Results tagged ‘ Danny Duffy ’

KC Close Up: Danny Duffy

On Saturday, we’ll be 23 days away the official Spring Training report date for Royals pitchers and catchers!  Number 23 for the Royals is Danny Duffy, an easy-going lefty from Lompoc, Calif.  Danny made a lot of new fans on Royals Caravan and we had a chance to talk with him about his rookie year, the upcoming season, his favorite TV show and more.  Be sure to follow Danny on Twitter (https://twitter.com/dduffkc23)!

Around the Horn:  What have the past few days been like on Caravan? 

Danny Duffy:  It’s been a lot of fun.  I knew how much support we had – it has been nice to see first hand.  There are a lot of neat people who have been supporting us for a long time – it’s really appreciated by all of us.

ATH:  You were taking some pictures as we rolled across the Flint Hills toward Wichita.

DD:  Yeah, I’ve never seen anything like this from the ground.

ATH:  What do you like about Kansas City?

DD:  Everything.  The barbeque…the people are friendly, the hospitality is second to none.

ATH:  Talk about your offseason and preparation going into 2012.

DD:  Almost everything outside of hanging out with my family has been baseball related.  I’ve been trying to run as much as I can, do core work and put on some good weight.  I’m just doing everything I can to be here Opening Day and help this team.

ATH:  Did you travel at all?

DD:  I went up to my family’s cabin in the Sierras and hiked around a little bit.  I don’t get to go there in the summers anymore so it was nice to take advantage of a dry winter.  Most of the time is spent hanging out with my family.

ATH:  What are your goals for 2012?

DD:  As a team, we want to make the playoffs.  That’s first and foremost.  Personally, I want to be more pitch efficient.  That will keep me at the level that I want to be at.  I feel like I’ve done everything that I can this offseason to assure that my hard work is going to pay off.  I’m excited to get out there and prove to everyone that I’ve been working really hard, as I’m sure the whole team has.

ATH:  Talk about some of the highlights of last year.

DD:  Getting to the big leagues is obviously a frontrunner…(along with) getting to know everyone on the team…I’ve always looked up to Gordo since I was drafted.  We had never really talked too much before I came up.  It’s been cool to get to know him and his family…same with Hoch (Luke Hochevar), I’ve always really looked up to Hoch.  I think my favorite part of the year was becoming good friends with people on this team.  It’s cool to be able to play on the same squad as them.

ATH:  Who are some of your closest friends on the team? 

DD:  I can’t really single one person out.  Blake Wood…we’re good buddies.  Eric Hosmer is one of the realest people that I’ve ever met.  Moustakas (a fellow Californian) – we go way back. 

ATH:  We’ve seen the Broncos tweets…what are some of your favorite teams? 

DD:  I think the Lakers are my favorite team, outside of the Royals.  I had the opportunity to sit behind the bench this offseason.  As corny as it may sound – I think watching Kobe and how hard he works has driven me.  I’ve gone out running after Lakers games because I’m so hyped from watching Kobe.  I like Fresno State – I’ve always been a fan in football.

ATH:  You mentioned running and we’ve also seen that on Twitter.  Is that something that you like to do on road trips?

DD:  Yeah, I’ve always enjoyed running.  Everybody has their way to wind down and shut the mind down.  That’s my way to cool off. 

Photo courtesy Texas Rangers

ATH:  What’s your favorite road city so far? 

DD:  I really enjoyed Arlington because it was so secluded.  It was an amazing ballpark, we had a good time down there, hanging out and laying low.

ATH:  Are you a video game player?

DD:  No, I’m not into video games…but it will be cool to be on one this year.  I will definitely check out the new MLB games.

ATH:  Who was your favorite baseball player while you were growing up?

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Dodgers

DD:  Mike Piazza.  I had a wall of 50 of his cards and was at his last game with the Dodgers.  (Remembering the trade like it was yesterday)…They traded him to Florida (with Todd Zeile) for Bobby Bonilla, Gary Sheffield, Jim Eisenreich, Charles Johnson and Manuel Barrios.  (ATH mentioned that Danny might meet Eisenreich at some point as the former Royals outfielder resides in the KC area.)

ATH:  You mentioned Piazza’s baseball cards.  Have you seen any of your cards?

DD:  I have seen a few, my Mom usually gets them as soon as they come out.

ATH:  What’s your favorite TV show? 

DD:  SportsCenter…other than that, I’m a big fan of Family Guy.  I love Stewie for his sarcasm.

ATH:  Yeah Stewie’s the best…well Danny, thanks for the time and good luck in 2012!

