Matt Duffy – the Fresno Grizzlies’ offensive machine – was rewarded for his consistent production Thursday, named the Most Valuable Player of the Pacific Coast League.
Duffy received more than half of the votes from the league’s 16 managers and media representatives to beat Reno’s Jamie Romak, Tacoma’s Jesus Montero and former Fresno teammate Domingo Santana, now playing with Colorado Springs.
Duffy is the second Grizzlies player to receive the PCL’s highest honor, joining 1999 MVP Calvin Murray.
Manager Tony DeFrancesco called a team meeting four hours before the Grizzlies’ game to announce the news.
Duffy pushed the praise onto his teammates.
“Everyone in that clubhouse has done their job, so it’s just been great to be around that group of guys, and (this award) is a testament to them,” Duffy said.
The 26-year-old Duffy, named the All-PCL third baseman Monday, has been a massive part of the Grizzlies’ historic season, helping them win their first division title since 1998 and end a 16-year postseason drought.
It’s cool to share this with my teammates and something I’ll definitely remember for a long time.
Matt Duffy, on being named the Pacific Coast League’s Most Valuable Player
“The real Matt Duffy,” as he’s known by his teammates because he shares the name with San Francisco’s rookie third baseman, has played a team-high 124 games and delivered 102 RBIs and 90 runs to lead Triple-A in both categories. He’s batting .295 (141 for 478), leads the team in doubles with 29, is second in homers with 18 and also has two triples.
“It’s a great accomplishment for him,” DeFrancesco said. “He came into spring training with a mission, and he’s become our top hitter.”
“The guy doesn’t want to come out of the ballgame; he’s a bulldog out there. I’m really proud of him,” he added.
Duffy is the first Astros Triple-A player to be the PCL’s MVP since RH Donne Wall with Tucson in 1995. The last Astros Triple-A position player to win was James Mouton in 1993.
It’s been a record-breaking season Duffy and the Grizzlies; it’s the Boston native’s first MVP honor in five seasons in the minors, and he is six RBIs off Fresno’s franchise season record set by Scott McClain in 2008.
The Grizzlies (81-57) also are one win from setting a franchise season high with five games to play.
“I just try to come and work hard and help the team win,” Duffy said. “Sometimes it bounces your way, and it’s been a great year for me, but an even better year for the team. So it’s awesome, I just hope we continue our success and get some momentum going for the playoffs and make a deep run.”
The league’s Manager of the Year will be announced Friday.
Matt Duffy file
Height/weight: 6-3/215 pounds
Position: Third/first base
Draft: 20th round out of Tennessee by the Houston Astros in 2011
Other notables: Shares same name as San Francisco Giants rookie third baseman; the two are not related but met briefly when playing against each other in Class-A in 2012.