Quick thoughts on Danny Duffy and Mike Moustakas
The Kansas City Star
Twenty-four games in, this Royals season is an enormous disappointment. You know that. I know that. The Royals know that.
But there are some encouraging signs beneath the crap, and I’m not just talking about Eric Hosmer’s awful luck.
Specifically, I’m talking about Danny Duffy and Mike Moustakas.
There’s certainly a good argument to be made. He’s hitting everything hard, .313 with 12 extra-base hits and some fantastic defense. Last night may have been his masterpiece, a home run early and then a highlight play on defense for the final out.
The kid’s always had talent, but one thing that’s set him apart is a wise-beyond-his-years mindset that meant club officials never panicked when he struggled his second full season in the minors, or when he first got called up to Kansas City last year. It’s easy to see a scenario where his is the best-selling jersey at the team store.
Moustakas has been the Royals best player so far, by a comfortable margin, but in terms of encouraging signs I still give Duffy a bit of an edge based on how desperate the team is for starting pitching.
He still needs to find a way to get deeper into games, but he’s been very good in three of his four starts and wasn’t a disaster in the other.
At this point, the Eric Hosmer Window depends so much more on the development of pitchers than position players, specifically starting pitchers, because at least from the looks of it you can see talent all over the field and in the bullpen. In the rotation, too many times you see disaster.
Duffy has a chance — a CHANCE — to join Zack Greinke and Bret Saberhagen and others as among the best starting pitchers the Royals have developed. Last night, he got 16 outs against the Yankees while striking out six and giving up just two walks. That won’t be quite good enough a year from now, or especially two, but for right now it’s a terrific sign.
There is an ace somewhere underneath Duffy’s rough edges, and every now and then, he shows it to the world. If the Royals can get THAT guy out more often, this season changes. If they can even settle for fewer valleys and more consistency, they take a big step in solidifying what is by far their biggest weakness.