Not often will an 11.45 ERA inspire confidence. Neither will a .333 BAA or six walks in only 11 innings. It’s no question that these numbers aren’t indicative of an MLB starter, so there’s no debate about whether the Kansas City Royals should have sent Danny Duffy to the minors to start the year. There’s just a large hill of disappointment to climb, and an even larger conundrum that the Royals must tend to before the regular season begins.
KC waffled on their initial decision to use Duffy in the bullpen and for good reason. Numerous left-handed relievers have a better chance of success than what Duffy has been able to prove himself capable of since coming back from surgery. Although it seems like Francisley Bueno will now grab the final bullpen spot as a lefty, Donnie Joseph is yet another viable option.
Although his work hasn’t earned him a MLB roster spot yet, it’s not all doom and gloom for Duffy’s future.
Despite his struggles, nobody believes Duffy is far away from a role as a starter in the big leagues. His lack of success this spring might be frustrating, but it shows only that it will take longer for Duffy to reach his prime than fans would like. Let’s also remember that the sample size in which he’s struggled is still very small.
In fact, his 11 innings pitched in the 2014 Cactus League are dwarfed in comparison to even his still-small sample size of major league duty in 2013. Duffy appeared in five games last year and recorded a 1.85 ERA over 24.1 innings pitched. His outings spanned from August to September 7, so many of those outs came against big league hitters fighting to take their teams to the postseason.
Fans can reasonably expect Duffy to burn triple-A batters with his top-shelf stuff this year to force KC’s hand and put him on the MLB roster. It’s only frustrating because most fans didn’t know they’d have to keep waiting for Duffy to emerge.