Monday, August 15, 2016

Contemplating Tyler Duffey

I do not understand Tyler Duffey, or at least his 2016 pitching. His season, to steal from Winston Churchill, is  a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

His ERA is 5.71, which is terrible and still a half-run lower than it was on Aug. 7, but his FIP -- Fielding Independent Pitching, which is intended to account for the vagaries of the fielding prowess behind him -- is more than a run lower.  Right handers are hitting him better than left-handers (9.58 OPS to .738). His walk to strikeout ratio, one of my favored indices of pitching, is actually sharply improved over his 2015 major league figure. He leads the Twins starters in wins (8) but has only six quality starts.)

Duffey is third on the team in starts and innings and will soon pass the departed Ricky Nolasco in those workload figures. Of the four men with more than a dozen starts, he has the fewest walks allowed and the best strikeout rate. And -- killer figure here -- he leads the staff in home runs allowed.

Until this year, Duffey was stingy with homers. In his 58 major league innings last year, he allowed four taters (0.6 per nine innings). In the minors, at all levels and including his three games at Rochester, even better -- 0.5 homers per nine innings. This year in the majors, 19 homers in 108.2 innings, 1.6 homers per nine innings.

I've offered and seen various theories about Duffey's struggles. He's throwing too many changeups. He's throwing too many curves. It's the 2015 innings increase catching up to him. He's too emotional on the mound.

There might be truth to all of that. What is certain: the team's new management will be casting a fresh eye on this pitching staff, and Duffey has to establish if he is a question -- or an answer.

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