Matt Duffy almost started the season in the minors. With the benefit of hindsight, that seems ludicrous. He's one of the Giants' best players now, clearly. Back then, though, it was possible to make a cogent argument that he needed regular at-bats, not the couple dozen that Joaquin Arias got every month.
Look at where we are right now. We're talking about David Price and Jordan Zimmermann, not David Price. Duffy has a lot to do with that. So even though Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is almost certainly going to win the 2015 National League Rookie of the Year, it's a good time to appreciate that Duffy rode a meteor to get here, and he had one of the most unlikely and productive rookie seasons in San Francisco Giants history. He's one of the three finalists for the RoY award, with Bryant and Pirates infielder Jung-Ho Kang.
If WAR's your thing, Duffy was the second-best rookie in San Francisco history:
|1||Jim Ray Hart
|5||Robby Thompson (RoY-2nd)||3.4|
|8||Willie McCovey (RoY-1st)||3.1|
|9||Orlando Cepeda (RoY-1st)||3.1|
Not bad, considering he wasn't the full-time starter until May. Duffy's absurdly unexpected season was as devoid of peaks and valleys as I've ever seen from a rookie -- it was just a nice, even peak. The defense wasn't just adequate, it was stellar. Duffy is also a finalist for the Gold Glove at third, which will be announced later on Tuesday.
Regardless if Duffy finishes second or third in the voting, this will be the highest finish for a Giants rookie since Buster Posey won the award in 2010. It would be just horrible if Duffy finished third in both the RoY and Gold Glove voting, then finished third in next year's MVP. Just horrible, I tell you.
The fact that you can chuckle and then squint and mutter, "Maybe, just maybe" is a testament to just how far we've come. Last year he was a candidate to help the Giants on the bench. This year, he was a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate. Next year, he's a huge part of why the Giants hope to be successful.
Congratulations to Matt Duffy, who didn't strike out 199 times, like some other rookie third basemen we could name, smh. Duffy was never considered a serious prospect, yet now he's a part of the Giants' future. It seems absurd and impossible. When you watch him play, you wonder what in the heck everyone missed.