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Cincinnati Reds’ left fielder Adam Duvall truly has breakout year

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Despite finishing slow, Cincinnati Reds’ left fielder Adam Duvall had a great year.

The Cincinnati Reds’ fans may think that Adam Duvall’s second half means that he had a bad year, but his stats say otherwise.  Despite having the lowest average among the five Reds that qualify for the batting title, Duvall leads the team in home runs with 33.  He also leads them in RBI with 100.

Outside of Cincinnati, Duvall is fourth in the National League in home runs.  He is also sixth in RBIs.  He is also seventh lowest in batting average in the NL among qualifiers for the batting title.  One of the players below him is Milwaukee Brewers first baseman, Chris Carter, who happens to be ahead of him in home runs.

Hopefully, Duvall is not looking to follow the Carter model.  Cater has struck out more than anyone else in the NL.  Duval is fifth in this stat.

Duvall has other interesting stats in his favor.  He is tied with NL MVP candidate, Joey Votto, for the team lead in doubles at 30.  He is also second on the team and 19th in the league in runs scored.  Duvall is putting together a classic slugger’s season.

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This is Duvall’s first complete season.

Coming into the 2016 season, Duvall’s entire career included eight home runs hit over 55 games.  Over six years in the minors, Duvall hit 130 home runs.  Until 2015, Duvall was an infielder.  Now he is a regular left fielder.  Even in 2015, he was primarily a first baseman with the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A team in Sacramento.

This year, Duval figured out how to play left field in the big leagues, while navigating the adjustments that are always part of being a major league hitter.  He also played some right field, but that was not good.  He grades out well at third and first as well.

Looking forward to 2017, walks are the biggest issue for Duvall.  He is getting deep enough into counts that he is striking out.  Chances are that he is swinging at balls.  He needs to develop a better sense of the strike zone.  If he could add more walks and strikeout just a little bit less, he would become more Nolan Arenado and less Chris Carter.

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Beyond that the Reds need to decide where he fits in their plans.  Can he be a part of the next contending team in Cincinnati?  If not Duvall’s breakout season, could become his breakaway season from Cincinnati.