Matt Duffy was an overlooked scrawny kid from Long Beach State. The Giants decided to take a flier on the 21 year old infielder as they selected him in the 18th round of the 2012 draft ,and eager to begin his professional career, Duffy signed just one week later.
Not much was expected from him on the offensive side after he slashed .253/.305/.289 during his three seasons at the collegiate level. The Giants sent him to their Low-A short season affiliate where Duffy did something he hadn't done during his time in the NCAA, and that was homer.
Despite the homerun, Duffy still did very little on the offensive side of the game, although, he did show an impressive ability to get on base as he walked at a higher clip than he struck out.
In 2013, he was moved to Class-A, where he continued to get on base with his impressive walk rate, and he even added a little more to his offensive numbers displaying more power as he clubbed four more homers and totaled 21 extra base hits, earning a mid-season promotion to the Giants' Advanced-A affiliate. His walk rate plummeted at the new level, but Duffy made up for it by adding even more power to his game and hit five homers in just 115 plate appearances.
In 2014, the 23 year old Duffy was assigned to San Francisco's Double-A affiliate, and everything seemed to come together for Duffy as he did subtract from his home run totals, but replaced with gap-to-gap power resulting in more triples and doubles, while he also brought his walk rate back above 10%.
On August 1st, 2014, Duffy's received the call so many wish they'd receive as the Giants selected him from Double-A to replace Dan Uggla, giving Duffy the rare opportunity to skip the Triple-A level. Duffy would start in his first major league game later that day and he'd record his first major league hit in the seventh inning.
Unfortunately for Duffy, he struggled in the few starts he received in August, and by the time September rolled around, he'd be relegated to a defensive replacement or a pinch hitter. Fortunately for Duffy, it was an even year and the Giants reached the post-season and selected Duffy to be on their playoff roster.
Duffy didn't receive very much action during the playoffs, but he was responsible for some very big moments during the National League Championship Series as he laid down some clutch bunts and made excellent use of his speed to score a tying run during game two with two outs in the ninth inning.
The Giants would claim the World Series, with Duffy, the youngest player on the roster going one for two over the seven game series.
Then in 2015, Duffy -- at 24 years old -- had a breakout campaign. A short stop by trade, he was given the Giants vacancy at third base, and he never let go.
Duffy cut down on his walk rate in 2015, but replaced it with more power while somehow not increasing his strikeout rate. On April 15th, he hit his first major league home run, and by season's end, he'd add 11 more giving him a total of 12 for the season.
By the end of the year, Duffy had slashed .295/.334/.428 and accumulated a total of 4.9 fWAR over 149 games. For his efforts, he came in second for the National League Rookie of the Year voting and he was also named a finalist for the Gold Glove award at third base (he lost out to Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies).
This season Duffy has taken a step back as his offensive production has plummeted, by comparison, but he has maintained his excellent glove work over at the hot corner.
Duffy suffered an injury to his Achilles in late June that sidelined him for all of July and just as he began his rehab assignment, the Giants traded him to the Rays, along with a couple of prospects for Matt Moore. His introduction to the Rays viewing audience should come this weekend as he concludes his rehab assignment in the minors.
A couple of our writers here at Draysbay have already looked extensively into what Duffy brings to the table both on the offensive side and defensive side, but this was just a quick look at how Duffy got this current point.
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