An Appreciation for Adam Duvall

To the roar of boos, Adam Duvall stepped up to the plate, 1 on, 2 out, in the bottom of the 7th. No, the crowd wasn’t booing at Duvall, rather the decision by Brian Snitker to remove Mike Foltynewicz after only throwing 81 pitches and holding the Cardinals to 3 hits, 0 runs, while piling up 7 strikeouts. We all know how the at-bat ended, but would the booing have happened, if, let’s say, the mass of fans were aware of how great Adam Duvall had been in a Braves uniform for the 2019 season? Maybe, but most didn’t.

At the 2018 deadline, the Braves swapped 3 players that had likely seen their last days in a Braves MLB uniform for Duvall. While players like Preston Tucker, Matt Wisler, and Lucas Sims are high(ish) ceiling guys that are great high risk/reward type pickups for rebuilding teams, they quickly become 40-man roster headaches for teams needing more from their 40-man. With Ender Inciarte driving the struggle bus and Ronald Acuna Jr. showing he could handle CF defensively, platooning with Ender and removing 40-man dead weight were the reasons why the Braves made this swap.

Duvall’s floor at the time of the trade was an elite defensive corner outfielder with poor on base skills and a large tendency to hit the ball a long way, especially against LHP. Unfortunately for Duvall, he didn’t get a chance to prove himself for too long as he really struggled in his first month as a Brave going 4-38, all 4 hits singles, and 3 walks. From there, it was mop-up time and a few starts in late September to prove/disprove worth, and apparently the Braves chose the latter as Duvall was left off of 2018’s postseason roster.

A little into the woods here, but for those not in the know, Duvall is a type-1 Diabetic, and I have a theory that the adjustment to the Atlanta heat played a toll on his body in 2018. In speaking with many people who are type-1 diabetics, the heat and humidity is an awful combination and can take a toll on the sugars present in the body. His career monthly splits support this argument, but thankful those splits didn’t show up in 2019.

Now back to the lecture.

Fast-forward to 2019 Spring Training and it was more of the same for Duvall as he carried a .617 OPS in 41 PAs. However, instead of cutting Duvall and paying him a small portion of his 2.875MM non-guaranteed salary, the Braves decided to pay the man and sent him to AAA for a rainy day. Unfortunately for Duvall, it was a very dry year for injuries as he didn’t get the call back to the bigs until July 27, nearly 4 months into the season, even though he was swatting the ball over the fence in Gwinnett, at will. At the time of the call-up, Duvall had collected 19 doubles, 3 triples, 40 walks, and 29 HRs which added up to a .934 OPS all the while reducing his K% by 6%.

And what happened when Duvall got the call? The same damn thing he was doing at AAA. In his first 6 games with the MLB club, he hit 5 HRs in 26 PAs.

And then what happened? The same damn thing that happened in 2018. He went ice cold for a month, putting up a .443 OPS in 64 PAs, earning himself another stint at AAA. However, he was only down for 10 days, but those 10 days had a plus positive for the Braves, as it kept Duvall’s service time down, giving him an extra year of control through arbitration (controlled through 2022). From the end of August through the end of the season, Duvall was sensational: 1 double, 1 triple, 3 HRs, carrying a 1.026 OPS.

All in all, his season was streaky but his overall slashline was an impressive .267/.315/.567 which gave him an .882 OPS on the year. Between Gwinnett and Atlanta, Duvall had 42 HRs, 24 doubles, 5 triples, a .936 OPS, and lived up to his reputation of destroying LHP at the big league level with a 1.130 OPS. (1.184 at AAA).

To the casual fan, Duvall coming up to PH for Mike Foltynewicz was disheartening. They didn’t know that he had demolished the ball at AAA and had been really successful in his 2 stints with the MLB clubs. Often, first impressions are impressions that stick, ask Jose Constanza and Emilio Bonifacio. Fortunately for Folty, Snit, and Duvall, the Braves fanbase will remember Duvall the next time he comes to bat, and maybe he’ll be greeted with cheers instead of boos.

Thanks for reading.

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Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

29 thoughts on “An Appreciation for Adam Duvall”

  1. Thanks, Ryan. Duvall has had a terrific season overall under trying circumstances. It’s fortunate he’s on the postseason roster; it’s great to have pinch hitters with a good chance of hitting it out.

    I thought pinch hitting for Folty was the right call. Trying to get another run was better than counting on a 1-0 victory. Folty was fantastic but it was hot as hell at the game and he might well have run out of steam. I would have sent him out in the 8th if the Braves had gone 1-2-3, but you’ve got to try to get insurance when you can.

  2. As to Fried, I’m still not comfortable with him as a one inning guy. He’s lights out right now, and it’s awfully limiting to use him so little.

    It’s not that I have a problem with him in relief, it’s that I’d rather see him go multiple innings if they do use him that way. On the other hand, if you can’t trust him to go several innings in relief, I’d rather start him. It sounds like they are planning on Julio to start game 4. If so, I assume it will be a very short leash and Fried will follow to toss several innings.

