Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Alex Meyer

Other Baseball Today, 01:33 AM
Meyer logged another poor start for the Angels last night. He had a poor one in AAA prior, but the Angels apparently needed an arm to fil...
Full topic ›

Article: Miguel Sano Could Really Make This Work

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:33 AM
Through their first 41 games, Miguel Sano has been nothing short of a monster for the Minnesota Twins. He's been every bit the offensive...
Full topic ›

It's over. Post your offseason plan

Minnesota Timberwolves Talk Today, 01:33 AM
From what I can tell, here's what we have to look forward to:   Either the sixth or seventh pick in the draft.   Lots of cap sp...
Full topic ›

Eduardo Del Rosario - 2017

Adopt A Prospect 2017 Yesterday, 11:46 PM
Eduardo Del Rosario, 21, was a late-2012 international signing by the Twins out of the Dominican Republic.   Del Rosario started the...
Full topic ›

Trevor May: Writer

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:46 PM
Check out this cool article at MLB trade rumors https://www.mlbtrade...-you-think.html
Full topic ›

Duffey Presents Pleasant Dilemma For Twins

If someone who didn't watch Monday's game happened to glance at the box score, scanning only numbers without the corresponding names, he might have assumed this pitching line belonged to Cleveland's bullpen ace Andrew Miller: 2.2 scoreless innings of relief, one hit allowed, no walks, four strikeouts.

But no, that was Tyler Duffey. No one will confuse him with Miller anytime soon, but the right-hander is making his case as Minnesota's own bullpen ace.

Or is he making his case to reclaim a starting job?
Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski, USA Today
For some time, many fans have wondered just what Duffey might be capable of in the bullpen. I count myself among them. There were a number of factors suggesting he could be a strong fit in the late innings – namely his collegiate experience there and his two-pitch mix. The 26-year-old's struggles as a starter last year further supported the need for a switch.

Nevertheless, the Twins maintained an outward stance heading into spring that he'd be competing for a rotation spot. It appeared he was very much in that race up until the end of March, at which point the team announced Adalberto Mejia was going to be the fifth starter while Duffey would come north in a swingman-type capacity.

As it turns out, he's been the most reliable man in the bullpen through two-plus weeks. Duffey's stellar outing on Monday extended a season-opening scoreless streak to 8.2 innings, and during that span he's allowed only five hits (all singles) and one walk while striking out seven.

If this continues, the Twins will face a decision: consider giving him another shot at starting, or stick with what's working and allow Duffey to thrive in relief?

In a sense, it feels silly to even consider messing with the good thing he has going. Duffey's signature breaking ball has been straight-up nasty and has left batters shaking their heads. But of course, that's not really anything new.

The theoretical benefit behind using him in short relief stints was that it might play up his fastball, which was coming in like a beachball last summer and routinely got crushed. That might be occurring to some extent, but it's not like Duffey is suddenly whipping 96 MPH heaters in there. In fact, from early readings, his fastball is only up by about one MPH compared to his 2016 average. And it's not like he's consistently being leveraged in the kinds of quick-hit stints that would be conducive to max effort. He has thrown multiple innings in three of his four appearances, and racked up 32 pitches in his latest.

Maybe Duffey looks so good because he's more comfortable or adept in the bullpen. It could well be the case that his arsenal is gaining efficacy when he enters as a change-of-pace, replacing a starter or another reliever. Maybe that two-pitch combo simply works better when he's not trying to get through a lineup three times.

Or, there could be other elements at play. Maybe his decision to move to the other side of the rubber against righties is paying dividends. Maybe he has made other adjustments to improve his fastball command. Or maybe he's just plain healthier and feeling better.

If his success is being driven by things of that nature, then Duffey could certainly keep it going in the rotation. While his ugly 2016 is fresh in our minds, it bears remembering that he was excellent as a starter for the Twins in 2015 and throughout the minors.

As things stand, he is in limbo to a degree. He has pitched only three times in the past 13 days. Unless and until there is a definitive commitment to him as a top setup option, his usage as a reliever figures to remain sporadic.

The manager, for his part, doesn't seem inclined to make this switch permanent. "For now," Paul Molitor said Tuesday in reference to Duffey's present assignment in the bullpen.

Personally, I'm not sure moving him back to the rotation is the right choice, particularly since Minnesota has five healthy and functional starters for the time being, plus a guy in Jose Berrios at Triple-A who is proving his readiness to step in.

But one way or another the Twins should decide on a defined role and leave it be.

What would you like to see happen with Duffey?

  • Broker likes this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

68 Comments

Photo
yarnivek1972
Apr 20 2017 03:26 PM

I guess you could say it became unpleasant rapidly.

 

I guess you could say it became unpleasant rapidly.

 

We'll never learn to stop overreacting to small sample sizes.

    • WLFINN likes this
Photo
diehardtwinsfan
Apr 21 2017 06:29 AM

 

I would normally agree but I believe the many people that his pitches don't project well as a starter. If this is true (certainly debatable) then just leave him in the bullpen. I do like the idea of having higher leverage multiple inning pitchers available though instead of this one (inning) and done concept. No reason that Duffey couldn't be a 7th/8th (and even 9th) inning guy but it would challenge bullpen usage as we know it.

 

The problem I see is that the two pitch thing gets a bit overblown.He throws two different curve balls if I remember right... now I get it, but mixing pitches and locating that FB is a big deal. A change up that can keep hitters off balance would be nice, but let's not forget just how good he was in 2015. 

 

If the two pitch thing is a real problem that cannot be overcome, he would have failed miserably in 2015.He didn't. 

 

I'm not saying that the pen isn't his final destination, but I think you give him some rope to see what he can do.That's just me.

    • howieramone2 likes this

 

The problem I see is that the two pitch thing gets a bit overblown.He throws two different curve balls if I remember right... now I get it, but mixing pitches and locating that FB is a big deal. A change up that can keep hitters off balance would be nice, but let's not forget just how good he was in 2015. 

 

If the two pitch thing is a real problem that cannot be overcome, he would have failed miserably in 2015.He didn't. 

 

I'm not saying that the pen isn't his final destination, but I think you give him some rope to see what he can do.That's just me.

 

In 2015 he was pitching after the roster expansion, no? So against a mix of AAA and major league players?

One would expect a 2-pitch guy to be decent ~2 times through the batting order.  If I recall correctly, this was the case last year. With a small repertoire, one has to put more strength into each pitch. One isn't going to last as long through the game.

I think the smartest move is when you find a reliever who can swoop in with his superman cape and shut down the opposition, you keep him in the pen.  Esp. on a team with such a shaky bullpen.

    • Dr. Evil and Original Whizzinator like this
Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Apr 21 2017 08:20 AM

 

In 2015 he was pitching after the roster expansion, no? So against a mix of AAA and major league players?

One would expect a 2-pitch guy to be decent ~2 times through the batting order.  If I recall correctly, this was the case last year. With a small repertoire, one has to put more strength into each pitch. One isn't going to last as long through the game.

Duffey had four starts pre-expansion in 2015. His performance was somewhere between holding his own and a little bit bad.

 

But that doesn't really matter to me (pre- or post-expansion). What matters to me is putting too much weight in a pitcher entering MLB and having a dozen or so good starts. Hitters haven't seen that pitcher. Film hasn't been collected on the guy. No notebooks are collated with his pitching tendencies. He's the baseball version of the technology industry's "security through obscurity" rule.

 

Maybe that guy is succeeding because he's good. Maybe that guy is succeeding because no one is ready for him. Either way, I'm not going to draw a conclusion when the reason for his success is muddy.

 

To anyone who wants to point to Duffey's 2015 success as proof of anything, I will simply reply "Scott Diamond".

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, kab21 and 3 others like this

I've thought about this a lot the last couple days, waffling back and forth. Lots of good arguments made on this thread, both ways. I'm sticking to my earlier post.

 

If I ran the Twins*, I'd keep him in the bullpen. I'd use him in the way that fireman used to be used to be used. I'd use him in the 6-8th innings, 1-2 innings at a time, in games where it was a close score. I'd want to get 100ish innings out of him. Getting 2/3 as many innings as most starters, but mostly in high leverage situations, would make him about as valuable as a good starter.

 

Actually, I've been arguing teams should do this more and more, where pitchers pitch 2-3 innings max, and you plan to use 3-5 pitchers every game. Most teams don't have 4 good starters, let alone 8. They would greatly benefit by having guys that can pitch 2-3 innings at a time to go with their 3 good starters. But, that's serious outside the box thinking...

