Lamb, Duffy join stacked NW Arkansas rotation

The Kansas City Royals on Wednesday added two of the organization's top southpaws to the Northwest Arkansas rotation. The club promoted John Lamb and Danny Duffy to the Naturals, giving the Royals' Double-A affiliate arguably the strongest rotation in all of minor league baseball.

John Lamb, 20, began the season with the Burlington Bees. It took the young southpaw just eight starts before the Royals realized he needed a new challenge. Lamb finished his time in the Midwest League with a 2-3 record and a 1.58 ERA. He fanned 43 batters in 40.0 innings pitched while holding opponents to a .188 batting average. He was promoted to Wilmington in mid-May.

Despite being the youngest starting pitcher in the circuit, the High-A Carolina League proved to be little challenge for Lamb as well. He made 13 starts for the Blue Rocks, compiling a 6-3 record and 1.45 ERA while fanning 90 batters in 74.2 innings pitched. He will join the NW Arkansas rotation with the best ERA in all of minor league baseball – 1.49. On the season, Lamb has struck out 133 batters (with just 32 walks) in 114.2 innings pitched while holding opponents to a .208 batting average.

Danny Duffy's journey to Double-A took a bit of a different route. The 21-year-old lefty likely would have started the season in Springdale after a dominant 2009 season in Wilmington, but he left spring training in late March, citing a need to "reassess his life priorities." He returned to the Royals at the beginning of June, at which point the Royals decided to slowly build up his endurance with a series of short outings in rookie ball.

Duffy made four starts between the Royals' Arizona League affiliate and Idaho Falls, allowing two earned runs in 8.2 innings while fanning 10 batters. He arrived in Wilmington in mid-July and made three starts for the Blue Rocks, posting a 2.57 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 14.0 innings pitched.

Last season for the Royals' High-A affiliate, Duffy was 9-3 with a 2.98 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 126.2 innings pitched. He entered the 2010 season ranked by Royals Corner as the sixth-best prospect in the organization.

With Mike Montgomery's return to NW Arkansas considered imminent, the Naturals should boast five starters - Montgomery, Duffy, Lamb, Aaron Crow, and Chris Dwyer - who all ranked in the top 10 on Royals Corner's 2010 Top 60 prospect list.

Royal Curve Top Stories