Danny Duffy Goes From Retirement To Baseball's Biggest Stage With The Kansas City Royals

After bringing up Eric Hosmer, the Royals make another bold move in calling up young pitcher Danny Duffy to join the major league club.

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Danny Duffy Goes From Retirement To Baseball's Biggest Stage

As Danny Duffy heads to the mound this evening, it's fascinating to think about the journey the young man has been on, before ever reaching Kansas City. The 22 year old actually retired from baseball during spring training in 2010, out of the game at age 21 and having never pitched above Class A Wilmington.

Fast forward to June 2nd of last year and Duffy was back, after spending time back home in California, he realized baseball was still in him. By June 28th he was back pitching in games before eventually reaching AA Northwest Arkansas by the end of the season. Now everything has seemed to come full circle as he is in the majors less than a year later. The story is similar to former Royals ace Zack Greinke, and ironically Duffy will be wearing number 23 as well.

From an article last month in the Omaha World-Herald-

"I knew I wanted to come back a while before I did," Duffy said. "Watching ‘Baseball Tonight' (on television), and seeing people I had faced kind of lit that fire. Baseball has always been what I was meant to do. I just had to go home for a while to realize that."

The same article also provides a primer on what to expect from the young left hander-

Duffy possesses a fastball that he'll typically run up at 90 to 92 mph and, when he needs it, will sometimes bring in at 95. He combines that with a solid changeup and breaking pitches, and a crossfire delivery that keeps hitters off balance.

Today SB Nation's own Rob Neyer wrote about Duffy and developing young pitchers in your own farm system. The criteria used is a pitcher you drafted, winning 50 games for your club. The article states it is very hard to do so, as the Boston Red Sox for example have had just one drafted pitcher win atleast 50 games for them in the past 25 years. 

For a small market club like Kansas City, it's much more important to hit on draft picks that will help the club as the funding for free agents and the ability to draw big names isn't the same as in the larger markets.

The Royals had had three pitchers qualify for the list, as Kevin Appier (1987 1st round) won 115 games for the Royals. Tom Gordon (1986 6th round) is second on the list for Kansas City, as he won 79 games with the team before moving on and playing an additional 13 seasons with seven other teams. Then there is the recently departed Greinke (2002 1st round) who won 60 games for Kansas City.

Here's to hoping that Duffy and the long list of starters that will follow him, such as Michael Montgomery and John Lamb, also challenge to join the list of the likes of Appier, Gordon, and Greinke.

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Kansas City Royals Promotion Of Danny Duffy As Much About PR As Talent

Mad Men’s Don Draper said it best: “If you don’t like what is being said, then change the conversation.” The Royals certainly couldn’t like the conversations being had after last night’s 19-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians which included a historically poor pitching performance from off-season acquisition Vince Mazzaro. Thus, they changed the water cooler banter with the ascension of prized pitching prospect Danny Duffy.

That’s not to take anything away from Duffy, who is a stellar prospect with a high MLB ceiling that fans can expect to remain in the Royals rotation for a very, very long time. He’s a “get your jersey now” type of talent. But that doesn’t change the fact that the conversation surrounding the Royals this morning is about the lack of pitching talent in the major leagues. While the Royals hitting sits at or near the top of the American League in several categories, it’s the starting pitching in particular that keeps the Royals out of playoff contention.

But it was not until last night’s 19-run drubbing at the hands of the Indians line-up that enough was literally enough. In the past, fans would say the Royals need pitching help. Now, they were a laughingstock. Whether or not that is valid based on a one-game performance, especially since the Royals are sitting at .500 with their best days ahead, it doesn't matter. Perception is everything. And the perception of last night is that the Royals’ pitching stinks.

So it shouldn’t be a shock that Dayton Moore conducted more pitching oriented transactions last night than a clerk at an Ace Cash Express. Kyle Davies was shelved. Everett Teaford was called up. Vin Mazzaro was demoted. Then came the grand finale — a news story on a level that could supercede the current conversation: the arrival of another one of KC’s super prospects.

Few stories provide the surge of fan adrenaline than than the ascension of a heralded rookie, and the Royals have already enjoyed such conversation just several days ago with Eric Hosmer. Duffy certainly earned his way to the majors at some point this season, but don’t think for a minute that this timing wasn’t specifically timed to stifle the laughter (or sorrow) from last night’s performance. This was Dayton Moore doing his best Donald Draper all the way.

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