Tyler Duffey Uneven In Minor League Start
Image courtesy of Jonathan DyerIn a start against the Orioles' minor leaguers on the CenturyLink Sports Complex backfield (as chief competitor, Ricky Nolasco, prepared for his start at Hammond Stadium), Duffey failed to assert himself, allowing six runs spread over 5.2 innings on 90 pitches. Molitor, who had endorsed Duffey several weeks ago, watched several innings of what was an appearance marked with loud contact and inability to put hitters away on two-strike counts.
“I was missing arm-side a little bit with my fastballs,” said Duffey of his outing. “They got me behind occasionally, and then I left some over the middle that got hit fairly well today.”
The Orioles minor leaguers jumped on Duffey in the second inning, tagging him for a single, double and topped with a mammoth three-run shot to left-center as Molitor looked on. Duffey, who was around the zone for the most part, failed to get hitters to chase his curve ball out of the zone.
“I've noticed that all spring,” Duffey said of his curve. “I think guys know it's coming so they're sitting on it. One guy took two fastballs. Didn't even budge. I think he was sitting dead-red on curve ball. So that's where now I'm going to have to adjust accordingly.”
Duffey’s curve was clearly his best weapon in 2015 and he leaned on it heavily. According to Fangraphs.com he threw it 39.8 percent of his mix, tied with Toronto’s Brett Cecil for highest usage. Naturally the word on the deuce is getting out. However, Duffey thinks he has the solution to combat opponents’ approach.
“Instead of trying to bury it,” he said he was going to simply “throw [the curve] for a strike. I think I can get away with more fastballs throwing that too. That's just the adjustment.”
Duffey has also worked diligently on his change-up this spring, a pitch he needs to put the finishing touches on. After throwing several into the dirt to Orioles hitters, Duffey said he made an adjustment to bring the pitch up some, only to do so at the wrong time. In the fourth, he hung a change to a hitter who launched a two-run shot to left-center.
Despite the six runs allowed, Duffey said he felt good about the process, including the in-game adjustments with his change-up. “I felt good but my location just wasn’t as good as it had been.”
Duffey will likely get one more opportunity to show the Twins he can make his adjustments quicker and without so much barrel involved.