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Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: DANIEL DUFFY SP KANSAS CITY ROYALS

                                                        Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (23).jpg

Some guys make the yearly fantasy baseball sleeper list more than once and that is the case here for Kansas City Royals lefty SP Daniel Duffy.  We talked up Duffy going into the 2012 season due to his tremendous minor league strikeout totals and his impressive arsenal pitches and the movement they brought.  However Tommy John surgery interrupted the fun after a 3.90 ERA and 28 K's in 27.2 innings for the Royals in 2012 prior to going under the knife.  Long forgotten last season, Duffy returned with zero fanfare in September to make five starts.  Those outings were eye-opening though and reinforced his previous sleeper value by posting a 1.85 ERA and winning two of those starts.  So with that said let's take a closer look at Duffy and see what he could provide his prospective fantasy baseball owners this season. 

Clearly the most attractive part of Duffy's game is the strikeouts as his 10.6 K/9 IP during his minor league career shows.  In addition Duffy has a career 2.88 ERA on the farm which is a tiny number at any level.  Duffy gives opposing batters fits with his 95-mph fastball coming out lefthanded and solid secondary stuff that has top end movement.  While Duffy's stuff leads to a very low hit rate, the movement in turn causes a very high walk rate at times which blows up the WHIP numbers.  Duffy wouldn't be the first young pitcher to struggle with his control and if he gets that even a little under control, the rest of his numbers could be take a major jump.  Another year removed from Tommy John surgery will make Duffy and his pitches that much stronger which has us thinking he could make that jump to SP 3 status this season. 

You want to use all of your last few draft picks on young players who have upside instead of older veterans who could drop off at a moment's notice and Duffy fits the first mold of the first grouping.  Starters who can strike guys out like Duffy can are always worth pursuing and his dirt cheap goes nicely with the kid.

2014 PROJECTION:  10-5 3.94 ERA 1.29 WHIP 157 K

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