Royals' pitching prospect walks away

The more things change ... from Bob Dutton and the Kansas City Star:

    Left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy, one of the Royals’ top prospects, left camp late Tuesday night after informing club officials that he was quitting baseball.

    “Danny informed us [Tuesday] that his desire is to leave baseball at this time to reassess his life priorities,” assistant general manager J.J. Picollo confirmed in a statement released by the club.

    “Should Danny decide in the future to return to the game, we will be happy at that time to discuss the possibility.”

    Club officials say Duffy’s decision appears unrelated to a recent injury -- a strained left elbow -- that was expected to prevent him from pitching in games until mid-May.

1. The notion that there's no connection between Duffy's elbow injury and his decision to quit baseball strikes me as less than insightful. Some people, when they cross paths with adversity, just sort of give up. I'm not saying that's what happened here. But this does seem awfully coincidental.

2. Losing (for now, anyway) a pitcher like Duffy isn't the end of the world. Duffy's a 21-year-old who doesn't throw particularly hard and hasn't pitched against Double-A hitters yet. John Sickels rates him as a Grade B prospect, and 21-year-old Grade B pitchers don't typically win more than a couple of dozen games in the majors.

3. Still, this is a blow. The Royals need young pitchers. Michael Montgomery, their best pitching prospect, also hasn't pitched above Class A yet. Aaron Crow, their second-best best pitching prospect, is 23 and hasn't pitched professionally yet. Essentially, the Royals are two seasons away from even beginning to hope that one of their pitching prospects wins a dozen games for the big club.

In other words, business as usual for the worst organization in the American League.