Cubs: Matt Duffy’s versatility has been a pleasant surprise

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs’ 2021 regular season has been surprising thus far. One of the biggest surprises is how strong the team’s offense has been. At the very beginning of the season in early April, the bats were quiet, and the team simply couldn’t get hitting. However, with time the bats have woken up, and they are finally looking competent. One of the most unexpected contributors to this phenomenon is Matt Duffy.

Duffy, 30, has had a rather rough few years as he was plagued with injures. But, when he was named a non-roster invitee and earned a spot with the Cubs for 2021, things began looking up. Duffy had a downfall over the past six years. In 2015, he was with the San Francisco Giants and finished runner-up to Kris Bryant for the National League Rookie of the Year award. At this point, things were looking good for Duffy and his future.

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Following that 2015 season, Duffy bounced around the majors, being a part of quite a few organizations, and ended up having to fight to keep his spot in the big leagues. During his time with these clubs, Duffy missed all of 2017 due to Achilles and heel injuries. Fast forward to 2019, he was sidelined with a hamstring injury, and he spent all of the 2020 pandemic plagued season down in the New York Yankees minor league system at their alternative site.

Considering this, Duffy’s best season by far was his rookie campaign with the Giants, and there was not a great deal of hope for him before ending up in Chicago. During his time down at spring training with the Chicago Cubs, Duffy proved himself through quality at-bats, defensive versatility, and his potential as a bench player. He also had significant numbers throughout his career when he was healthy that helped his case.

Matt Duffy proved himself a valuable, versatile asset to the Chicago Cubs

Ross took a chance on Duffy and is letting him show his stuff in Chicago. It is rather difficult for any player to prove their worth with limited playing time off the bench, but Duffy was given an oppurtunity beyond that.

With outfielder Joc Pederson falling to injury, Duffy was given regular playing time and has been on fire. Entering play Tuesday, Duffy is slashing .273/.407/.318. Throughout this time, Duffy rose as one of the Cubs’ most consistent hitters. Not only that, he is versatile defensively since he can play at second, third, and short.

Duffy’s adaptability to the Chicago Cubs’ situation was incredibly valuable for the team and Duffy vying for a successful season. HIs offensive and defensive success show that Duffy still has what it takes to sustain a role at the major league level. Since Pederson has rejoined the Cubs, Duffy will probably shift back to his reserve role shortly. Bryant will be moving back from the outfield to third to accommodate Pederson’s return, sending Duffy to the bench.

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After the past number of years, this is a bright spot for Duffy, and since he has been through so much, he will be able to adapt to whatever his time in Chicago brings him going forward.