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More on Chris Duffy

I now wonder if I was wrong to criticize Jim Tracy for whatever role his coaching might have had in Chris Duffy's poor performance this year. I did point out that Duffy is a low-upside player, but didn't spell out what that might mean.

One poster at the Unofficial Pirates Message Board is arguing, rather sensibly, I think, that it's not particularly fair to criticize Tracy for messing Duffy up if before the season you believed, like I did, that Duffy wasn't going to amount to much anyway. I did think that a Tike Redman-like collapse was likely for Duffy this season because he's not young and he wouldn't continue to hit for a very high batting average. He'll only take a walk occasionally and doesn't have much power, so Duffy without at least a .300 average is unlikely to be a productive player. If Tracy and company recognized that and tried to make adjustments so that Duffy could succeed by drawing walks and taking advantage of his speed, that might reflect well on them, not poorly. They took a risk, it didn't work out, and very little has been lost, since Duffy probably wasn't going to amount to much anyway.

The troubles here are that we don't know what effect the coaching had, that Duffy isn't the first player to complain about the Pirates' coaching making them worse, and that Tracy has earned absolutely no slack from Pirates fans. Who knows what happened, but in this particular case it was probably premature of me to partially blame Duffy's struggles on Tracy.