To slay evokes feelings of power and always denotes conquest. There is no better description of victory than, “he/she slayed their opponent.” Well, filleted also works, but that just gets me craving for sashimi. Anyways, one of the cute things about the tv show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, outside of Buffy being cute, was the dichotomy of the feminine and masculine morphing into one. Or maybe it’s just sex sells. Whatever. What hasn’t been cute, though, are the many ways Danny Duffy has been…..a slayer of WHIP and FIP. Grey hates him. Should you?
For full disclosure, I’ve been a fan of Duffy for some time. Need proof? No? Well, here it is anyways. A half pence earned is a…..uh, a long way from getting rich.
So, I obviously have a bias when it comes to Duffy, but I will try and let the numbers do the talking. Try being the operative word, as we all use numbers to tell “our” story.
The season-long numbers make me want to whisper…..meh. 8.16 K/9 is fine, but well off the mid-9 rates he was spinning just a few years ago. The 4.20 BB/9 makes me want to electric scooter down to the nearest dispensary. The 1.5 HR/9 makes me want to scooter into oncoming traffic after partaking in the goods from the local dispensary. The ERA of 4.59 and xFIP of 4.96 make me hope that the battery in my electric scooter blows up and engulfs me into a ball of flames before that 18-wheel truck does what 18-wheel trucks do.
Now, the last two games, Duffy pitched 13 innings without allowing an earned run. He also struck out 8 and 9 batters respectively. Duffy the Batter Slayer is back!!! Unfortunately, he gave up 6 earned runs against CLE three games ago. Two games before the three games I just talked about, Duffy struck out 7 in each and only allowed 1 earned run. The game before those two games before the initial three games, Duffy allowed 6 earned runs to HOU. If standardized testing has taught me one thing, it is that Duffy will allow 6 earned runs in his next outing. Anyways, the game before the HOU game, Duffy pitched 7 scoreless innings and struck out 10 against OAK.
Why am I babbling about his recent game log? Below is a chart for teams against left-handed pitching for the season. Psssst….Duffy is left-handed.
|CHW||25.5% (2nd)||.390 (21st)|
|MIN||23.8% (7th)||.378 (23rd)|
|CLE||18.9% (30th)||.426 (6th)|
|MIL||21% (24th)||.378 (24th)|
|HOU||20.3% (27th)||.450 (4th)|
|OAK||23.8% (6th)||.401 (16th)|
|LAA||20.4% (26th)||.375 (25th)|
CHW, MIN, and OAK are all top 10 in striking out against LHP. They are also also in bottom 10 for slugging. Surprised that Duffy dominated them all? On the flip side, CLE, HOU, and LAA are all in the bottom 10 for striking out against LHP, while CLE and HOU are top 10 in slugging. The Angels are near the bottom in slugging, but they do have some powerful righties in that lineup. MIL doesn’t strike out often against lefties and they have some power righties, but they have a lot of lefties in that lineup. It also must be mentioned that after getting blown up by HOU, Duffy pitched against them the next outing and shut them down.
Duffy is dominating the teams he should be dominating. He’s also struggled against teams that he should struggle against. EZ PZ.
There’s also the whole velocity thing. Early in the season, the fastball was clocking in at 91 mph. It didn’t get into the 94 mph range until his 9th start. Duffy has made 20 starts this season. The first 10? 29 earned runs and 45 strikeouts. The past 10? 19 earned runs and 58 strikeouts. The fastball velocity has been in the 94-96 mph range.
Is Duffy an ace? No. But what makes him great is that he throws hard, misses bats, and, most importantly, is predictable. He will more than likely dominate the matchups that he’s supposed to. In bad matchups, you’re not tempted to start him, which provides tremendous value in and of itself. Here’s the final caveat. He does have the upside to be must-start material.