DD:  Thanks!

Touring Royals Country on Caravan

It has been a busy week at the office!  Last week, ATH joined team representatives on Caravan visits to Cameron, St. Joseph and Maryville, Missouri, then on to Topeka and Wichita, Kansas.  Hopefully you saw some of our pictures on Twitter @aroundthehornkc.  Here’s a recap of the Missouri tour:

Our journey began in Overland Park on the morning of January 15, where ATH met the bus and checked in with Ben Aken, Sr. Director of Community Relations.  Ben thought the players and staff would want a hot breakfast – so off I went to pick something up.  Once back, I took a seat on the bus behind Royals Hall of Famer John Mayberry and across from broadcaster Steve Stewart, who was joined by his son John (a.k.a. Little John on this trip). 

The bus made a quick stop in downtown Kansas City to pick up designated hitter Billy Butler and pitcher Danny Duffy (pitcher Greg Holland was already aboard).  We made our way through North Kansas City and on to Cameron (one hour north of KC), where our first stop was just off of I-35 at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Steve Stewart introduced Butler, Duffy, Holland and Mayberry to the fine fans of Cameron.  The line weaved its way through the store to the front table, where fans mingled with our Caravan crew and picked up autographs from our foursome.  I visited with several season ticket holders while Aken and Stewart did radio interviews on KKWK, the Royals affiliate in Cameron.   

Ben suggested that I take lunch orders for our traveling party of 10.  One thing that I learned over two days was the easy-going nature of our three current players on the trip.  I’ve known Billy since 2007 but I didn’t spend much time around Danny or Greg last year.  I took Danny’s order and proceeded to Greg, who said he’d take the same.  And for Billy?  Anything…just order what Duffy and Holland were getting.  Easy enough!  The only problem was that the listed phone number for the sandwich shop was for a fax or modem.  Time is critical on Caravan – you want to get to your next stop as a line of fans will be waiting.  Luckily I found a ride to the sandwich shop and started our order. 

The bus pulled up shortly thereafter and we were on our way to St. Joseph, 45 minutes to the west.  I listened to stories from Big John Mayberry and John Stewart pointed out the town of Stewartsville to Steve.  We rolled into St. Joe, where a long line was waiting at Hy-Vee.  Once again, Steve Stewart did the introductions, this time over Hy-Vee’s intercom!  “Attention Hy-Vee shoppers…” 

I handed out schedules to the fans in line before proceeding back to the autograph table.  Our players and alumnus began walking the line in order for all of the fans to get autographs in our allotted time.  I assisted Big John, a natural at these types of events.  Once the autographs were complete, our current players met with the local media. 

We climbed back onto the bus and kept tabs on the NFL playoffs while traveling north to Maryville.  Our stop was at the Nodaway County Senior Center.  Several fans approached me and talked of how much it meant for us to visit.  This hits home with me as I grew up in a small town and usually made it to one big league game a year as a youth.

The sun was setting as we prepared to leave Maryville.  With our stops complete, Billy, Danny, Greg and Big John posed for a picture next to the sign which advertised our stop.  We had visited three different venues with a common theme:  Fans who were very happy to see us and looking forward to the 2012 season.  When I arrived home that night, I could think of only one thing…the thrill of doing it all again the next day!

Dayton Moore answers media questions about the draft, minor leagues

The 2010 June Draft begins on Monday.  General Manager Dayton Moore talked to the media today about the draft and other topics.

Moore is looking for players with great character and players who fit a team atmosphere.  He puts an added emphasis on players with past championship experience, either in college or high school.  Ideally, Kansas City’s first pick will eventually be able to blend in with the current group of prospects at Double-A. 

Moore sees several players in this draft that will make an impact in the majors.  However, he doesn’t see as many premium position players as in some drafts. 

A media member asked whether the draft will drop off after the first three picks (the Royals pick fourth).  Moore says he sees how some see it that way, but every draft will be re-evaluated after three years and the picture can be very different.  He sees that as the beauty and the challenge of baseball’s draft – a 10th round pick could wind up with a better career than a first-round choice.  He sees all 50 or so players that a team drafts as important, sighting Jarrod Dyson.  The speedy former 50th round pick is now on Kansas City’s 40-man roster. 

Duffy’s return

Reporters asked Moore about pitching prospect Danny Duffy, who recently returned to the organization after taking some time away from baseball.  Moore hasn’t spoken to Duffy and for now he will leave that to Assistant GM/Scouting and Player Development J.J. Picollo and Director of Minor League Operations Scott Sharp.  He didn’t know if Duffy would return originally after he left baseball in March, but he knew that the good relationship between the club and Duffy would help. 

