Royals pitching prospect quits baseball

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The Royals’ Danny Duffy isn’t necessarily an elite prospect, but he is considered their most advanced minor league starter, has played in the futures game and seems to have a good shot at playing in the majors one day.  That is he did before yesterday, when he quit.

According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, Duffy left camp on Tuesday night after informing the team that
he was quitting baseball and “reassessing his life priorities.”  Duffy has had an elbow injury this spring and wasn’t slated to start pitching until mid-May. No word if the injury had anything to do with it or if something else is going on.

And really, who knows? If recent history is any guide it could be anything from drugs to anxiety to a desire to join the priesthood to the sincere belief that he can make a career in the movies.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: