Giants rookie Matt Duffy had a terrific season

Posted on November 16, 2015

Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants waits in the on deck circle during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on Sunday, August 30, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

 

The San Francisco Giants did not make the postseason in 2015, yet the year was not a disappointment thanks to the play of many fine rookies on the ball club, led by the kid from Long Beach, California, Matt Duffy. Taking over the starting third base job in May and finishing the season by playing in the Giants final 118 games, Duffy quickly established himself as one of the most durable players on the club and most clutch hitters in the league with a .366 average with runners in scoring position. His season ending numbers of .295/12/77 were crazy good for a rookie. Add to that his perfect 12 steals in 12 attempts shows you what a threat he is on the base paths.

Duffy did not win the National League Rookie of the Year Award today. The winner was Chicago Cubs slugger Kris Bryant. Bryant had big offensive numbers and helped lead his team to the playoffs, but Giants fans will never forget the year the Long Beach State Dirtbag had in 2015. Learning to play a new position in the big leagues- which is pretty impossible to do- Duffy was named one of three finalists for the National League Gold Glove Award at third base. Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado won the award, but just being named a finalist was a huge deal for Duffy. The Giants have a third baseman for the next several years. Along with Gold Glove shortstop Brandon Crawford, second baseman Joe Panik, and first baseman Brandon Belt, the Giants have the best home-grown infield in all of baseball.

Duffy’s rise from AA ball to help the 2014 club win the World Series with his great play off the bench was fresh on everyone’s mind when spring training camp opened in Scottsdale in February of this year. Duffy was projected by the so-called experts to start the season in the minor leagues, or maybe make the club as a utility infielder. Duffy had other things on his mind. He went out and hit a blistering .388 in the Cactus League, and was elected by his teammates as the winner of the Barney Nugent award as the most impressive player in his first big league spring camp. After winning the award it was still not clear if Duffy would break camp with the big club. “There’s a positive in everything. If I’m in Triple-A, I’ll be getting at-bats and getting experience that will definitely help. Either way, I’m going to take it as an opportunity to improve and build on things to get better and help the team win games,” Duffy said to San Jose Mercury News beat writer Andrew Baggarly. It’s easy to forget how different the Giants roster looked back in the spring.

As a photographer I had so much fun shooting Duffy this season, along with his other rookie teammates that did so much to help the team during the season. I wrote a little bit about the amazing job rookie infielder Kelby Tomlinson did when he came up from AA ball to replace the injured Panik at second base. Tomlinson was just fabulous hitting .303 in 54 games with the big club, quickly becoming a fan-favorite and proving to everyone he is a great candidate to play an important role on the 2016 team. Other kids like Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker, and Trevor Brown were terrific down the stretch. They brought a lot of excitement and energy to the team that helped keep them in contention till the end. They also made for some great pictures, which always makes me happy.

Speaking of pictures, let’s take a look back at Duffy’s career with the Giants through then lenses of my Canon cameras and iPhones.

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Instagram of the Duffman bat decal on the bat belonging to Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants before Game 3 of the NLCS between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on October 13, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants hits a single during Game 4 of the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals at AT&T Park on Saturday, October 25, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos)

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Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants celebrates with the World Series Trophy in the clubhouse after defeat the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos)

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Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants celebrates with the World Series Trophy in the clubhouse after defeat the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos)

Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants waves to the fans on Market Street during the World Series parade on Friday, October 31, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants waves to the fans on Market Street during the World Series parade on Friday, October 31, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Instagram of Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants posing for a portrait on picture day during spring training at Scottsdale Stadium on February 27, 2015 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #50 of the San Francisco Giants waits in the dugout before the San Francisco Giants 2014 World Series Ring ceremony before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos)

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Yusmeiro Petit #52, Matt Duffy #50, and Javier Lopez #49 of the San Francisco Giants look at their World Series rings during the San Francisco Giants 2014 World Series Ring ceremony before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos)

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Matt Duffy #50 of the San Francisco Giants displays his World Series ring during the San Francisco Giants 2014 World Series Ring ceremony before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos)

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Matt Duffy #50 of the San Francisco Giants stands for the National Anthem during the San Francisco Giants 2014 World Series Ring ceremony before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos)