Moose and Hosmer

Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are both leading their respecting leagues in hitting, with Moose entering the day first in the Texas League at .371 and Hosmer’s .350 pacing the Carolina League.  Moore says that the Royals are staying humble as an organization as far as their progress.  He said that minor league hitting coordinator Jack Maloof is pleased with their development.  As to whether they will be promoted, Moore said that the organization will re-assess that in a month, but neither is a currently a candidate to be on the Major League team by the end of 2010.

Yost’s start 

Moore likes the intense focus and clear beliefs of his new manager.  While the two knew one another from Atlanta, they didn’t have the manager-general manager relationship.  Moore says that this particular aspect of their relationship is still evolving.

Danny Duffy reports to extended spring training

The Royals have announced that left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy has reported to extended spring training in Surprise, Ariz.  The Royals have begun the process of assessing where Duffy is with regard to baseball activities before making a determination on his plans for his return to baseball.

The 21-year old Duffy, the Royals’ third round selection in the 2007 Amateur Draft, announced on March 24 that he was taking a leave of absence from baseball.

 

Moustakas among latest Spring Training invites

The Royals have announced that left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy, third baseman Mike Moustakas, and outfielders David Lough and Derrick Robinson have been invited to Major League Spring Training in Surprise, Ariz.  The four additional players bring the Royals’ non-roster spring total to 24. 

      The 21-year old Duffy was a Carolina League All-Star in 2009 while pitching the entire season at the age of 20 for Wilmington (A Advanced).  The 6-foot-3 left-hander went 9-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 24 starts for the Blue Rocks, striking out 125 and walking 41 in 126.2 innings.  The Royals’ third-round selection from 2007, who is 19-10 with a 2.49 ERA in his minor league career, resides in Lompoc, Calif.

      Moustakas, 21, was the Wilmington Player of the Year in 2009 after earning the same award at Burlington (A) in 2008.  The left-handed hitting third baseman batted .250 with 16 home runs and 86 RBI in 129 games for the Blue Rocks.  Kansas City’s first-round pick (second overall) in the 2007 Draft resides in Northridge, Calif.

      The 23-year old Lough, honored last Thursday as the George Brett Minor League Hitter of the Year, led all Royals minor leaguers with a .325 combined batting average at Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas (AA) last season.  The Clinton, Ohio resident was the Royals’ 11th round pick in 2007 out of Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa.

      Robinson, 22, will spend his second straight spring in Major League camp.  The speedy centerfielder hit .239 and stole 69 bases in 92 attempts for Wilmington in 2009.  Drafted in the fourth round in 2006, Robinson has 186 stolen bases to his credit in four minor league seasons, leading the Carolina League in each of the last two years.

 

Danny Duffy named to U.S. squad for Futures Game

Royals prospect Danny Duffy, currently a member of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, will play for the U.S. squad at the Futures Game, to be held on July 12 in St. Louis as part of Taco Bell All-Star Sunday.  The game will be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 1:00 p.m. CT.

 

Duffy, KC’s second-round pick in 2007, is 6-2 with a 2.85 ERA this season.  He ranks fourth in the Carolina League with 66 strikeouts.  He pitched a scoreless inning at the California/Carolina League All-Star Game on Tuesday.

 

Current Royals John Buck, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Zack Greinke and Luke Hochevar have represented the U.S. squad in previous Futures Games.  Buck was with the Houston organization when he played in the 2002 Futures Game.  Butler took home MVP honors in 2006, becoming the second straight Royal to do so after Justin Huber won in 2005. 

 

Catcher Miguel Olivo played for the World Team in 2000 while in the Oakland system and reliever Juan Cruz represented the World Team in 2001 while he was in the Cubs organization.  Right-handed pitcher Julio Pimentel, currently on the 40-man roster, played for the World squad in last year’s contest.

 

Congratulations to Danny on this honor and best of luck on July 12!

The Future: KC's Top Prospects


2008 Futures Night.JPGBaseball America
highlighted the Royals today as they continue their team-by-team summaries of top prospects. Seven pitchers and three position players make up KC’s Top 10.  Five of the players were honored at the 2008 Futures Night (above). The future, both near and long-term, appears extremely bright.

New to the Top 10 are 2008 draft picks Eric Hosmer, Mike Montgomery, and Tim Melville, as well as right-handed pitcher Danny Gutierrez and slugging first baseman Kila Ka’aihue.

