Danny Duffy takes full accountability for his abysmal start to the year, Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes, but the Royals lefty is still searching for answers after struggling to a 6.51 ERA in 47 innings. As Mellinger explores in an excellent piece, Duffy’s very awareness of the need to improve and dedication to doing so may well be playing into his on-field difficulties. “[W]hen you don’t run from the truth, you’re going to be able to sleep at night,” says Duffy. “And I’m sleeping just fine. When I’m awake, that’s when I’m stressing. So I try to be truthful, man. I try to be honest.” A productive Duffy, whose contract includes $46MM in guaranteed money over the next three years, may well have been a hotly pursued trade piece this summer. Instead, the Royals will likely need to get him on track before considering any potential trade scenarios.
Here’s more from the American League’s central division:
- The White Sox are going through some predictable growing pains, but as Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes, righty Reynaldo Lopez has certainly been effective to this point. Lopez carries a 2.44 ERA through 44 1/3 innings, which is a nice development for a 24-year-old hurler who has long shown promise — but who has also faced questions as to whether he’d ultimately end up in a bullpen role. Of course, it’s worth withholding judgment on his long-term outlook. While Lopez may well end up being the South Siders’ All-Star representative, his good results have not been supported by the underlying numbers. Lopez has been exceedingly fortunate on batted balls (.372 xwOBA vs. .280 wOBA; .202 BABIP) and has not excelled in terms of strikeouts (6.3 K/9), walks (3.9 BB/9), home runs (1.22 HR/9) or groundballs (30.0%). Perhaps he’ll find a way to continue capitalizing on his talent, but it seems Lopez will need to make adjustments to maintain anything approaching his current output.
- While the Indians are continuing to lead an uninspiring AL Central division, that doesn’t mean it has been all sunbeams in Cleveland. The organization surely anticipated more than a .500 start through forty games after topping one hundred wins in 2017. But the results largely reflect what has to this point been a fairly middling performance from the roster overall. Zack Meisel of The Athletic (subscription link) takes a look at the big picture, diagnosing the bullpen as one key overarching concern. It’s tough to disagree with that fact given the putrid overall performance from the Indians’ relief unit to date. Adding some arms seems a mid-season given, but Meisel also notes that the club has a similar issue on the position-player side, with a group of top-end stars that has not been supported to this point by the reserves. All said, there seem to be quite a few areas ripe for improvement over the summer, which is obviously not preferable but does leave the club with many potential avenues to seek value.