Like a lot of his young Twins teammates, Tyler Duffey showed promise in 2015, but faced the wrath of big league reality in 2016. After starting exclusively the past two seasons, the right-hander has been moved to the bullpen in 2017. So far, the results have been stellar.
In 25 2/3 innings in 17 games, Duffey has posted a 2.10 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and .202 batting-average-against while striking out 27 and issuing only 5 walks. With the team’s recent bullpen struggles, there’s a very good chance his role will continue to grow.
The 26-year-old is also a great interview. He’s friendly, candid and often, his toughest critic. Check out our recent chat below:
DZ: What are your impressions of the season so far?
DUFFEY: I am kind of getting in to the full swing of everything. Obviously, the first month, for me, was kind of trial by fire. Not pitching in the big leagues, but being in the bullpen. I have kind of gotten a feel for that and what I am going to be doing….longer outings, shorter ones mixed in, things like that. Feeling good. Trying to stay healthy and keep this going. I think we are in a pretty good place right now. Comfortable.
DZ: I remember talking to you last year…right after you got called up. You didn’t make the opening day roster and had to deal with that. This year, you made it. How cool was that?
DUFFEY: It’s an accomplishment. Getting here is one thing; coming into a season, earning your spot on the team. Granted, I was in the starting (rotation) competition and ended up being in the bullpen which, by all means, is great as well. Once I got to that point and they told me, I was very excited about that. Being here and having the great start we’ve had, it’s a really quick turnaround from last year. It shows that we had everything we needed, things needed to click for us. I think it’s going pretty well right now.
DZ: What’s it like – being a starter, everything is planned out – in the bullpen it’s day-by-day?
DUFFEY: I like it just because of the fact that you can contribute more versus once every five days. That’s a big thing for me. I like getting back out there. Obviously, last year I had a rough go and you just want to get back out there and pitch so badly because you want to get rid of that last outing. It’s a lot more frequent, a lot more opportunities to contribute in big situations. I’ve enjoyed it. I enjoyed starting too, but the role I am in now, I am very happy with.
DZ: Do you want to start again?
DUFFEY: I would definitely welcome it. I have nothing leaning me one way or the other. I’ve enjoyed both pretty well. Obviously, as long as I am here, I am not going to have any complaints. If I am going to participate in big games and help us win and get us to where we want to go, it’s an honor to be able to do that alone. As long as I am here, I can really care less.
DZ: Last year you said you had a rough go of it, basically starting at spring training. What did you learn from all of that?
DUFFEY: I have generally said to a lot of people, that I learned what not to do in every possible way last year. In reality…my big thing was that I am really hard on myself – still am. It’s just controlling that. I talked with Latroy Hawkins at spring training and he helped me kind of harness myself and realize that there are more things to be worried about within the game than making a single bad pitch and letting that ruin your whole outing. I kind of took that to heart from pretty much day one of spring training and stuck with it. I feel pretty good about that now. It’s gotten me to where I am at…(If) I miss (my spot) over the plate, this is the big leagues. Guys don’t miss those pitches.
DZ: You don’t have time to dwell on mistakes.
DUFFEY: Yeah. There is no time to think about it because you’ve got another game (the next day).