Even though Duffy struggled at the new level and ultimately got sent back down to Lakewood, the things he learned there from future Hall of Famer Jim Thome stayed with him. Duffy told himself that when he returned, he would be a more complete player.
On Monday, the 24-year-old went 4-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs, but the Class A Lakewood Blue Claws fell, 9-8, to the Savannah Sand Gnats.
"When I was in Clearwater, Jim Thome was actually rehabbing there and I had a good talk with him," Duffy said. "He gave me the idea of having the goal of hitting the ball hard three times every night.
"It would have been a shame if I hadn't listened to him. He has 600 home runs, he knows what it takes. I want to be where he is. His approach has helped me."
Duffy ripped an RBI single back up the middle to plate Carlos Perdomo with two outs in the first inning, and he pulled a three-run homer to right field off Logan Verrett with one away in the third.
"The first home run, there were runners on second and third [base] and i was looking for a pitch to drive to get those runs in," he said. "He left a 2-0 curveball up and I got it up in the air. It was just a product of my approach.
"I just tried to react to it, you don't try to anticipate anything. You're just trying to go up the middle. It worked out."
Duffy then sent a ball out of the deepest part of the ballpark in center field for a solo homer in the fifth -- his 10th of the year -- before grounding out in the eighth. He singled again in the ninth to move the possible tying run to second base, but Aaron Altherr grounded out to end the game.
"He came at me with a first-pitch fastball," Duffy said of his second blast. "I just figure he thought that since I hit a curveball the last time he was going to throw me a fastball, but I connected with it."
The outing helped raise Duffy's South Atlantic League batting average to .398. He is hitting 18-for-37 (.486) over his last 10 games and he is 11-for-13 with three homers and 12 RBIs in the current homestand against the Sand Gnats.
"I can't complain," said Duffy, selected by the Phillies in the 26th round of the 2010 Draft out of the University of Central Florida. "It's just a product of my approach.
"You won't always hit the ball hard three times a game, but that's what I'm trying to do. You do that by putting good swings on good pitches to hit. It's easier said than done, but you can do it if you put your mind to it."
Duffy began the year in Lakewood, but he spent just seven games there before being moved up to Class A Advanced Clearwater. In 20 games at the new level, Duffy hit .205 with two homers and nine RBIs.
"Sometimes in baseball you have to go through a struggle, like a roller coaster ride," explained Duffy, a native of New York in his third year of pro ball.
"I know I can hit at any level. Sometimes you have a down point during the season, but baseball has a way of evening itself out. I expect to do well and be great. I have high expectations of myself."
Verrett yielded six runs on eight hits over seven frames, but he did not factor into the decision. He fanned nine and did not walk a batter. T.J. Chism (3-2) scattered two hits over 1 1/3 innings to earn the win.
Lakewood starter Lino Martinez allowed four runs on six hits and three walks over five innings. Zach Cooper (0-1) surrendered one unearned run on one hit and a walk over two innings of work to take the loss in his second outing for the BlueClaws.