Scouting Report: RHP, Grant Duff

The New York Yankees selected right-handed pitcher Grant Duff in the 31st round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of College of the Sequoias and signed him a year later as a draft-and-follow. He spent a few years battling injuries and inconsistencies as a starting pitcher before jumping on to the radar last season in Trenton as a reliever.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Grant Duff
Position: Pitcher
DOB: December 19, 1982
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 225
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"As a whole I'm obviously happy with how everything went, from moving up levels and having success, especially at the higher levels," Duff said of his 2009 season. "In the beginning of the year I was kind of worried because I came out and didn't have the greatest start to the season in Tampa for the first month or so.

"All of the sudden something clicked with my mechanics and I just took off a little bit. I got really confident and started pitching well."

Something clicked alright. He saw his 90-93 mph velocity as a starting pitcher balloon to the plus, plus range, approaching triple digits on the radar gun with his fastball and seeing his secondary pitches come around.

Speeding up his tempo, forgetting about mechanics and trying to spot the ball in lieu of powering up were just some of the reasons for the velocity increase.

"That was a big thing because when I started slowing down I was thinking too much and bad things start to happen," he said. "When I'm not thinking [about mechanics] I'm a lot better.

"That's a big thing for me, picking up the pace and going after it. I don't have to think as much. When I think bad things happen. I just need to be out there with a blank mind and competing. When I do that I have success."

Throwing harder and getting back to the basics were just part of the equation. Arguably a bigger factor was finally developing that evasive third pitch.

Struggling for years to find a consistent changeup, Duff started working on developing a splitter instead and he sought the instruction of two pitchers known for their splitters, Eric Wordekemper and Kevin Whelan.

"I supposedly always had a third pitch," Duff said. "I had a changeup that I'd throw 44 feet or over the catcher's head, that was my third pitch. It was never in the strike zone so hitters never even thought about swinging at it, it never entered their minds.

"Now that I'm able to go ‘here's a split-finger, a slider, or a fastball' they go ‘woah, okay, what's coming?' It makes it a lot easier to pitch. I think a lot of my success this year has to do with developing that third pitch."

Peaking at the right time and finally striking out more batters than innings pitched for the first time in years, the Yankees sent Duff to the Arizona Fall League to see if he could keep the stuff going.

"I think it went okay," said Duff, who posted a 2.89 ERA for the Surprise Rafters. "I had a good ERA but I didn't strike a lot of people out, which I was disappointed with.

"But I went out there and ten outings, and didn't give up a run in nine of them. I just had one bad one, that was it. I can't really complain about it."

Whether it was the rigors of a long season or the layoff in between the end of the season and the Arizona Fall League, Duff, who averaged 96 mph on the gun in Trenton, averaged 94 mph in Arizona and he wasn't protected on the 40-man roster this offseason.

"Obviously I was disappointed when they didn't put me on the 40-man," he admitted. "I thought I had a chance of being put on the 40-man, but I also realized that there's a lot of good players who had good years who deserved to be put on the 40-man. It just worked out with the numbers that I didn't get protected."

Not the kind of player to sulk or question what more needs to be done, Duff is using the whole experience as stimulus going forward.

"Obviously I'm motivated to continue the success that I had last season and hopefully prove to them that I need to be put on the 40-man, prove to them that ‘we need him'.

"I'd like to prove to them that I do deserve it, that I do deserve a chance to be in the big leagues. I guess you could say I'll use it as a little bit of motivation to get up there and that there is still more to be done," he concluded.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2009

Trenton

4-2

1

36.1

30

16

37

3.22

2009

Tampa

0-1

1

35.1

35

11

26

3.82

2008

Tampa

3-6

2

81.2

73

35

64

4.30

2007

Charleston

14-8

0

139.0

135

80

82

3.82

2006

Staten Island

0-3

0

12.0

10

11

9

6.75

2006

GCL Yankees

5-1

0

47.1

26

17

59

1.14

2005

Staten Island

0-1

0

8.1

7

8

9

6.48



Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Splitter.

