Those of you who have followed The Simpsons during it’s 60-or-so year run (seemingly) are probably familiar with Duffman, the ridiculous Duff Beer mascot who has hip thrusted his way into our hearts over the years. Between his partying ways and his depth of character, you could think of him as the absentee father of Johnny Manziel or the Kardashians. Hmmm… he doesn’t seem quite so likable anymore. Why did he have to inflict such pain and torture on the rest of the world?

Speaking of torture, it must’ve been an especially tough offseason for San Francisco Giants third baseman Matt Duffy. After allowing longtime starter Pablo Sandoval to walk in free agency, the Giants decided to trade for an aging player coming off of a 4 homer season who was out of MLB the previous season (Casey McGehee) to man the hot corner rather than giving Duffy a shot to win the job out of spring training. It would be like Grey deciding to take a leave of absence and bringing Matthew Berry in to replace him. Predictably, the McGehee experiment didn’t work out so well, and Duffy finally took over the starting 3B job after McGehee was designed for assignment on May 24th. Let’s take a look at Duffy’s MLB stats thus far (2014 stats included):

Year G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA
2014 34 64 0 5 8 0 1.60% 21.90% 0.267 0.302 0.3 0.273
2015 113 451 10 58 59 7 4.70% 16.60% 0.306 0.345 0.456 0.347

While Duffy is known for being an above average defensive player, it’s understandable why the Giants might’ve been uncomfortable giving Duffy a starting role at the beginning of the season. In his first taste of the big leagues last season, Duffy did his best Skip Schumaker impression, displaying no power or speed while only walking once in 64 plate appearances.

However, it’s been a different story in 2015. His above average ability to make contact has translated into a .306 batting average this season (19th in MLB among qualified players), and he’s provided a solid-enough combination of power and speed to provide $14.3 worth of value according to the Razzball player rater, which currently places him 9th among 3B and 8th among 2B (where he’s eligible in most formats) in terms of fantasy value.

In fact, Duffy’s overall offensive skill set is reminiscent of another well-known and universally owned fantasy asset. You know what’s coming next. That’s right – comp time! Today’s player comp is none other than Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer. Let’s take a look at a few tables rapid-fire style comparing some key offensive statistics between the two players, including some batted ball and plate discipline data:

Name PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Matt Duffy 451 10 58 59 7 4.70% 16.60% 0.15 0.306 0.345 0.456 0.347 127
Eric Hosmer 520 14 77 76 5 8.70% 16.20% 0.162 0.311 0.372 0.472 0.363 132
Name BABIP LD% GB% FB% Pull% Cent% Oppo% Soft% Med% Hard%
Matt Duffy 0.352 21.60% 52.30% 26.10% 32.30% 35.10% 32.60% 14.00% 56.90% 29.10%
Eric Hosmer 0.353 24.70% 51.70% 23.60% 35.50% 35.20% 29.30% 18.80% 48.30% 32.90%
Name O-Swing% Z-Swing% Swing% O-Contact% Z-Contact% Contact% Zone% SwStr%
Matt Duffy 32.20% 64.30% 47.10% 68.50% 91.30% 82.90% 46.30% 7.90%
Eric Hosmer 33.50% 64.40% 46.10% 69.10% 88.90% 80.40% 40.80% 8.80%

 

Well, all righty then. That’s a lot of data to digest. For those of you who have stayed with me this long, here are a few observations on these players:

• The high BABIPs (.352 and .353 respectively) might scream regression for Duffy and Hosmer, but that might not necessarily be the case. Above average line drive rates naturally lead to a higher percentage of base hits, and take a look at the direction of the batted balls from these players, particularly Duffy. Hitting between 32.3%-35.1% of his batted balls to each third of the field means that opposing teams are unable to effectively employ defensive shifts against him, his quality of contact further suggests that his high BABIP is not just a result of good luck.

• The power upsides of both players are limited by their high ground ball rates, and Hosmer appears to have a slight edge in the power category based on the numbers. However, Hosmer’s average fly ball distance of 286.28 feet is 97th out of 272 qualified players while Duffy’s 295.74 ft mark ranks 42nd in MLB, ahead of sluggers such as Nolan Arenado, Albert Pujols, and Todd Frazier.

