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Chris Duffy Contacts All MLB Teams: Will He Get A Second Chance?

Chris Duffy Looks for An MLB Opportunity

By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports Writer)  

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An interesting story broke out last week, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle wrote an article on Chris Duffy, A current independent ballplayer who has been searching for a chance to sign with a Major League team this spring. 

During his senior season at the University of Central Florida, Duffy was nominated for the Golden Spikes Award, which is annually given to the country’s best amateur baseball player.

He was nominated among the likes of Bryce Harper (who won the award), Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, and Yasmani Grandal

Unlike the other four nominees, Duffy was not a first-round draft pick and was unable to make it to the major leagues just yet. He fell to the 26th round, where the Philadelphia Phillies finally swooped him up.

Chris Duffy looks to find a home with a MLB team. Duffy spent the 2013 season with the New Jersey Jackals of the Independent CanAm League, where he hit .293 with 13 HRs and 62 RBIs in 98 games.  In 1006 Minor League AB. he has 3 slashed .298/.393/.877, over the last 4 seasons.  Perhaps a team like the Pirates or Mets should be looking for more depth at the position.

Duffy started out strong in his first few seasons in the lower parts of the Phillies’ farm system, but struggled once he was promoted to Clearwater, the High-A affiliate of the team. He was released by the team in March 2013.

Having played in independent baseball the past two seasons, Duffy is looking for a chance to sign with a major league ball club this spring. In the article, Drellich talks about the different teams that Duffy has talked to.

Three notable teams were mentioned: the Atlanta Braves, who turned down Duffy three times, the New York Mets, who gave him a tryout last week but didn’t have a roster space for him, and the Houston Astros, who Duffy personally went out of his way to contact, but hasn’t heard anything from the club just yet. 

What Chris Duffy Brings to a Team

If you aren’t a follower of independent baseball (which is the case for most fans), you must be wondering whether or not it is worth it to take a gamble on Duffy. 

This past season working as a broadcaster for the New Jersey Jackals, I got a first-hand look at Duffy and what he brings to the table.

When I first saw Duffy, I make a quick comparison to Ryan Howard (not knowing previously that he was in the Phillies organization).

The body build was similar, and his approach at the plate was also comparable to the All-Star first baseman, but once I saw him play, I wondered why he wasn’t in professional baseball anymore. 

Duffy was a crucial part of the 2013 Jackals team that once again found themselves in the Can Am League Championship. Duffy blasted 13 HRs and 62 RBIs in 98 games.

As the team struggled with injuries for most of the season, Duffy was always the mainstay in the lineup, as he played the majority of his games at first base, but also spent time playing the Outfield and also getting a few starts as the Designated Hitter.

“Duffy is a big physical presence in the middle of the order, almost like a Cliff Floyd type,” said Michael Cohen, the Jackals Media Director and Broadcaster.” “I was impressed that he could go the other way with power from the left side.”

The ability to use the entire field is a benefit that Duffy has, as he showed throughout the past season that he isn’t a typical pull-hitter. Here’s Duffy’s 2013 spray chart. 

Duffy has the ability to open up the field, which stops opposing teams from shifting against him.

It also explains how he has maintained a .293 batting average during the 2013 campaign, as he was always a threat to do damage when he stepped up the plate.

What doesn’t always get mentioned about Duffy is his above-average defense.

With the ability to play both First Base and the Outfield, Duffy carries a career .988 fielding percentage in his four years of minor league and independent baseball.

For a guy that is his size, it is amazing to watch how quick and smooth he moves on the field, as he makes some very difficult plays look routine. 

I’m not saying that he should be an everyday outfielder for a club, but his ability to play the position opens up possibilities for teams with a logjam at first base.

Along with being a quality player on the field, Duffy brings a character to a clubhouse that helps a team through a long and sometimes grueling season. 

When comparing him to current major league players in terms of character, he reminds me a lot of the guys that the Boston Red Sox signed last season that ultimately led them to another World Series title (Such as Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, and Jonny Gomes.)

The Jackals team this past season was like that Red Sox team, as they were built on character and players who played hard and enjoyed themselves throughout the season. 

“Chris is one of the very few who still plays the game like a kid,” said Chris Curran, a former Washington Nationals prospect who played with Duffy for the Jackals during the 2013 season. “He’s great player, but an even better teammate.”

Should an MLB Give Duffy a Shot?

As a broadcaster for the Jackals this past season, I was lucky enough to get to know the team and learn a little about each player.

When I saw this story break, I couldn’t be happier that Duffy, who was recently traded to Sioux Falls of the American Association, still hasn’t given up his dream of playing in the big leagues. 

If I was a General Manager, I wouldn’t hesitate to sign Duffy, as he could be an impact in any lineup when given the opportunity to do so.

I believe that through his recent numbers and what he adds to a team on and off that field that he deserves another shot at achieving his ultimate goal. 

In a game where the amount of quality First Baseman is low, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a chance on Duffy, who still has a lot of potential and talent left in him.

Duffy has great numbers in his Minor League Career, so with a lot more interest given to MoneyBall Players, who wouldn’t want a 3 slash line of .298/.393/.484 somewhere in their organization, and potentially be vying for a Major league Roster Spot?

You never know, a low-risk signing could lead to a high reward for some lucky team who decides to take the gamble.

Duffy showed throughout the 2013 season that he has the ability to hit the baseball to different parts of the field. As a left-handed hitter, it is beneficial to Duffy to be able to hit the baseball to the opposite field, as it takes away the possibility of the opposing team putting a defensive shift on him. Chris Duffy celebrating with teammate Bryan Sabatella after hitting a HR during the 2013 Season.

Duffy showed throughout the 2013 season that he has the ability to hit the baseball to different parts of the field. As a left-handed hitter, it is beneficial to Duffy to be able to hit the baseball to the opposite field, as it takes away the possibility of the opposing team putting a defensive shift on him. Here he is shown celebrating with teammate Bryan Sabatella after hitting a HR during the 2013 Season.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners ***

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A big thanks goes out to our Guest Writer Nicholas Delahanty for preparing today’s featured article.  Nicholas is a current student at Felician College, studying Broadcast Journalism with a minor in English.

He served as the Broadcast and Media Relations Intern for the New Jersey Jackals in 2013, and also hosts a radio show on WRFC Felician College Radio Station called ‘Around the Bases.’

Nicholas recently started working as a broadcaster for Felician College Basketball games, and is a student-writer for the college’s monthly magazine.

He volunteers as a baseball and basketball coach in Garfield, New Jersey, and also volunteers as the announcer for the town’s Junior Boilermaker Football program.

You can Follow Nicholas on Twitter 

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About nickdelahanty

Nick is a recent graduate of Felician College in Rutherford NJ, and already has a lot of experience in the Communications field. He spent the 2013 season as the New Jersey Jackals Broadcast and Media Relations Intern, and was promoted to Assistant Media Director in 2014. Before writing for Baseball Essential, Nick served as a Team Correspondent Writer for MLB Reports, and continues to write for them as a Featured Writer. You can follow Nick on Twitter @Nick_Delahanty

Posted on March 4, 2014, in MLB Player Profiles, On the Verge: MLB Prospects and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Chris Duffy Contacts All MLB Teams: Will He Get A Second Chance?.

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