Tag: Danny Duffy

Chukars Notebook: Q&A with recently released Josh Banuelos

Josh Banuelos slides into third base during the bottom of the first inning of the Idaho Falls Chukars’ 2015 season opener against the Grand Junction Rockies at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Josh Banuelos slides into third base during the bottom of the first inning of the Idaho Falls Chukars’ 2015 season opener against the Grand Junction Rockies at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

Less than a year after a successful season with the Idaho Falls Chukars, the Kansas City Royals released Josh Banuelos from his minor-league contract.

Banuelos, a 28th-round pick in the 2014 MLB draft, played nine games for Single-A Lexington and 26 for Advanced Single-A Wilmington this season. Overall, he hit .194 with a .614 OPS.

Banuelos, 24, played for the Mexican League’s Tijuana Toros for about a month after his release. The first baseman returned to his hometown of Hanford, Calif., last week.

Banuelos recently discussed his release and his three-year professional career.

(Note: this Q&A has been edited for clarity and length)

Is your baseball career over?

“As of right now, I told myself I’m done with baseball. I was actually gonna go back to the college I got drafted out of [Fresno Pacific] and try to coach there, be an undergrad assistant, and have them pay for my college so I can finish my degree (in sociology, plus a minor and criminology).”

“I’m still gonna be training as if I’m gonna go back, but as of right now, something dramatic has to happen.”

Have you talked to any MLB clubs since being released?

“When I got released, I got a couple of phone calls. They said they were interested. But it came at a tough time with the draft just happening. There wasn’t a lot of space for me at the time. That’s why I want to be prepared and train if I was to play again, just in case I do get that phone call.”

You were a Pioneer League All-Star and finished the season hitting .357 last year with the Chukars. Did any part of you think you’d get released a year later?

“Heck no. When it happened, everyone was so surprised. I got so many texts from the guys: ‘Are you serious? How could they do that after the year you just put up?’ There are guys who haven’t really shown anything. I don’t want to talk bad about anyone. They’re all my friends still. But after the year I put up, how could that happen?”

Who broke the news to you about your release?

“It was Charlie Corbell, the High A pitching coach. We just got back from a road trip. We were going to start the all-star break. He pulled me into the office and was like, ‘Sorry, we’ve gotta release you.’

What else did he and the Royals tell you?

“They said that the organization is going a different way. I didn’t really get what it meant.”

“I kinda figured it was going to happen sooner or later. I wasn’t really getting a lot of chances. I got left in extended spring training again. I didn’t break with a full-season team this year. Right then and there, I knew that it wasn’t my time. Then went to Low A, and I kinda sat on the bench there. I got bumped up to High-A, and I kinda sat on the bench there, too.”

So you were expecting to get released?

“I wasn’t really expecting it, it was more of a relief off my shoulders. It was a relief because I was debating, ‘Should I ask for my release? What should I do? I don’t want to be a quitter, so I’ll stick it out.’

Did the Royals give you specific reasons for releasing you?

“(Assistant general manager J.J. Picollo) kinda explained to me in spring training why I was left off the roster. He told me, ‘It comes down to money. Other guys have a lot more money than you.’ Which I told him I understood: ‘You have a business to run. I have no regrets and no hate toward the Royals. You guys gave me an opportunity, the dream of my lifetime, to come play with you guys.’ To this day, I don’t hate them or anything. I have nothing but love for the Royals organization.”

If your career is in fact over, what will you miss the most about affiliated ball?

“Just being around the guys. You create that bond with them. For instance, (Amalani Fukofuka) and I were real close last year in Idaho. This was our third year on a team together. You create bonds with people who you care about so much. A lot of these guys are going to be at your wedding one day.”

FORMER CHUKARS HONORED

Former Chukars Cheslor Cuthbert and Danny Duffy were named the Kansas City Royals player and pitcher of the month, respectively.

For the month of July, Cuthbert hit .340 with a .862 OPS and two home runs in 102 plate appearances. The third baseman played 14 games for I.F. in 2010 at the age of 17.

Duffy pitched 34 innings in five starts last month. The left-hander had a 3.18 ERA, allowed 31 hits, walked six and struck out 31. Those numbers don’t even include Monday’s start, one of the best by any MLB pitcher this season. Duffy pitched eight scoreless innings against Tampa Bay, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out 16 Rays.

Duffy made two starts for the Chukars in 2010 as a 21-year-old.

WHO’S HOT?

2B Jordan Ebert

Ebert has been hot since he joined the Chukars in late June. Through Friday, he was batting .349 with an .842 OPS in 66 at-bats for I.F. Last Sunday, Ebert went 4 for 4 with his first home run of the season.

WHO’S NOT?

OF Rudy Martin

Martin’s batting average reached .350 and his OPS was .935 on July 21. Heading into Saturday, those figured dropped to .224 and .658. Martin had gone 4 for 39 (.103) with one extra-base hit in his eight games since July 21.

Duffy nearing MLB return; June 30 ex-Chukar update

The Kansas City Royals reinstated left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy (2010 Chukar) from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday and he threw five shutout innings for the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate, the Omaha Storm Chasers, later in the day. He had made three previous rehab starts while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Duffy made 20 starts for Kansas City in 2011 and six starts for the Royals in 2012 before his injury.

… Right-handed pitcher Santiago Garrido (2009-10 Chukar) threw one scoreless inning for the North Division All-Stars on Tuesday in the Texas League All-Star Game. Garrido was the second pitcher of the night for the North Division and induced a ground ball, a fly ball and a lineout in nine pitches during a perfect inning.

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Weekly ex-Chukar update

  • Journeyman RP David Pauley has finally found a home with the Seattle Mariners. The 2001 Idaho Falls Padre made brief appearances with the Boston Red Sox in 2006 and 2008. But it’s in Seattle that he’s really shined. Despite surrendering two runs and taking the loss Thursday, the right-handed reliever leads all Mariners pitchers in ERA, 2.06, and WHIP, 0.97, entering Saturday. He spent time with the Padres, Red Sox and Orioles before joining the Mariners in 2010.
  • The Kansas City Royals recalled SP Danny Duffy (2010) to the Major League club Tuesday to face the Chicago White Sox. Duffy responded and pitched seven innings for his second big league win, besting the White Sox’s SP Jake Peavy, a 1999 Idaho Falls Padre, to do it. To make room for Duffy, the Royals sent RP Everett Teaford (2006) back to Triple-A. In 17 appearances with the Royals this year, Teaford has a 2.25 ERA.

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Weekly ex-Chukar update

  • SP Greg Billo (2010 Chukar) is dominating the Midwest League after struggling in the homer-happy Pioneer League. Just one year removed from a 5.17 ERA campaign in Idaho Falls, Billo leads all of minor league baseball with a 1.38 ERA with the Royals’ Low-A affiliate, the Kane County Cougars. The next closest pitcher is the Brewers’ Tyler Thornburg with a 1.89 ERA between the Midwest League and the High-A Florida State League. Part of Billo’s success comes from a bump in his average fastball to 88 to 92 mph. He’s topped out at 94. In his last 10 appearances, he’s allowed more than one run just once. And on the season, he’s averaging 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

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Duffy, Teaford swap spots on MLB roster

The Kansas City Royals optioned starting pitcher Danny Duffy (2010 Chukar) to AAA Omaha on Friday, replacing him with left-hander reliever Everett Teaford (2006).

But Duffy’s demotion has nothing to do with his performance, the Kansas City Star says. In fact, the demotion comes after a strong, two-run, six-inning outing from Duffy.

Instead, the move is because of the Royals’ unique six-man rotation and the all-star break. With the extra days off for the break, Duffy was scheduled to go 12 days in between starts with the Royals, something the Royals balked at.

So they sent him down to AAA to get a start with the plan to bring him back to the bigs to face the White Sox on July 19.

