by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Last season there were high expectations for Matt Duffy, who the Rays had acquired late in the 2016 season as part of the deal that sent Matt Moore to San Francisco. Instead an Achilles injury cost him the entire year, leaving Duffy a forgotten man as we head towards 2018. With reports that he’s healthy and with the potential to fill the gaping hole at third base left by the trade of Evan Longoria (coincidentally, he also was sent to the Giants) should Duffy be on our radars?
The answer is absolutely, especially at the tail end of all drafts, as he has a slew of positives working in his favor.
1) Plate Discipline
He does have 1,042 PA in the Majors under his belt, and he’s shown a good approach:
- SwStr% – 7.4%
- O-Swing% – 30.1%
- Line Drive Rate – 21.8%
A full missed season could cause some issues, especially early on, as he could need time to re-adjust to pitchers at the highest level. That said he has the potential to hit for a strong average, something he’s already proven capable of (.281 career in the Majors).
2) Power/Speed Combination
Will the Achilles injury zap him of his potential to steal bases? That’ll be something interesting to watch, but he stole as many as 25 bases in a minor league season and had 8 SB in 366 PA in ’16. If the team gives him the green light, seeing him swipe 10-14 bases is a fair expectation.
In terms of power he may never be a 30+ HR threat, but he’s proven capable of 10-14 HR in the Majors already (12 HR in ’15). When combined with the approach and the speed, there’s value without any growth…
3) He’ll play the year at the “magical” age of 27
We’ve all heard about the age 27 breakouts, and whether you fully believe in it or not (and there is at least some credence to it, though it’s hardly the only age that a breakout can come) it is something that should be factored in.
Duffy may not carry a blow away skill and there is risk given the extended absence. That said there’s a lot of upside and potential, with a cost that will be virtually nil (in many leagues he’ll likely be available on the waiver wire). A .280/10/10 player doesn’t grow on trees, and if he struggles the cost will make it very easy to cut bait and move on. In other words he’s an ideal target.
Source – Fangraphs
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|Starting Pitchers||1-20: 03/24/18|