Duffy's mom essential to his development as pitcher

Danny Duffy, SP, Royals
Hometown: Goletta, Calif.

Duffy, a California kid born and raised with the laid-back, gregarious personality to match, started honing his skills on the mound with his mother.

The left-hander from Goletta started hurtling his fastball -- which now reaches the mid-90s -- at his mom/bullpen catcher, Deanna.

"From Day 1, she was out there catching bullpen [sessions] for me," said Duffy. "I think she did until I was up there touching 90 [mph]. She was out there with shin guards and catching 'em."

Duffy used these sessions to dominate the competition at Cabrillo High School in Lompoc. The Royals drafted him in the third round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, and he went on to become the second Cabrillo graduate to reach the Majors. Gary Hargis played a single game in 1979 for the Pirates.

Duffy is now part of a five-man rotation that features three California natives, and a fourth that played college baseball in the Golden State.

Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.