Danny Duffy had a breakout season in transitioning to the rotation from the bullpen after two months, showing excellent skills in 26 starts. There was some slowdown in September as his velocity tailed off and home runs became a big issue (nine in 36 innings). Duffy enjoyed career-bests in strikeout rate, walk rate, and swinging-strike rate, though some of his control gains with the fastball seemed to come at the expense of his command with the pitch yielding career-worsts in home run rate and hard-contact rate. An excellent slider and changeup hid the declining velocity until September (though his 94.5 mph average in Sept. is nothing to sneeze at). He has a great foundation with premier velocity and two swing-and-miss secondaries. If his finish was more fatigue from a career-high 179.7 innings pitched than the league figuring him out, then there's a lot more success to come. The homer issue preaches some caution, but there's still upside to bid on.
Duffy agreed to a five-year, $65 million extension with the Royals on Monday, Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan reports. On a per start basis, Duffy was one of the best pitchers in the American League last season. His 20 percent K-BB% ranked eighth among qualified starters last season, ahead of pitchers like Corey Kluber, Chris Archer and David Price. He has not proven he can log 200-plus innings in a season, but if he does that in 2017, he will turn out to be a draft day bargain. This deal allows the Royals to lock in Duffy on what could turn out to be a very team-friendly contract, while also giving Duffy financial stability.
Duffy pitched 6.1 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out three in a no-decision Thursday against the Twins. Duffy, who became the team's ace since moving from the bullpen in May, made his last start Thursday and was strong for six innings, giving up one run. But he got tagged for four hits and three runs in the seventh before leaving with one out. Duffy finished the season 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA. The 27-year-old southpaw set career highs in innings pitched, strikeouts and wins.
Duffy earned his 12th win of the season Sunday versus the White Sox, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks across seven strong innings. He struck out eight. Duffy did well to scatter baserunners for the most part, only giving up a two-run homer through his first seven innings, and he actually went out to start the eighth inning but was pulled after both men he faced reached base. Duffy has been a revelation for the Royals this season and has now posted a 24:4 K:BB ratio across 20.1 innings over his last three starts. He will next take the hill Friday versus the Tigers.
Duffy pitched 7.1 innings, allowing three runs, three hits and two walks while striking out six in Tuesday's no-decision versus Oakland. Duffy was cruising through seven innings, allowing just one run on two hits before things went awry. He surrendered his second homer of the night to begin the eighth frame, and issued a walk before turning a 3-2 lead over to the bullpen. Two pitchers later, Joakim Soria blew what would have been Duffy's 13th win of the year. Instead, the southpaw remains winless in his last four starts, with his last victory coming back on Aug. 21 against the Twins. Tuesday, Duffy continued to struggle keeping the ball in the park, allowing his seventh home run in his last four starts. The left-hander will look to get back in the win column when he takes the bump in his next start Sunday against the White Sox.
Duffy struck out 10 without a walk while allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits Wednesday against the Twins. He left leading, but the bullpen promptly blew it and sent the Royals to the loss column. Duffy's been a revelation for fantasy owners this year, but had allowed 11 runs over his prior two starts, so it's nice to see him get right back on track. As impressive as he's been at generating strikeouts, Wednesday was just his third time in double digits this year. He'll next start Tuesday against the A's.