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Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants slides home safely against the San Diego Padres during the game at AT&T Park on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants sits in the dugout during the game against the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park on Sunday, May 31, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants runs the bases against the Atlanta Braves during the game at AT&T Park on Sunday, May 31, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Atlanta Braves during the game at AT&T Park on Sunday, May 31, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants watches from the dugout during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on Friday, June 12, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants makes a play at third base against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the game at AT&T Park on Friday, June 12, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the game at AT&T Park on Friday, June 12, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the game at AT&T Park on Saturday, June 13, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants makes a play at third base against the San Diego Padres during the game at AT&T Park on Thursday, June 25, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants holds a bat in the dugout during the game against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park on Thursday, June 25, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants hits a home run in the bottom of the 6th inning against the Colorado Rockies during the game at AT&T Park on Sunday, June 28, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants plays defense at third base against the Oakland Athletics during the game at AT&T Park on Saturday, July 25, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants talks to coach Ron Wotus #10 before the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, August 7, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants bats during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, August 7, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants runs to first base during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, August 7, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants runs to first base during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, August 7, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants talks with teammate Matt Duffy #5 during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, August 7, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants bats during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Saturday, August 8, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants chases a foul pop up during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sunday, August 9, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants makes a play at third base base during the game against the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park on Friday, August 14, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants hits a home run against the Washington Nationals during the game at AT&T Park on Friday, August 14, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants waits in the on deck circle during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on Sunday, August 30, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the St. Louis Cardinals during the game at AT&T Park on Sunday, August 30, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants chases an infield pop up against the San Diego Padres during the game at AT&T Park on Sunday, September 13, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants runs the bases against the San Diego Padres during the game at AT&T Park on Sunday, September 13, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants makes a play at third base against the San Diego Padres during the game at AT&T Park on Sunday, September 13, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Buster Posey #28 and Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants laugh in the dugout during the game against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park on Sunday, September 13, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Instagram of Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants getting ready to hit in the dugout during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Park on September 15, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 and Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants get ready in the dugout before the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on Saturday, September 26, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants makes a play at third base against the Oakland Athletics during the game at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, September 27, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants runs off the field during the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, September 27, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants puts on his hat during a break in the action against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game at AT&T Park on Thursday, October 1, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants talks with his father Tom Duffy in the dugout before ceremonies on the field honoring Duffy for winning the Willie Mac Award, named after former Giants great Willie McCovey, before the game against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Friday, October 2, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants poses for a picture with his father Tom Duffy in the dugout before ceremonies on the field honoring Duffy for winning the Willie Mac Award, named after former Giants great Willie McCovey, before the game against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Friday, October 2, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants shakes hands with former Giants during ceremonies on the field before accepting the Willie Mac Award, named after former Giants great Willie McCovey, before the game against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Friday, October 2, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants shakes hands with former Giants during ceremonies on the field before accepting the Willie Mac Award, named after former Giants great Willie McCovey, before the game against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Friday, October 2, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants speaks to fans during ceremonies on the field after accepting the Willie Mac Award, named after former Giants great Willie McCovey, before the game against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Friday, October 2, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants poses for a picture with former Giants great Willie McCovey after accepting the Willie Mac Award, named after McCovey, before the game against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Friday, October 2, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants hugs his father Tom Duffy on the field after ceremonies honoring Duffy for winning the Willie Mac Award, named after former Giants great Willie McCovey, before the game against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Friday, October 2, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Colorado Rockies during the game at AT&T Park on Saturday, October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants waits in the on deck circle against the Colorado Rockies during the game at AT&T Park on Saturday, October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants smiles on the field during a break in the action against the Colorado Rockies during the game at AT&T Park on Saturday, October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates with his teammates after the game against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Saturday, October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Instagram of Kelby Tomlinson #37 and Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants standing for the National Anthem before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park on Thursday, October 1, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

As Duffy’s rookie campaign came to a close he penned a wonderful story for The Players’ Tribune entitled “The New Kid” that talked about what it was like being the new kid on a big league team. The story drew rave reviews from all around the sports world and gave people an inside look at what makes the kid tick. Perhaps the biggest clue about the new kid’s character was revealed on the night of October 2, 2015 when Duffy was announced the winner of the prestigious Willie Mac Award, given to the most inspirational player on the team as voted upon by Giants players, coaches, training staff and the fans. Duffy was the first Giants rookie to ever win the award (named after Hall of Famer Willie McCovey), which has been given out every year since 1980.

Above everything else Duffy is a great story about a kid from Long Beach who grew up playing ball on diamonds throughout the southland with a rare tenacity that pushed this undersized kid and 18th-round draft pick all the way to the Majors. This journey was beautifully illustrated in a fabulous photo essay by Matt’s father Tom Duffy in The Players’ Tribune, A Father, a Son, and a Dream. This incredible set of over 70 pictures documents Duffy’s journey to the big leagues from the age of 2. It is not to be missed.

Giants fans have lots to look forward to in 2016. So many guys will be back and healthy, including Hunter Pence and Panik. The club is likely to be active in the free agent market and is sure to sign one or two big-time pitchers. They have also found themselves a third baseman in Matt Duffy, and that is a very cool thing.

What Others Are Saying

  1. Tod Meinke November 16, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Always enjoy your work. Go Giants and keep making great pictures!

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