Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dr B's 2014 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #30 Matt Duffy

Matt Duffy, SS.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 170 lbs.  DOB:  1/15/191.

Low A:  .307/405/.418, 4 HR, 22 SB, 45 BB, 41 K in 287 AB.
High A:  .292/.342/.507, 5 HR, 3 SB, 7 BB, 16 K in 106 AB.

Long Beach St was a veritable SS factory in the mid-2000's producing Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria in consecutive drafts, then Danny Espinosa 2 years later.  Matt Duffy played the position for the Dirtbags, but was not regarded as anything close to their class of player.  His highest BA in 3 years there was .266 and he produced no college HR's.  He did have a reversed K/BB his junior season and hit .348 in the Cape Cod League.  The Giants took a flyer on him in the 18'th round of the 2012 draft.

He put up very similar numbers to his college experience at S-K in the summer of 2012, but then broke out in 2013 playing for Low A Augusta and later for High A San Jose.  He quickly became a favorite of Giants prospect watchers by putting up interesting lines in the box scores on an almost daily basis.

I saw him play during the Cal League playoffs.  170 lbs is about 20 lbs under Ideal Body Weight for a 6'2" man and Duffy did not look a lb over that.  I found it surprising that a player with his build could put up the power numbers he showed in 2013.  Since he showed almost no power before that, it makes you wonder if it is sustainable, but he did sustain it through a full season.

A few things to consider here:

1.  Long Beach St plays in a notoriously pitcher-friendly ballpark in a league that is generally pitcher-friendly.

2.  Duffy shows the reversed K/BB(BB's higher than K's) that the Giants scouting department has seemed to favor in recent years.

3.  With a little more meat on his bones, I could see Duffy getting his HR's up near 20 or even more.

4.  I am not  sure if he can stick at SS.  He was all-conference in college as a 2B.  If he continues to hit, it may not matter, but the Giants system is chock full of 2B's disguised as SS's.

His placement for the 2014 season is also interesting to consider.  I do not see anyone in the system standing in the way of him moving up to AA.  He has the secondary stats to make me think he just might do well in Richmond which would then place him within hailing distance of the majors and a lot higher on next year's list.


  1. "Giants system is chock full of 2B's disguised as SS's."

    Good one. SS's drafted in the past 4 years: Carter Jurica, Bobby Haney, Jose Cuevas, Joe Panik, Jean Delgado, Kelby Tomlinson, Cristian Otero, Travious Relaford, Jeremy Sy, Matt Duffy, Christian Arroyo, Brandon Bednar, Brett Kay, Blake Miller.

    2B: Adam Duvall, Wes Hobson, Ryan Jones, Will Calloway.

    18 up the middle guys in 4 years! The same period the Giants have drafted (and signed, I'm only counting guys they signed) 25 lefties. With only 3 top 3 round picks in 4 years, it hasn't been much of a priority for the Greybeards.

  2. Shankbone:

    Please complete your thought. Of the SS's on your list, which ones are really 2B in disguise? The much shorter answer might be which ones are true SS's.

    1. I think the answer is, we don't know! Panik, obviously has already moved to 2B. A lot of people think Arroyo will eventually follow. Blake Miller seems to have already moved to 1B. Cuevas is out of the organization if I recall correctly. Tomlinson seems to be a true SS, but has not hit much. Jurica is definitely a 2B. The rest we really do not have enough information on.

    2. Its not my list, its the Giants list of the past 4 years, the guys they assigned as SS and the ones they auto directed to 2B. Not that many guys get drafted as 2Bs until you're down the draft. Duvall got moved quickly to 3B anyways.

      Everything DrB said, and the addition that Jeremy Sy hasn't exactly been stellar defensively. The Giants used Relaford as the farm system fireman last year, I suspect he's got utility/2B in his future. One guy I would think needs a shot at being a 2B scrapper is Shawn Payne, his OF instincts aren't stellar and he played 2B in HS like his idol Brandon Phillips. Most likely its lateral quickness and first step that the Greybeards are worried about, but it might be his best bet for making the show.

      Also Trevor Brown was drafted as a catcher but has been a 2B predominately. The Giants love position flexibility. That could be Arroyo's ultimate calling. I think it's way too early though, and I'd point to Richie A as a guy who nobody thought had the chops to stay at short. He ultimately didn't after a while in the show, but he fielded what he got to.

      Short answer: we don't know, but most are trending 2B. Top 10 SS's in baseball: mostly big bonus baby types and 1st 10 in the draft. Addison Russell is looking sweeet. He was the 11th pick. If a guy looks like he can stick at short with a bat he's going to zoom. Giants might have a shot this year, but there just aren't that many candidates. Its definitely the position of most scarcity in baseball.

  3. I love Duffy's swing. For a guy with his size and profile, he sure packs a lot of bat speed. I was very impressed by the clips I saw (one in Augusta, one in SJ). I don't think he would replicate his 2013 production in Richmond, but I think he could hold his own. I hope they challenge him.

    1. He certainly put together an impressive offensive season in 2013. Looking at his numbers it is really hard to find fault with any of it, or any reason to think it was a fluke, other than he had not hit like that in the past. He's draws the walks, keeps his K's down, hits with enough power to keep pitchers from challenging him at will. Again, I'd like to see him put a little meat on his bones although weight is not the equivalent of strength so he needs to do it right.

    2. That HR clip in SJ looks very nice, he's made some solid mechanical adjustments to the swing and is much more compact. The leg kick also looks improved with it being significantly more even/parallel to the ground, creating less movement and less noise. The result seems to be that he's hitting the ball further back in the swing, and generating a whole lot more power with the much improved balance.

      My question is, who in San Jose would block Duffy from moving off short and over to 2B...if the Giants decided to go that way...or even going ahead and staying at SS? It would seem that Richmond might be a very tough jump after Augusta most of 2013, and "Prove-it" guys might be better going step-by-step. He can always move up if he kills it in the first half, but no need to rush this kid with Adrianza at AAA and Crawford firmly entrenched.

    3. Adrianza is done with AAA. He has to stick on the 25 man roster or be exposed to waivers and he won't go unclaimed. Maybe you see Crawford as more firmly entrenched that I do? I'd like to see Duffy stick at SS just because the Giants have…….many…2B! Beyond Adrianza, there is a gaping hole in guys who even MIGHT be able to play SS, unless you count Villegas. Duffy stat line just looks so solid, everything from BA to OBP to K rates to power. He just seems like a guy who might do well in Richmond. Plus, he hits RH. I think Covechatter did a study showing that RH batters tend to do just a bit better at Richmond.