Fastball. Duff is all about the power these days. He had shown power before though, topping out at 95 mph with the Gulf Coast League Yankees in 2006, but he didn't reach that plateau again until getting to Trenton last season. There he saw his fastball average 96 mph and top out at 99 mph. His fastball command is okay overall, but not great.

Other Pitches. The newfound power also affected his slider. Always his go-to pitch coming up through the minor leagues, it went from the 78-84 mph range up to the 84-88 mph range in Trenton. It has later breaking action down and out and it's a good strikeout weapon. The biggest development is how he has transformed a below average changeup into a real good splitter. In fact, it has become another strikeout weapon for him and he has the confidence to throw it in any count.

Pitching. Duff never looked comfortable trying to be a command pitcher locating pitches at the knees. He is a power pitcher who is better when he's trying to overpower batters with his fastball, slider, and now splitter. Nothing he throws is slow and that can be a detriment at times as it never gives opposing batters a completely different look. He is also a very big guy on the mound, and with his ability to throw hard, he can be very intimidating.

Projection. A guy with Duff's stuff should strike out more batters, plain and simple. He hasn't done that to date. It's not because he lacks the killer instinct either, but rather because his fastball command isn't where it needs to be yet. If he can get to the point where he can locate pitches at the knees or at the corners, with his knockout secondary pitches now, he has setup man or closer type stuff. Improving that command is key though.

ETA. 2010. Duff's immediate big league future depends on what the Yankees do with Romulo Sanchez and Joba Chamberlain. They are the only two pitchers on the 40-man who can approach Duff's power. He should open up in Triple-A Scranton but he'll be on the short list of potential bullpen 40-man roster additions in 2010, especially if the other two are not in the bullpen.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Grant Duff
\r\nPosition: Pitcher
\r\nDOB: December 19, 1982
\r\nHeight: 6'6\"
\r\nWeight: 225
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"As a whole I'm obviously happy with how everything went, from moving up levels and having success, especially at the higher levels,\" Duff said of his 2009 season. \"In the beginning of the year I was kind of worried because I came out and didn't have the greatest start to the season in Tampa for the first month or so.
\r\n
\r\n\"All of the sudden something clicked with my mechanics and I just took off a little bit. I got really confident and started pitching well.\"
\r\n
\r\nSomething clicked alright. He saw his 90-93 mph velocity as a starting pitcher balloon to the plus, plus range, approaching triple digits on the radar gun with his fastball and seeing his secondary pitches come around.
\r\n
\r\nSpeeding up his tempo, forgetting about mechanics and trying to spot the ball in lieu of powering up were just some of the reasons for the velocity increase.
\r\n
\r\n\"That was a big thing because when I started slowing down I was thinking too much and bad things start to happen,\" he said. \"When I'm not thinking [about mechanics] I'm a lot better.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's a big thing for me, picking up the pace and going after it. I don't have to think as much. When I think bad things happen. I just need to be out there with a blank mind and competing. When I do that I have success.\"
\r\n
\r\nThrowing harder and getting back to the basics were just part of the equation. Arguably a bigger factor was finally developing that evasive third pitch.
\r\n
\r\nStruggling for years to find a consistent changeup, Duff started working on developing a splitter instead and he sought the instruction of two pitchers known for their splitters, Eric Wordekemper and Kevin Whelan.
\r\n
\r\n\"I supposedly always had a third pitch,\" Duff said. \"I had a changeup that I'd throw 44 feet or over the catcher's head, that was my third pitch. It was never in the strike zone so hitters never even thought about swinging at it, it never entered their minds.
\r\n
\r\n\"Now that I'm able to go ‘here's a split-finger, a slider, or a fastball' they go ‘woah, okay, what's coming?' It makes it a lot easier to pitch. I think a lot of my success this year has to do with developing that third pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nPeaking at the right time and finally striking out more batters than innings pitched for the first time in years, the Yankees sent Duff to the Arizona Fall League to see if he could keep the stuff going.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it went okay,\" said Duff, who posted a 2.89 ERA for the Surprise Rafters. \"I had a good ERA but I didn't strike a lot of people out, which I was disappointed with.
\r\n
\r\n\"But I went out there and ten outings, and didn't give up a run in nine of them. I just had one bad one, that was it. I can't really complain about it.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhether it was the rigors of a long season or the layoff in between the end of the season and the Arizona Fall League, Duff, who averaged 96 mph on the gun in Trenton, averaged 94 mph in Arizona and he wasn't protected on the 40-man roster this offseason.
\r\n
\r\n\"Obviously I was disappointed when they didn't put me on the 40-man,\" he admitted. \"I thought I had a chance of being put on the 40-man, but I also realized that there's a lot of good players who had good years who deserved to be put on the 40-man. It just worked out with the numbers that I didn't get protected.\"
\r\n
\r\nNot the kind of player to sulk or question what more needs to be done, Duff is using the whole experience as stimulus going forward.
\r\n
\r\n\"Obviously I'm motivated to continue the success that I had last season and hopefully prove to them that I need to be put on the 40-man, prove to them that ‘we need him'.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'd like to prove to them that I do deserve it, that I do deserve a chance to be in the big leagues. I guess you could say I'll use it as a little bit of motivation to get up there and that there is still more to be done,\" he concluded.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n Trenton

