In game two of a three game series, and Bacon Tuesday at that, Danny Duffy gets the start for the visiting Royals. Let’s look at his Pitch f/x and put together a scouting report, shall we?
6’3″ 200 lbs.
23 years old
Pitches: Four-seam Fastball, Sinker, Curveball, Change, Slider
Record Against the A’s:
Quick Hit: Duffy got his first taste of the majors last year at 22 years old. He has the repertoire of a typical lefty, but has been working on a cutter to add to the list. Unlike his rotation counterpart Mendoza, Duffy very much is a power pitcher. He has a live arm and can pump the fastball up in the mid-to upper-90’s. While he does posses the stuff to miss bats, he also posses the ability to miss the strike zone too often. He is also a heavy fly ball pitcher. A lot of that is attributed to the fact that he leaves the ball up in the zone often.
Once you get him in the stretch, he can be long to the plate. His fastball will help him make the play at second close, on attempted steals, but his high leg lift and pronounced drive to the plate and long arm action also hurt him.
He is particularly hard on lefties, possibly why we do not see Seth Smith and/or Josh Reddick in the lineup tonight, as he struck out lefties almost twice as much as right-handed hitters. However, he has walked right-handed hitters twice and much and has allowed 11 homeruns to righties as well.
He will work lefties away, away, away. But he will consistently throw his sinker in on the lefties. As for the righties, he will work the middle of the plate, but try and keep the ball down. He will throw his fastball in all counts and will lean on it when he falls behind a batter to try and get back into the at-bat. When he gets ahead in the count and is trying to put the batter away he, again, throw his fastball, but will turn more to his off-speed options (mainly his curveball).
Pitch f/x (listed by frequency)
As you would expect from a power pitcher, Duffy leans on his fastball heavily. He has thrown it 62% of the time (55% last year). It averages 94 MPH, but he can get it up to 95-96 when he needs and/ or wants to and it has some arm side run.
His curveball is big and beautiful, but he can leave it up in the zone. It average 76 MPH, so you can imagine that his curveball thrown off of the fastball can be devastating. He will throw it on the first pitch of the at-bat, but usually reserves it for striking out lefties. He will not throw it once he gets behind in the count.
His changeup is a pretty decent pitch. Of all his pitches last year, it record the highest swing/whiff percentage at 25.22%. At an average speed of 84 MPH he, like Mendoza, sit in that golden 10 MPH difference range. A good arm action makes it hard to pickup when he throws it, something to his advantage. Again, he will throw this pitch in any count, but he prefers to throw this in counts when he is ahead on lefties. He likes to keep this pitch away from the hitters, so with his arm side fade he will start it off the plate to lefties and bring it back to the corner.
Both his sliders and sinkers are pretty much “show me” pitches, ones used to keep the batters from diving out over the plate. The sinker is much better than Mendoza’s and averages just under 93 MPH. He will throw this in on lefties to keep them from cheating. He uses his slider to much of the same on right-handed hitters. Averaging just under 81 MPH it is a nice compliment to the changeup. His slider was his second most whiffed at pitcher per swing at 55.56% last year, just behind the curveball.
Duffy is not a pitcher that you can be patient with and hope that he works himself into trouble. Yes he will walk his fair share of guys, but he will attack the batters. Much like Zito, you can get a sense of how good his stuff will be that night in the first couple of innings. His stuff is good and while not all of his pitches will grade as plus-plus, they are all close to being above average. If you get something you can handle early in the at-bat, go after it, because chances are you will not see much if you wait for the perfect pitch.
His motion does leave him vulnerable, though. The long pronounced delivery to the plate, very long arm action, and slight collapse on the back leg will cause him to leave balls up in the zone. If you are lucky enough to get a hanging off-speed pitch, do not miss it. As again, chances are he will not miss twice.