as long as the Royals want him, and do not insult him with a ridiculous contract, Danny Duffy will be “Forever Royal”.

The Kansas City Royals need to seriously consider a contract extension for Duffy, though. Due to the fact that he is a lefty and having more and more success through the years only means his contract is going to increase the longer the Royals wait.

If the Royals extend him now, they might be able to ink him for a contract that is similar to Yordano Ventura‘s, with similar incentives to boost how much he makes per year. If the Royals were smart, they would try to extend Duffy to a long-term deal sooner rather than waiting till 2018.

Next: Kansas City Royals: Ten Best Closers of All-Time

What would you offer Danny Duffy? Is he worth extending right now, or should they wait to see how the rest of the year goes and how next year goes? Is Duffy officially the “ace” of the rotation? Give your answers in the comments section below.