  3. Or if they are down 2 games to 1, I’d guess they will go with Keuchel in game 4 on 3 days rest. Then turn to Fried at the first signs of trouble.

  4. They weren’t booing Duvall, they were booing Snitker for pulling Folty. Duvall was just caught in the crossfire.

  5. @5
    I said that… sentence 2. 😂

    “No, the crowd wasn’t booing at Duvall, rather the decision by Brian Snitker to remove Mike Foltynewicz after only throwing 81 pitches and holding the Cardinals to 3 hits, 0 runs, while piling up 7 strikeouts.”

  6. @7
    The reason it ends that way are the implications that are present throughout the piece and that is that he’s been good and deserves our respect. I doubt if that was, say, Charlie Culberson, the boos would’ve been there no matter the situation. I’ll try harder next time. 😂

    Edit: I caught my first AU game in 15 years last weekend and am kinda sad I can’t watch today even though I haven’t paid attention to football in years.

  7. @coop

    One of my best friends is a DAWG and now lives in Cauterets, France, hugging the Pyrenees. No matter what time it is in France, when them DAWGs are on, he’s watching.

  8. You could write a similar article about Austin Riley, too bad he won’t get a chance to have a postseason moment.

  9. Riley ended the year with a .636 OPS in his last 236 PAs. Riley is likely a better player in the long run, but not this year and it’s not close.

  10. College Sports

    Changed for ever this week by a gentleman from California called Gavin Newsome … All state Colleges in CA may now pay their players…and will.The first chink in the NCAA armor that will eventually drastically reduce its size and influence. Three Cheers.

    Now, if we could just find a way to pay our minor leaguers a decent wage. This does not need legislation, new laws as above, simply a lesson in greed.

  11. Great piece, Ryan. I wanted Folty to stay in and didn’t think it was a good idea to pinch hit Duvall against RHP. What do I know. Really happy for Duvall who seems to be a great guy.
    Go Braves.

  12. @blazon
    I thought the new rule was that college players could receive money from endorsements not actually getting paid to play the game. Am I wrong?

  13. @timo
    Thanks! I don’t think anyone was actually wrong in their stance but it sure worked out and that was good for all of us.

  14. @Ryan, yes, good piece. As for me, I have supported the Duvall move from the beginning and also supported keeping him and turning him around at AAA. I always saw a elite defender and 30HR guy as his standard. But he is a great guy to have as a platoon 15HR guy with elite LF defense. Maybe to the OF what David Ross was as a catcher.

    And with regards to Game 2, it was very interesting that Duvall was the 1st PH off the bench against a righty. In Game 1, it was Ortega. My thought at the time was that I didn’t want him to pull Folty with only BMac on 1st, but if he had to do it, I was glad it was Duvall instead of Ortega.

    And for anyone talking about Riley vs. Duvall, I agree that Duvall was the obvious choice based upon the last three weeks or so of September.

  15. And just a little off-topic, but I want to declare that I was the first #1 fan of Fried here and lobbied hard during the offseason that his future was as a TOR starter. But the other Max (Scherzer) just had his turn as a one inning guy, so it’s OK with me if the Braves use Fried that way for the playoffs, at least this round. If Snit is threatening a bullpen game for Game 4, you can bet that Fried will have three innings of it.

    Nevertheless, this is for Eephus.

    Whatever it takes! 💪#RELENTLESS

    Posted by Atlanta Braves on Saturday, October 5, 2019

  16. @19 – With 2 out and McCann on first, I think Snit was definitely gambling for a long ball in Duvall’s spot. I wouldn’t read too much into Ortega’s appearance. It came in the 5th inning, and a lot of managers specifically *don’t* want to use their best guys that early.

  17. @16

    Your language is more accurate than mine, as befits a Senior Writer.

    But it’s still money – the door has been busted down.

  18. Oh I agree. I know a few kids I taught that are playing college ball right now and are pretty excited about the idea of making some $, but hasn’t made it o de to their state yet.

    Also, If I’m a senior writer, I’d hate to know the junior.

  19. Anyone find their new hashtag for this postseason (#Relentless) very generic? Like you can’t even tell what team it’s for if you didn’t already know, it could apply to any MLB team. Contrast that with:

    #ThisIsMyCrew
    #ChopOn
    #PinstripePride
    #LetsGoBucs
    #FriarFaithful

    Etc. You can tell exactly what team it is if you don’t pay any attention to them.

  20. This is my life now. As I’m exposed to watching Toy Story movies over and over, I start to create fractured sequels in my head.

    Toy Story 5: Apocalypse

    Synapsis: Adult world’s infected with a virus & it’s up to the toys to save the kids.

    Buzz is now nicknamed Buzzsaw Lightyear

    Woody’s weapon of choice is a Louisville Slugger and makes exit velocity references when he takes heads off

    Rex is now one major badass & leader of group, ripping throats with his teeth

  21. Before you know it, Papa Ryan, G-rated movies will be all you see, those rated PG just too darn risque.

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