Just three years ago, Tyler Duffey was learning to adjust to his new role as a the closer of the Rice Owls baseball team. Today, Duffey is impressing fans and analysts everywhere with his performance as the newest starting pitcher of the Minnesota Twins.
Duffey led an illustrious three-year career at Rice, where he was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2011 Conference USA tournament. A Houston native, Duffey was drafted by the Twins in 2012 in the fifth round with the 160th overall pick. From there, Duffey has moved far from Texas with minor league spells in Tennessee, Iowa, Florida, Connecticut and New York.
He began the 2015 baseball season splitting time between Twins minor league affiliates Chattanooga (AA) and Rochester (AAA) where he posted a 2.56 ERA in 22 starts. Whenø veteran pitcher Tommy Milone suffered an elbow injury, the Twins decided to pass over the more experienced pitcher Trevor May as well as their 2012 first round pick, Jose Berrios. Duffey earned his first major league chance with the call up.
On Aug. 5, Duffey saw his first MLB action against the Toronto Blue Jays. His first outing was difficult for the young pitcher as he gave up a two-run home run before he recorded an out in the first inning. He followed that by giving up a grand slam to six-time all-star Jose Bautista in the second inning.
After a disappointing first start, Duffey received another chance 10 days later against the Cleveland Indians. This time, he held maintained control with a performance in which he allowed only one hit and no runs in six innings, while striking out seven batters. He followed up another win against Baltimore where he led the way to a 15-2 routing of the Orioles.
Duffey’s quick rise from a fifth-round pick has turned the heads in Minnesota, where he is particularly lauded for his curveball as he continues to make his case for keeping his starting job. Duffey is projected for his next start on Wednesday, Aug. 26 against Tampa Bay.