Meanwhile, Teaford gives the Royals another arm in the bullpen.

Ex-Chukar highlights

  • The Kansas City Royals sent RP Everett Teaford (2006 Chukar) down to Triple-A Friday to make room for starting pitcher Bruce Chen, who just came off the disabled list. In 14 appearances out of the bullpen, Teaford was 0-0 with a 2.84 ERA. Left-handed batters were 3 for 19 (.158) against him.
  • SP Danny Duffy (2010) struck out nine straight in 3.2 innings with the Royals on June 19 before a calf cramp forced him to leave the game. But with Kyle Davies set to return from the DL, he may be the next arm headed back to AAA Omaha.
  • OF Wil Myers (2009) was selected Thursday to the 13th annual XM All-Star Futures Game on July 10 in Phoenix. The all-star game pits the best prospects in the minor leagues against each other on U.S. and World rosters as part of MLB’s all-star weekend. ESPN2 will air the July 10 game at 4 p.m. Mountain Time. The 20-year-old is hitting .295/.366/.418 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) in AA this year as he makes the transition from catcher to right field.

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Thursday’s links and notes

  • OF Wil Myers (2009 Chukar) was selected today to the 13th annual XM All-Star Futures Game on July 10 at Chase Field in Phoenix. The all-star game pits the best prospects in the minor leagues against each other on U.S. and World rosters as part of MLB’s all-star weekend. ESPN2 will air the July 10 game at 4 p.m. Mountain Time. The 20-year-old is hitting .295/.366/.418 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) in AA this year as he makes the transition from catcher to right field. Fellow Royals prospect Kelvin Herrera, a pitcher, was also named to the team. He never played in Idaho Falls.
  • SP Danny Duffy (2010) will likely be bumped down to AAA after his next start with Bruce Chen and Kyle Davies set to return for the disabled list, the team’s website reports.In seven starts, he’s 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA.

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Ex-Chukar links and notes, Opening Day

Last year, I started an ex-Chukars update on the Sunday Chukars Extra page. But I don’t wait until Sunday to scour for all the latest news. I’ve set up a Google Reader account with loads of sources and write up a running notebook over the week. Most of that never makes the Sunday page.

So since we have this site back, and I figure you’re interested in keeping up with all the latest ex-Chukar news, here’s my first installment. It won’t always be titled “Ex-Chukars links and notes.” But by clicking on the “Ex-Chukars” category in the left-handed menu or a the bottom of the post, you’ll be able to find all the ex-Chukar news.

Let me know what you think of the new feature.

• On the big-league club, Blake Wood (2006 Chukar) tossed a scoreless seventh inning last night to improve to 3-0 and lower his ERA to 2.43. The Royals’ team website has a feature on his mechanical adjustments. Wood and RHP Greg Holland (2007) are part of a three-man rotation for the setup role, the Kansas City Star reports.

• Kansas City starting pitcher Danny Duffy (2010) struck out nine straight in 3.2 innings for the Royals before a calf cramp forced him out of the game. The St. Louis Cardinals did score two runs on three hits and a walk in the first inning.

• 1B and fan favorite Murray Watts (2010) showed up on the opening day roster of the rookie-level Burlington Royals. Burlington is considered a half step below Idaho Falls, where he was a Pioneer League all-star after hitting .279/.389/.506 last season. But the big first baseman struggled in his promotion to Low-A Kane County, hitting .211/.354/.289 in 35 games this spring.

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Moose promoted to K.C.

With the Royals calling up third baseman Mike Moustakas (2007 Chukar) to the big leagues, that makes seven ex-Chukars on the MLB roster.

The seven includes: Moustakas, first baseman/designated hitter Billy Butler (2004 Chukar), first baseman Eric Hosmer (2008), left-handed starting pitcher Danny Duffy (2010), right-handed reliever Blake Wood (2006) and Greg Holland (2007), and left-handed reliever Everett Teaford (2006).