Tyler Blinn Duffey
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 230 lb.
- School Rice University
- High School Bellaire High School¸
- Debut August 5, 2015
Starting pitcher Tyler Duffey began his professional career in 2012 and reached the major leagues in 2015.
He was taken by the Minnesota Twins in the 5th round of the 2012 amateur draft, one pick after Andrew Aplin and one slot ahead of shortstop Chris Taylor. With the Elizabethton Twins that year, he made 12 relief appearances, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA. In 19 innings, he allowed only 10 hits and two walks, while striking out 27 batters.
Primarily a starter in 2013, the hurler was 7-7 with a 3.64 ERA in 24 games (18 starts) between the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Fort Myers Miracle. A Midwest League Mid-Season All-Star, Duffey controlled the ball well, allowing only 23 walks in 121 innings. On April 7th, he was the starting pitcher in a no-hitter against the Beloit Snappers (he was relieved by Josue Montanez, who was then relieved by Tim Atherton). He reached Triple-A for the first time in 2014. Most of the campaign was spent with the Miracle and New Britain Rock Cats, but he also made three starts for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, going 2-0 with a 3.94 ERA. As a whole, he went 13-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 25 starts that year. In 149 1/3 innings, he walked only 30 batters.
He began the 2015 season with the Chattanooga Lookouts. the Twins' new AA affiliate, where he went 2-2, 2.56 in 8 starts. At the end of May, he moved up to Rochester and made 13 starts there, going 4-6, 2.72. On August 5th, he made his major league debut in a start against the Toronto Blue Jays. He was given a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning but was hit hard and could not hold it, giving up 6 runs in 2 innings, including homers by Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista, the latter a grand slam, and was charged with Minnesota's 9-7 loss. He was neither the first nor the last pitcher to be battered by the hard-hitting Blue Jays that year, however, and did better in his following outings. On September 20th, he had an excellent start against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim when he gave up no runs on 3 hits in 7 innings and was credited with an 8-1 win as both teams were battling for a wild card slot. The win improved his record on the year to 4-1.
On August 17, 2019, he was awarded a belated win by the official scorer, 24 hours after a appearance against the Texas Rangers. In that game, he had come in with two outs and two on in the 6th with the Twins trailing, 3-2, and struck out the only batter he faced, Rougned Odor. The Twins then took the lead in the top of the 7th and held it the rest of the way, but the win was initially awarded to Sam Dyson, who followed him on the mound and pitched one scoreless frame, until the official reversal a day later. Looking a gift horse in the mouth, Duffey commented: "Wins for relievers don't really hold any water anyway. I guess it's cool." He went 5-1, 2.50 in 51 games that season, striking out an outstanding 82 batters in 57 2/3 innings. He made his postseason debut that season, but was roughed up by the New York Yankees in the Division Series, allowing 4 runs in 1 2/3 innings.
In 2020, Duffey pitched 22 times in relief for the Twins during the pandemic-shortened season, posting an ERA of just 1.88 and striking out 31 batters in 24 innings. His record was 1-1. He returned to the postseason and did somewhat better than the previous year, with 1 run allowed in 2 innings as the Twins were once again swept, this time by the Houston Astros in the Wild Card Series. In 2021, with the Twins' bullpen off to a historically bad start in May and with his control failing him to the tune of 10 walks in his first 14 1/3 innings, he decided that he was the one who should mete out divine justice for trespasses against the unwritten rules of baseball. On May 17th, Yermín Mercedes of the Chicago White Sox, had homered off an eephus pitch by position player Willians Astudillo in the 9th inning of a 16-4 laugher. Somehow, the Twins decided that Mercedes should be punished for having swung at the ridiculous offering on a 3-0 count, and in the 7th inning on May 18th, he threw a pitch behind him to send him some sort of message. All he earned for his stunt was to get himself and his skipper, Rocco Baldelli, ejected from the game. Of course, he claimed it was simply a slider that had got away from him, not absolutely impossible given his recent control issues.