Is there really anything to get excited about from a pitcher with a 4.85 ERA and 1.7 K/B rate? Why yes, yes there is!
Danny Duffy was one of the best pitchers in minor league baseball before his call to the big leagues in May. Over 36 innings at triple-A, Duffy had posted a 10.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. However, that sort of dominance was nowhere to be found early on once he joined the big club. In his first 9.1 innings pitched, Duffy walked 9 batters. He also struck out 10 batters in those nine innings, showing that he could miss bats at the big league level. Duffy continued to struggle with his command, but has shown some big signs of turning things around of late.
In his last 21.2 innings, Duffy has struck out 23 and walked only four. His pure stuff is starting to shine as he becomes more comfortable at the big-league level. Comfort may be a bigger deal to Duffy than most. In the spring of 2010 he abruptly retired from baseball to “figure things out”. After he took the time he needed, he returned to the game later that season and eventually found his stride once again, posting a 4.6 K/BB rate at double-A and a 4.3 K/BB rate at triple-A.
To say Duffy’s 4.3 BB/9 is a surprise is a bit of an understatement. Never in his minor league career had he struggles with his control this much. Duffy had not posted a BB/9 over 2.5 at double or triple-A. That give us a reason to believe that Duffy’s command/control will continue to improve — as it has in his last 21.2 innings — and team up with an above average strikeout rate to make him a formidable fantasy force before long.