26-year-old Matt Duffy, Pacific Coast League MVP this season, will be called up by the Houston Astros on Monday.
This is a different Matt Duffy than the one enjoying a breakout season for the San Francisco Giants, to be certain. The Astros' Duffy was drafted in 2011 and has spent parts of the past four seasons in the minor leagues, working toward an eventual call-up.
That promotion has arrived after Duffy hit .294 this season with Triple-A Fresno, slugging 20 home runs for the Grizzlies in the process.
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As manager A.J. Hinch told Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle on Sunday, the club isn't promoting him merely as a reward for a strong season. Rather, they fully believe he'll be able to help them maintain their AL West lead.
"We feel like he can help us," Hinch told Drellich, adding, "And he certainly brings an added benefit to our team, otherwise we wouldn't do it. Especially with him still playing (with Fresno). So, we obviously see that he can do some things for us that warrant a call-up. So we'll see how it plays out."
Hinch added that Duffy, primarily a third baseman, might be utilized as a bench player for the time being due to the Astros' depth, but did leave the door open for a bigger role. As he said to Drellich, "But who knows? Never say never. Sometimes you get sparks when guys get up here and get their first taste of the big leagues."
Houston enters play Monday with a one and a half game lead over the Texas Rangers and a four-game series in Arlington kicking off Monday night. Duffy is being thrust right into the middle of pennant chase, and how he handles his first promotion to the big leagues will be worth watching as the week unfolds.