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Two Hard Throwing Starters are waiting for Your Calls

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Danny Duffy and Junior Guerra has been lighting up the speed gun and begging for us to notice them. Let's hear them out.

Never sleep on a pitcher who can throw harder than anyone else.
Never sleep on a pitcher who can throw harder than anyone else.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Duffy

I'm actually very surprised that he hasn't been more popular. The only reason I didn't write about him until this point is that his breakout has been too easy to notice.

The hard throwing lefty has been on our radars for a long period of time, but he never failed to disappoint us. Everybody knew that he had a great stuff, but his K/9 of last two years didn't even reach 7, and he also walked tons of hitters.

Whatever he did to you last year, this is the time to let it go. Past is past, and the 27-year-old is finally ready to answer your calls.

I'm not sure what has happened to him (I don't really care), but he is somehow throwing 96 mph fastball (career average: 93.7, 2015: 93.8). When a lefty throws 96 mph, we should think later and add him first. I initially thought he has been throwing harder only because he was pitching out of the pen, but in his last two starts (yes, they were short ones), he still easily averaged over 95 and struck out 8 in 7.1 IP.

Currently, the hardest throwing lefty starter in the Majors is Robbie Ray, and even he only clocks 93.5 mph. He is also the only lefty belongs on top 20 hardest throwing starters (19th). The Major League hitters don't get to face guy like Duffy every single day, and the advantage is pretty obvious here.

Sure. Once he starts to throw more pitches in his starts, his velocity may go down, and he might not be able to keep his K/9 at current 10.3. Kris Medlen can also make a sudden comeback from his injury and Duffy can be end up back in the pen in few days. Until that day comes, however, you need to activate this guy for every single start. The Royals are known for their better than average defense, and there are only three stadiums (PNC, Marlins, and AT&T) that allows less home run than Kauffman Stadium does.

He already kindly has showcased us twice that he is indeed able to throw hard even when he starts, and his competitors aren't exactly studs (Kris Medlen, Chris Young, and Dillon Gee). I can't guarantee you that he can continuously throw 96 mph, but he is very possibly ready to throw the best fastball in his career.

Steamer Remainder of the Season Prediction

SP Rank

IP

W

ERA

WHIP

SO

60th

89

6

3.46

1.24

83

_

_

Junior Guerra

He already made the headline couple times, especially after he threw a gem against the ruthless Cubs lineup. He is 31 years old minor league journeyman, and most of us never even heard of this guy until last week. One gem is probably not enough for us to trust a guy with a zero track record.

Being old never helps anybody in sports, but this guy is little different. Because he is not from this generation, he is still pitching like one of those old school right handers. We are living in the era where longevity of a pitcher is more important than anything, and therefore most sliders are turning into cutters, and splitters are replaced by changeups. If you grew up watching guys like Roger Clemens or Curt Schilling, you probably miss how the dominant right handers back in the days carved up hitters using their devastating classic repertoire of fastball, slider, and splitter.

Sliders are still around, but it's safe to say that splitters are mostly obsolete in the Major League baseball, and it's nothing to do with its effectiveness. Only starters in the Major League who uses splitter more than 20% are two Japanese pitchers, Masahiro Tanaka and Hisashi Iwakuma (Koji Uehara also throws almost 50%), and we are well aware of their ability to get hitters out consistently.

No ML pitching coach ever concerns about the longevity of a minor league journeyman, so Guerra safely kept his slider/splitter combination, and he even throws harder fastball (93.3 mph) than those two Japanese pitchers. All these laboring pitches can't be good for his elbow, but the 31-year-old won't care. It's this year or never, so he has to put everything on the field when the opportunity is given.

He is currently recording 13% swinging strikes, and there are only seven starters this year who is better in that category: Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, Max Scherzer, Jose Fernandez, David Price, Michael Pineda, and Cole Hamels.

Guerra is basically the harder throwing version of Masahiro Tanaka, and he doesn't pitch in the Yankees Stadium. I'm obviously not ready to say that Guerra is as good as Tanaka, but he should be a very interesting addition to your roster, especially if you miss the old school pitching. Since he is back in the States in 2015, his minors K/9 is 10.8 in 106.2 IP, and majors is 8.38 in 29 IP. His splitter is certainly missing many bats, and that's exactly what most of us are looking for.

Steamer Remainder of the Season Prediction

SP Rank

IP

W

ERA

WHIP

SO

98th

63

3

3.70

1.25

69