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August 15, 2014

Painting the Black

Danny Duffy's Bestie

by R.J. Anderson


On July 21st, the Royals dropped to eight games below the Tigers, following a fourth consecutive loss. The negativity that so often envelopes Kansas City baseball returned. Fans checked prospect lists rather than the standings in preparation for the trade deadline, and some even rationalized that a fruitful haul would be preferable to a spot in the Wild Card game. That and other beliefs about this year's team have since been challenged, as the Royals have claimed first place after winning 17 of their past 21 games.

One of the catalysts for the turnaround is Danny Duffy, a 25-year-old southpaw who, in five starts after the All-Star break, has allowed eight runs. Neither his component measures nor his scouting reports suggest he's this good—if he qualified he would rank 12th among starters in ERA—but his efforts remains noteworthy for other reasons. Chief among them is the fact that he began the season in the minors. When Duffy was recalled, about two weeks into the campaign, he pitched from the bullpen. His first start came on May 3rd, and he's since tallied a 2.60 ERA, three more strikeouts than hits allowed, and roughly twice as many strikeouts as walks.

No story about Duffy's breakout is complete without mentioning James Shields. Shields, whose reputation as a leader-slash-teacher precedes him, has made an impression on Duffy. "He pulled me aside to look at some video the other day," Duffy said in March, "matter of fact, that actually really helped in the game. Just little things like that—anything that he sees, he wants everyone to be at their best. Good dude, he embraces the role as leader on this team."

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Related Content:  Kansas City Royals

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article What Scouts Are Saying... (08/15)
<< Previous Column
Painting the Black: Se... (08/08)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Painting the Black: A ... (08/22)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Arizon... (08/15)

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