\r\n

\r\n 4-2

\r\n

1

\r\n

\r\n 36.1

\r\n

\r\n 30

\r\n

\r\n 16

\r\n

\r\n 37

\r\n

\r\n 3.22

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n Tampa

\r\n

\r\n 0-1

\r\n

1

\r\n

\r\n 35.1

\r\n

\r\n 35

\r\n

\r\n 11

\r\n

\r\n 26

\r\n

\r\n 3.82

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Tampa

\r\n

\r\n 3-6

\r\n

2

\r\n

\r\n 81.2

\r\n

\r\n 73

\r\n

\r\n 35

\r\n

\r\n 64

\r\n

\r\n 4.30

\r\n

\r\n 2007

\r\n

\r\n Charleston

\r\n

\r\n 14-8

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 139.0

\r\n

\r\n 135

\r\n

\r\n 80

\r\n

\r\n 82

\r\n

\r\n 3.82

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n Staten Island

\r\n

\r\n 0-3

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 12.0

\r\n

\r\n 10

\r\n

\r\n 11

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n 6.75

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n GCL Yankees

\r\n

\r\n 5-1

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 47.1

\r\n

\r\n 26

\r\n

\r\n 17

\r\n

\r\n 59

\r\n

\r\n 1.14

\r\n

\r\n 2005

\r\n

\r\n Staten Island

\r\n

\r\n 0-1

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 8.1

\r\n

\r\n 7

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n 6.48


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Slider, Splitter.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Duff is all about the power these days. He had shown power before though, topping out at 95 mph with the Gulf Coast League Yankees in 2006, but he didn't reach that plateau again until getting to Trenton last season. There he saw his fastball average 96 mph and top out at 99 mph. His fastball command is okay overall, but not great.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. The newfound power also affected his slider. Always his go-to pitch coming up through the minor leagues, it went from the 78-84 mph range up to the 84-88 mph range in Trenton. It has later breaking action down and out and it's a good strikeout weapon. The biggest development is how he has transformed a below average changeup into a real good splitter. In fact, it has become another strikeout weapon for him and he has the confidence to throw it in any count.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. Duff never looked comfortable trying to be a command pitcher locating pitches at the knees. He is a power pitcher who is better when he's trying to overpower batters with his fastball, slider, and now splitter. Nothing he throws is slow and that can be a detriment at times as it never gives opposing batters a completely different look. He is also a very big guy on the mound, and with his ability to throw hard, he can be very intimidating.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. A guy with Duff's stuff should strike out more batters, plain and simple. He hasn't done that to date. It's not because he lacks the killer instinct either, but rather because his fastball command isn't where it needs to be yet. If he can get to the point where he can locate pitches at the knees or at the corners, with his knockout secondary pitches now, he has setup man or closer type stuff. Improving that command is key though.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2010. Duff's immediate big league future depends on what the Yankees do with Romulo Sanchez and Joba Chamberlain. They are the only two pitchers on the 40-man who can approach Duff's power. He should open up in Triple-A Scranton but he'll be on the short list of potential bullpen 40-man roster additions in 2010, especially if the other two are not in the bullpen.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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