Another factor to consider when evaluating Duffy is his remarkable consistency. Here are his monthly splits for the 2015 season:

 

Screen shot 2015-08-27 at 10.51.25 AM

With the exception of his stint as a part-time player at the beginning of the season, Duffy has produced a batting average of .313 or higher in each month as a full-time player, with consistent power, speed, and plate discipline numbers throughout the season. His counting stats have balanced out nicely as well, as his 58 runs and 59 RBI seem to obviously indicate.

Duffy certainly isn’t the flashiest player around. He’ll never hit 40 homers in a single season or rack up huge steal totals either (though he does have some upside there). He’s a boring, often overlooked player in the mold of Eric Hosmer and Kole Calhoun – a high floor player who contributes across-the-board without truly excelling in any one particular area. When sexier options like Yasiel Puig and Jorge Soler underperform and put your team in a hole, players like Duffy are the glue that patch the holes and hold it all together. Believe in the Duffman – oh yeah!

Final Verdict:

 

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  1. CMUTimmah says:
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    Haha – In reading your note after the stats I just pictured Morgan Freeman from Shawshank:
    “If you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further.”

    Duffy is one of those guys that is the fantasy equivalent of a Craig Counsel/David Eckstein in a real life environment. He’s not a monster in any category, but he does fill that “consistency” category that is so vital in head to head leagues. I teased the Giants fan in my league when he picked him up along with Panik… but I’m eating crow now. These guys have value depending on format. Duffy proves to have value regardless of format…. and he’s multi-position eligible in Yahoo. Definitely a nice piece.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @CMUTimmah: Haha, good call. I just used Shawshank as a theme recently. Didn’t want to beat a dead horse. But I love the reference. Great movie.

      Yeah, I agree. Duffy is one of those players who is more valuable in real life than in fantasy due to his defense and versatility, but I’m a sucker for the high floor guys who contribute everywhere, even if they aren’t studs. Someone like him who’s multi-position eligible like you mentioned carries extra value in leagues with small benches (like the RCL format). Love those players.

  2. Scott says:
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    The Duffman and the Kool-Aid Man, separated at birth?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Scott: Oh yeah!

  3. ROTO OVERLORD says:
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    Duffman! Cant Breathe! O Ya!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha!

      • ROTO OVERLORD says:
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        @Grey: If only my fantasy team decisions were as easy as when Burns benches Strawberry for Homer

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          You speak the truth, RO

  4. Dave says:
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    H2H points league where RBI/R/HR/SB are highly valued..
    Who for the rest of the season?

    Kolton Wong or Anthony Rendon?
    Matt Duffy or Jose Reyes?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Dave: I’d give slight edges to Reyes over Duffy and Rendon over Wong. Reyes for the Coors factor and Rendon because he appears to finally be healthy and Wong has been ice cold recently. Very close though, especially Reyes and Duffy.

  5. J-FOH says:
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    That’s right – comp time!

    I was hoping this was a reference to workers comp and that Duffy got hurt

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @J-FOH: I love comp time at the casinos. Great buffets, especially when they’re free.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: they only comp high rollers….you’re too cheap to be a high rikler….unless you kill it at the sports book which in that case I say, hello Mr magoo. Let me take your jacket for you

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @J-FOH: I can’t argue with that. I don’t even know what a high rikler is.

  6. Zeus says:
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    Picked up Duffy as my MI in all my leagues early June. Been steadily climbing in each league. Steady performance. Let’s hope he doesn’t get overvalued next year in drafts. Sneaky good

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Zeus: Yup. He’s the kind of player who ends up on a lot of championship teams. Extremely underrated.

  7. Ameen Khdair says:
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    Youve named both of my cubans in this. Woe is me!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Ameen Khdair: You’re not alone, brother. I own both of those players too, so I know how frustrating they’ve been all year. Two of the first names that came to mind when I thought of the most disappointing players this season.

  8. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    in an NL only where i’m still been the best team all year the one ugly thing that stands out that looks bad on my part is that over about a 5 day window when mcgehee came off DL he started over duffy, and during this time i dropped duffy, as he looked like just another MI backup type at the time who was hot, and still being benched. I’ve lost franco from this team and still have the best hitting team, and have baez stashed in 2nd BN spot in case he comes up too. Also had to drop Myers in this league.

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