 

*forgot to add this! It's good for everyone I don't. IIRTT.

    • USAFChief, kab21, Doomtints and 2 others like this

 

I've thought about this a lot the last couple days, waffling back and forth. Lots of good arguments made on this thread, both ways. I'm sticking to my earlier post.

 

If I ran the Twins*, I'd keep him in the bullpen. I'd use him in the way that fireman used to be used to be used. I'd use him in the 6-8th innings, 1-2 innings at a time, in games where it was a close score. I'd want to get 100ish innings out of him. Getting 2/3 as many innings as most starters, but mostly in high leverage situations, would make him about as valuable as a good starter.

 

Concur. I'm also of the belief that 90-100 high leverage innings is just as valuable as 160-180 innings as a #5 pitcher. Considering the team doesn't have a ton of talent in the rotation, I'd like to keep the bullpen strong, and utilize the Royals bullpen strategy this season.... Where we hope for 5-6 decent innings from the #4/#5 starter, and let the bullpen take over from there.  

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, Doomtints and 2 others like this
Photo
diehardtwinsfan
Apr 21 2017 08:36 AM

 

 

 

To anyone who wants to point to Duffey's 2015 success as proof of anything, I will simply reply "Scott Diamond".

 

2015, in my opinion, is simply proof that we shouldn't write him off as a starter... just yet.2016 had injury issues, not to mention he lost his ability to locate his FB.That would have been a problem for him in the pen too.So far this year, his FB issues seem to be resolved.

 

As I've said before, I'm not against it if his final destination is the pen, but I think it would be very unwise to close the book on him starting at this point.It's not like we have a rotation of Cy Young candidates forcing him to the pen.

    • howieramone2 likes this
Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Apr 21 2017 08:41 AM

 

2015, in my opinion, is simply proof that we shouldn't write him off as a starter... just yet.2016 had injury issues, not to mention he lost his ability to locate his FB.That would have been a problem for him in the pen too.So far this year, his FB issues seem to be resolved.

 

As I've said before, I'm not against it if his final destination is the pen, but I think it would be very unwise to close the book on him starting at this point.It's not like we have a rotation of Cy Young candidates forcing him to the pen.

And that's fair. I have no problems with people saying Duffey should get another shot at starting, as the situation is pretty murky.

 

But 2015 didn't prove anything to us one way or the other. Nor did 2016, for that matter.

 

Personally, I'd keep him in the pen right now because this team can't even seem to get Jose Berrios in their rotation. I'm not willing to punt on Berrios in favor of Duffey, who *should* be a solid bullpen arm given his profile.

    • Mike Sixel, Sconnie and Dr. Evil like this

 

2015, in my opinion, is simply proof that we shouldn't write him off as a starter... 

 

But he is pretty darn good as a reliever so far, so why are you writing him off as a reliever?

 

There's a false premise here that starters > relievers. Good relievers are a huge asset.

    • Vanimal46 and Original Whizzinator like this

 

In 2015 he was pitching after the roster expansion, no? So against a mix of AAA and major league players?

Not really, the roster expansion is rarely a stark dividing line for most teams and positions.  Duffey faced pretty much regular lineups over his 10 starts that year.

    • Original Whizzinator likes this

 

Not really, the roster expansion is rarely a stark dividing line for most teams and positions.  Duffey faced pretty much regular lineups over his 10 starts that year.

But the point that should be made about this is that Duffey was a solid MiLB'er that came almost out of nowhere and teams didn't have great scouting reports like Brock says.

 

They came back in 2016 with that information and Duffey couldn't adjust. It doesn't really matter if he has two different curveballs and even a changeup if hitters don't respect his fastball.

 

I don't think it is set in stone that he can't succeed as a starter but all signs point to his pitch repertoire being much better suited to the bullpen. If what people say is true (smarter than I about pitching) then I don't see much reason to stretch him out and risk not getting anything out of him. At this point in his career I want to get something out of him instead of him being cut due to another lackluster year.

    • Dr. Evil likes this

 

But the point that should be made about this is that Duffey was a solid MiLB'er that came almost out of nowhere and teams didn't have great scouting reports like Brock says.

I don't know if I'd say he came out of nowhere.  It's not like he skipped the upper minors or came straight from Cuba or Japan.

