Danny Duffy and Experimentation

The Royals seemingly have a new home-grown ace in left-hander Danny Duffy. The 27-year-old began this season in the bullpen and is now a dark horse Cy Young candidate in the American League. Rustin Dodd of the KC Star chronicled how Duffy bounced back from one of the most ineffective seasons of his career. The process involved developing a new pitch, simplifying his delivery, and a trip to the bullpen which showed him just how dominant his stuff was.

His future as a starting pitcher uncertain, his career at a plateau, Duffy stood in the outfield grass, looking out toward Medlen, some 60 feet away. He gripped the baseball like a fastball, and he chucked it like a football, and even now, one year later, the moment still kind of blows him away.

“It literally was one of the nastiest breaking balls I’ve ever thrown,” Duffy says.

The baseball broke late and darted down, popping into the glove of Medlen. The pitch resembled a slider, and as Medlen caught the ball, he looked back toward Duffy.

“Dude,” Medlen said. “You got to use this in the game.”

I often preach experimentation when it comes to hitting, but the same could be said for pitching. Duffy appears to be proof of that. Even if it doesn’t produce anything, your original way of doing things will always be there to fall back on.


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