As Danny Duffy embarks on his tenth major league season, now is a good time to look back on his career as a high schooler at Cabrillo and the days after, from getting drafted in the third round in 2007, making his way through the minors and breaking through in the bigs.
I feel we have to start with this 2007 piece, solely based on that headline. I'm not sure who came up with it, but my money is on Brad Memberto or Elliott Stern.
"So easy a K-man can do it."
It's just so perfect, it's just so 2007. (In case you're not aware, it's a play on the GEICO "So easy a caveman can do it" car insurance commercials).
Pure perfection. (Duffy struck out 17 Braves by the way).
Then we have a piece from earlier in his 2007 season, when Duffy struck out 16 St. Joseph Knights in a Los Padres League win.
There's a great shot of Duffy's signature left-handed release. The name on the back of the jersey. Classic. (Duffy also had a four-strikeout inning in that game).
Later in April 2007, Duffy struck out 17 Santa Ynez batters in a 1-0 LPL win over the Pirates.
Duffy was already on the radar of several MLB teams, but the scouts started to come out in droves while the lefty was striking out high school batters by the dozen in the spring of 2007.
Also, how great was it for Brad Memberto to cover Duffy that spring. He got to see so many special outings from the lefty. To this day, Kenny Cress reminds me that he never got to see Duffy pitch while he was at Cabrillo. That's rough. (Thankfully, I got to see Matt Sauer pitch a lot while he was at Righetti and he may be the next Central Coast native to pitch in the bigs).
Look. Duffy has a bat in his hands here.
Wow. Look at that sweet swing. (Yes, Duffy was more than just a pitcher at Cabrillo).
Clearly, Duffy had a stellar 2007 season at Cabrillo as a senior and a decision was looming. He had committed to play ball for Larry Lee at Cal Poly, but he blossomed into a surefire MLB draft pick.
As it were, Duffy would eventually be drafted by the Royals in the third round in 2007.
He chose to sign with the Royals and pursue professional baseball.
Duffy was moving up the minor league ranks, even pitching in the MLB Futures Game in the summer of 2009. Then came the spring of 2010. Duffy made shockwaves when he announced that he was leaving the organization in spring training.
Duffy had basically retired with a major league career before him.
But he couldn't stay away for long. Duffy returned to the club after a 10-week absence.
Duffy made his major league debut in 2011, making 20 starts for the Royals.
He would put together two stellar seasons in 2014 and 2016 and helped Kansas City win the 2015 World Series over the Mets, working out of the bullpen in the 2015 postseason.
Duffy's career best game came against the Rays, when he struck out 16 in St. Pete on Aug. 1, 2016.
That still stands as the Royals' record for strikeouts in a game and was one of the highest game scores ever recorded.
In the July of 2017, Duffy got the opportunity to start against Clayton Kershaw in his native California at Dodger Stadium, just before the All-Star break.
I got to cover that game and it was pretty awesome to tour Dodger Stadium and see Danny pitch and have a conversation with him after his start.
Duffy posted a 3.3 WAR in 2017, one of his underrated seasons. Last season was a challenge for Duffy, as he posted a 0.8 WAR, though he did top 150 innings, his fifth straight season with at least 136 innings.
What's the future hold for the 30-year-old Duffy in 2019? Who knows, but surely don't count the former Conq out.
He's been through just about everything in his professional career, from sudden retirement, to Tommy John surgery, to winning a World Series.
I'm guessing there will be a few more glowing headlines for the lefty in 2019 and beyond.
Joe Bailey is the sports editor at Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Contact him with tips and story ideas at email@example.com or (805) 739-2239. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jbaileysmsports
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