Prospect of the Day: Danny Duffy
Danny Duffy, LHP, Kansas City Royals
Following Vin Mazzaro's Monday implosion, the Royals have promoted lefty Dan Duffy from Triple-A Omaha to start against the Indians on Wednesday. Duffy is an highly-intriguing prospect, one of the best southpaw prospects in the game, and there's a good chance he can stick in the rotation.
Duffy was drafted in the third round in 2007 from high school in Lompoc, California. He pitched very well at the Low-A and High-A levels in '08 and '09, with sharp command of rapidly improving stuff. However, in the spring of 2010 he walked away from baseball, needing to reassess his priorities in life. He returned in the summer and picked up where he left off, finishing the year with seven strong starts in Double-A. He's made seven more strong starts for Triple-A Omaha this year, with a 3.00 ERA and a 43/10 K/BB in 36 innings. In 344 career minor league innings, Duffy has a 2.59 ERA with a stellar 402/110 K/BB.
Duffy doesn't do this with smoke-and-mirrors: his fastball is consistently in the low-90s and often reaches higher, up to 96-97 on his best days. He works with a curveball, changeup, and occasional slider, all solid pitches with the changeup drawing the best reviews. Although his control isn't always perfect, it is unusually good for a young power pitcher and he isn't just a thrower: he knows how to pitch.
Although Duffy has just 14 starts in the high minors to his credit, he's been very successful with a 84/19 K/BB in 76 innings and a 2.97 ERA combined between Double-A and Triple-A. As with any young pitcher, he may need some adjustment time to get used to the majors, but he has the stuff and command to be a number two starter if all goes well. I gave him a Grade B+ in the 2011 Baseball Prospect Book, ranked as the Number 12 pitching prospect in the game.