We’ve compiled a few notes on each prospect. ATH had the chance to speak about the rankings with Scott Sharp, Kansas City’s Director of Minor League Operations. We’ve included his observations for some analysis you won’t get anywhere else.


Moustakas.jpg1. Mike Moustakas, 3B

The power-hitting lefty (pictured at left) recovered from a slow start to lead the Midwest League with 22 home runs in 2008 as a 19-year old.  Now 20, “Moose” became the first teenager to lead the Midwest League in homers since 1982.

Sharp note: “He has great power and ability with the bat. He’ll likely start at Wilmington.”

2. Eric Hosmer, 1B

KC’s first-round selection in 2008 makes his BA debut at #2. The 19-year old also projects as the Best Hitter for Average. Hosmer spent the fall in the Arizona Instructional League.

Sharp note: “Similar to Mike, he can hit and has power. He played in three games last year so we want to see what he does in spring training before assigning him.”

3. Dan Cortes, RHP

Cortes.JPGCortes, acquired from the White Sox in the Mike MacDougal trade, continued to shine in 2008, becoming a regular season and postseason Texas League All-Star. Still just 21, he has been ironing out some issues in the Arizona Fall League, including trying to keep the ball down in the zone more often.

Sharp note: “He met every expectation last year. He will probably start in Double-A, but could begin in Triple-A, depending on how the Omaha roster shakes out.”

4. Mike Montgomery, LHP

Montgomery, a supplemental pick in 2008, displayed great stuff as he held Arizona League opponents to a 1.69 ERA over 42.2 IP. The Royals plan to build the 19-year old’s innings slowly, as they did last year with Danny Duffy (see below).

Sharp note: “He’s a lefty with a good curveball. We’d like to see him in a full-season league. Most likely, he will start later in the year as health is paramount with our young pitchers.”

5. Tim Melville, RHP

The 2008 fourth-round selection checks in at #5. Melville, who has yet to pitch in a game as a pro, spent the fall in the Arizona Instructional League and is 19 years old as well.

Sharp note: “He’ll follow a similar path as Montgomery, though it will likely be in a short-season league. It would be unfair for him to start in a full-season league (since he didn’t appear in 2008).”

6. Danny Duffy, LHP

Duffy, a May addition to the Burlington Bees, went 6-1 with a 0.99 ERA over his last 11 starts to earn Burlington Pitcher of the Year honors. He won’t turn 20 until December 21.

Sharp note: “He proved himself at Burlington and will likely start at Wilmington. He has good mound presence and poise and can display three average Major League pitches.”

7. Danny Gutierrez, RHP

Gutierrez, 21, has risen to the top 10 after being selected in the 33rd round out of high school in 2005. BA ranks him as having the best curveball and best control among Royals farmhands.

Sharp note: “He showcases a power fastball and curveball. Danny is a good competitor who should start at Wilmington.”

8. Carlos Rosa, RHP

Rosa made his Major League debut in 2008 before finishing the year on the D.L. with a right elbow strain. The recent trades of Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez have left a gap in the K.C. bullpen. General Manager Dayton Moore mentioned the 24-year old as a candidate to fill one of those spots.

Sharp note: “Carlos will be in Major League camp but could begin the year at Triple-A. He’s been working on a change up.”

Kila_Home_Run.jpg9. Kila Ka’aihue, 1B

Ka’aihue’s meteoric rise through the farm system didn’t go unnoticed by Baseball America. Ka’aihue, 24, spent just a month in Omaha in 2008. He will likely start 2009 there as the Royals have several players battling for time at first base.

Sharp note: “He will likely start at Triple-A, but will be given every opportunity in Spring Training. He has power at his disposal but is also a good first baseman.”

10. Blake Wood, RHP

Wood.JPGKC’s third-round pick in 2006 sits at #10 after being ranked #4 prior to 2008. This is mostly a sign of the Royals ever-increasing strength in the system. The 23-year old Wood split 2008 between high-A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Sharp note: “Blake has a power arm and a power curve. We see him starting at Double-A. He needs to get back to the way he started there.”

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The Future's now

9-19 Minor NLBM.JPGTonight is Futures’ Night, which means Kansas City will get to take a peak at the future of the organization. With the team on a seven game roll, tonight is a great night to make it out to the stadium.

The Minor League Players of the Year will be on hand. We’re going to have one last fireworks spectacular here at the “old” Kauffman Stadium, it’s Buck Night and of course the Royals pit their surging brand of baseball against the first-place White Sox. Let’s go Around the Horn…

First
The past few years the team has given Royals fans a glimpse of what is to come and not just with September call-ups (though it’s been exciting seeing the successes of Ryan Shealy and Kila Ka’aihue and Devon Lowery this month). Futures’ Night is that chance. Names like Mike Moustakas, Dan Cortes, Derrick Robinson, and Mike Montgomery are just a few of the players we’ve mentioned in this space who will be here to meet the fans.