 

His worst start that year was his MLB debut.  His last two starts that year were against teams he previously faced, and he did just fine.  Neither of those facts fit neatly into a "lack of scouting report" theory.  He also started 2016 with 4 solid starts in MLB, 3 of which came against teams he previously faced in 2015 (with 2 of those coming against the teams he faced twice in 2015).

 

It's worth noting that Duffey was dealing in 2015, minors and majors, to an extent that he had never done previously or since.  Even before his MLB debut, his 2015 minor league marks of 0.1 HR/9, 7.8 H/9, and 8.0 K/9 were all career bests.

 

I suspect that, like many other players, he has difficulty executing and repeating his best approach.  I'd like to see him get a bit more of a chance to try as a starter, although I am certainly not closing the book on him in relief -- he's 26 years old with 2 option years left, there is plenty of time to get back to a relief role if need be.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

 

I don't know if I'd say he came out of nowhere.  It's not like he skipped the upper minors or came straight from Cuba or Japan.

 

His worst start that year was his MLB debut.  His last two starts that year were against teams he previously faced, and he did just fine.  Neither of those facts fit neatly into a "lack of scouting report" theory.  He also started 2016 with 4 solid starts in MLB, 3 of which came against teams he previously faced in 2015 (with 2 of those coming against the teams he faced twice in 2015).

 

It's worth noting that Duffey was dealing in 2015, minors and majors, to an extent that he had never done previously or since.  Even before his MLB debut, his 2015 minor league marks of 0.1 HR/9, 7.8 H/9, and 8.0 K/9 were all career bests.

 

I suspect that, like many other players, he has difficulty executing and repeating his best approach.  I'd like to see him get a bit more of a chance to try as a starter, although I am certainly not closing the book on him in relief -- he's 26 years old with 2 option years left, there is plenty of time to get back to a relief role if need be.

He was nowhere near a top 100 list and was outside of Sickels' top 20 (but a sleeper alert). #20 at Twinkie Town and #16 on this site. That is pretty much out of nowhere for prospects during a season. The amount of information distributed to hitters was exponentially better the following season after he had 10 great starts and was getting talked about.

 

He was nowhere near a top 100 list and was outside of Sickels' top 20 (but a sleeper alert). #20 at Twinkie Town and #16 on this site. That is pretty much out of nowhere for prospects during a season. The amount of information distributed to hitters was exponentially better the following season after he had 10 great starts and was getting talked about.

I am sure there was some more/better info and video later, but I'm not sure it's that huge of a difference in modern MLB.  It might be a factor, but it might be a fairly minor one compared to the larger simple variances in player's approach/execution.

Photo
Original Whizzinator
Apr 21 2017 08:05 PM

 

But the point that should be made about this is that Duffey was a solid MiLB'er that came almost out of nowhere and teams didn't have great scouting reports like Brock says.

 

They came back in 2016 with that information and Duffey couldn't adjust. It doesn't really matter if he has two different curveballs and even a changeup if hitters don't respect his fastball.

IF this were true how could he be good in the pen?

 

IF this were true how could he be good in the pen?

They only see him once/game and his fastball is 1.7 mph faster this year and might be an okay pitch now. It is quite common for starters with limited pitches and mediocre fastballs to become very good in the bullpen. For example Glen Perkins.

    • USAFChief and Mike Sixel like this
Photo
LA VIkes Fan
May 01 2017 10:04 AM

A decision on Duffy is coming sooner than we think. Gibson is a mess, Mejia is in AAA and Hughes has a 5.06 ERA to go with this 4-1 record as he becomes a "veteran junk baller". We may need Duffy more as a starter this year with May out all season. We need to find at least 3 starters. Berrios could be one, maybe Mejhia after a little AAA tuneup, and ????. Santiago is a free agent after this season and some here want to trade him in July. If he goies, we definitely need 3 and maybe 4 (Hughes might be able to hold on as a 4/5, but Gibson looks done). The AAA roster doesn't seem to have another real strong candidate. I like Dufffy in the pen but i think circumstances are going to force the team's hand into putting him back into the rotation.  


Similar Articles


by Nick Nelson , 11 Apr 2017
Photo


by Seth Stohs , 30 Mar 2017
Photo


by John Bonnes , 25 Mar 2017
Photo


by John Bonnes , 20 Mar 2017
Photo


by Nick Nelson , 05 Feb 2017
Photo