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BALLER MOVE: Target ~135


ANALYSIS: Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy labored through 2017 as he dealt with injuries that eventually ended in minor elbow surgery in October. Duffy mixed a couple stellar months (2.81 ERA in April, 3.20 ERA with 31/4 K/BB ratio in July) in with a lot of mediocre months to finish with a 3.81 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over 146 and 1/3 innings.

Looking forward, many are hoping for a bounce back from Duffy that looks more like how he pitched in 2016 (3.51 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 9.42 K/9), but there are some concerns about the likelihood of that version of Duffy ever returning. Health is really the issue. Duffy has only topped 150 innings once in his career, but that’s partially because he was regularly switched between starting and relieving early in his tenure. The concern is that after throwing 179 innings in 2016, Duffy lost over two MPH off his fastball in 2017 and struggled with hip and elbow injuries throughout the season. Obviously, true believers will say that the offseason surgery fixed that issue, but until he’s throwing to live hitters, consider that a continuing concern.

Things like his depressed strikeout rate (8.00/9), rising walk rate (2.52/9), and high WHIP (1.26) are likely related to the health issues, but they could also be natural regression from his stellar 2016 season. Fantasy owners will hope that health issues were the main culprit and he can be acquired two or three rounds later than his true value.

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