9-19 Minor harvest.JPGBut these players got a taste of what it means to be a Kansas City Royal earlier today. Some of the front office accompanied the players as they helped out at Harvesters and then toured the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The future of the Club then made its way to Kauffman to take in the Royals batting practice earlier this afternoon. It is important that these young players understand about the community they hope to play in and their short tour was designed to do just that. It’s worked in the past.

9-19 Minor tour 2.JPGAmong some of the names you might recognize from the last few years, Mike Aviles has won Minor League Player of the Year for his respective team three times (2007 at Omaha, 2004 at Wilmington and 2003 at Surprise), including the title of 2007 Minor League Player of Year last season for the entire organization. In 2006, three players who’ve seen time in the Majors this season were given the award. Zack Greinke and Alex Gordon – two of the building blocks for the team – won Pitcher and Player of the Year at Wichita and Carlos Rosa, who had three strikeouts in three innings earlier this season, was the Burlington Pitcher of the Year.

9-19 Minor work.JPGBilly Butler joins Aviles as a two-time winner of the award. He also won at two different levels. At 18, he won the Idaho Falls Player of the Year and followed that performance with the honor at High Desert as a 19-year old.

Some of the lower-level award winners over the past couple of years are already starting to help the organization win. Luis Cota and Nick Van Stratten won the award for Burlington Pitcher of the Year (2005) and Arizona Player of the Year (2006), respectively. Both were key to the success of the Burlington Bees in their run to the Midwest League Championship.

Second
Seven straight wins is the longest winning streak since 2003, 9-19 Banny.jpgwhen the Royals opened the season 9-0. The Royals are 8-2 over their last ten.

The team has clicked. Through the streak, the starter has won every game. They’ve bashed 12 homers and run their season win total to 69, matching their 2007 win total. With one more victory, they can secure their first 70-win season since going 83-79 in 2003.

After their last loss, a week ago in Cleveland, the Royals were 19 games back and eight behind Detroit. While they haven’t shaved much off their deficit to the division-leading White Sox, they are just three behind the Tigers.

Manager Trey Hillman told the media today that the strong play will get a test tonight. Matching up against the White Sox, a team who is playing for the postseason, he said the Royals will see just how well they have been playing. He hopes that they can continue their run, but doesn’t want to diminish what the Royals did in Cleveland. The Indians have been strong for most of the second half and Hillman’s boys shut them down (with the exception of the eventual Cy Young winner Cliff Lee).

Hillman sees tonight as a chance to measure his team. He believes comparing his team to the rest of the division, his main competition, 9-19 Callaspo.jpgwill give him an accurate read on where he sits. Chicago will bring a playoff atmosphere to the K and the Royals will need to stand up to the division leaders – “the pride of the division,” – if they want a shot at not finishing in last place, which is a goal the manager thinks shows something.

Short
Alberto Callaspo has hit in 12 straight, a career high…David DeJesus picked up his 70th RBI yesterday. DeJesus and Jose Guillen (95 RBI) are the first pair of Royals to knock in 70 or more runs in a season since Emil Brown (86) and Mike Sweeney (83) did it in 2005…DeJesus currently has a .402 average with runners in scoring position and is trying to become just the third Royal to end a season with a .400 RISP mark. Sweeney (.402 in 2002) and George Brett (.469 in 1980) are the only others to do it…Mark Teahen had two hits in the fourth inning yesterday, which was the first time a Royal had done that since Tony Pena, Jr. did it in the second versus St. Louis on June 14, 2007…The 500th strikeout of Zack Greinke’s career was former Royal Raul Ibanez in the first inning yesterday.

9-9 Stocking Cap.jpgThird
Tonight is the final Buck Night and Fireworks Friday. But tomorrow has plenty for the fans as well. Stocking caps and “Shirts Off Their Backs” Night will highlight the rest of the weekend’s promotions.

With the season coming to a close and Around the Horn running out of time, we here at ATH and the K want to again voice our deepest gratitude to you – the fan – for your support and for your patience with the renovation process. You will not be disappointed when we re-open on April 10, 2008 versus the Yankees.

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus LF
Aviles SS
Guillen RF
Shealy 1B
Teahen 3B
Butler DH
Callaspo 2B
Buck C
Maier CF

Bannister P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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