The transition of Tyler Duffey from starting pitcher to the bullpen is paying dividends for the Minnesota Twins as he continues to be phenomenal.
Duffey started spring training in the conversation for the 5th spot in the rotation, along with the afore mentioned Mejia and top prospect Jose Berrios.
Duffey was the odds on favorite to win the job as he has the most major league success of the three. But there were also whispers of a bullpen stint if Berrios or Mejia rose to the occasion and took the final spot.
After a strong rookie season in 2015, Duffey struggled with his consistency in 2016. Duffey’s ERA ballooned from 3.10 in 2015 to over 6 in 2016, and he could not keep the ball out of the seats, allowing 25 home runs in 26 starts.
Ultimately, the call was made to begin the season with Duffey in the pen. Fans were unsure of what to expect results-wise, as Duffey had only been a starting pitcher to this point in his major league career.
Duffey has been called upon to pitch in 4 games to this point in the season and has yet to allow a run in 8 2/3 innings.
Manager, Paul Molitor, has chosen to use Duffey primarily in low stress situations. When being called to the mound, he has inherited run differentials of +2, +1, -2, and -2. Duffey has seen multiple innings in all but one appearance.
It should be interesting to follow how the Minnesota Twins handle Tyler Duffey throughout the summer. He’s a great candidate to sneak into the rotation if an injury or bad performance were to force the Twins hand. He could also be used as an 8th inning bridge to Brandon Kintzler if Ryan Pressly’s early season struggles continue.
Regardless of what the summer has in store for the Minnesota Twins pitching staff, it’s been hard not to be encouraged by Duffey’s strong start to the season in his new role.