This is going to be another Adam Duvall post mostly. Please actually read it before you yell at me in the comments.

So, the dust having cleared after the trade deadline, the Reds are stacked with middle infield prospects, but not so much in the outfield. In the immediate future, they have what seem to be the following options for filling spots out there (current seasonal age in parenthesis):

Billy Hamilton (25)
Adam Duvall (27)
Scott Schebler (25)
Jesse Winker (22)
Steve Selsky (26)

It doesn’t look as though Hamilton is going anywhere, so let’s assume it’s really a battle amongst the other four for playing time at the corners.

I included the ages for a reason. The better a player is, the more likely he is to debut or establish himself at a young age. It also matters because minor league performance to some extent needs to be prorated for age. Jesse Winker, for instance, has been between 2.3 and 4.6 years YOUNGER than the average player in his league since his professional career began. Adam Duvall, on the other hand has ranged from 1.6 years younger than average to 0.6 years older than average for his league. Schebler has been consistently young for his league (though not as young as Winker) and Selsky has been right around the average age for his league (note for this that it’s important to disregard winter league and fall league play and simply trace the player from rookie league to AAA).

So, based on potential according to age, we would order them like this:


Of course, we haven’t talked about talent yet. These a guys have different approaches. Winker and Selsky are high OBP/Medium power guys and Duvall and Schebler are  low/med OBP and high power guys. But, overall, they’ve all been excellent performers in the minors (and in Duvall’s case, solid in the majors).

Many of you know that I am not and have never been on the Adam Duvall bandwagon. I don’t think his approach is suited to sustained major league performance and I think people are too quick to discount his age. He is 2 years older than Hamilton and 5 (FIVE!!!) years older than Jesse Winker. This matters.

But for this article, I decided to try and convince myself on Duvall. Surely, I thought, there have been players in history with a similar approach who have contributed. And the late bloomer thing is something we’re used to in Cincinnati. Frazier, Cozart, and Sabo leap immediately to mind and I’m sure there are plenty more I’m forgetting.

So I did a search that went like this: I looked for all players who lost rookie status between the ages of 25 and 28 (late bloomers) with a strikeout rate over 25% and a walk rate under 7% in their first season of meaningful playing time (similar approach).

There are, surprisingly, dozens of these players. Most of them are fairly recent owing to our current era where strike outs are up league-wide and OBP is being suppressed. Most of these players, also, were terrible. Generally finishing short careers with WAR totals that put them at or below replacement level. Most, but not all.

In fact, I got really excited when I saw Travis Hafner’s name pop up. I mean, Hafner was good. If Duvall was Hafner, the Reds would have something. Alas, Hafner’s rookie season, where he walked 6.8% of the time is an extreme outlier in his career. He walked significantly more in the minors (over 13% of the time) than Duvall and continued to walk a great deal until injuries ended his career. So, sadly, we have to throw Hafner out.

Who does that leave? Well, here is the list of players who were rookies at the right age with similar plate approaches and who had career WAR totals of at least 2.0 (career WAR in parenthesis).

Kelly Shoppach (8.3)
Casper Wells (3.0)
Dick Stuart (10.9)
Abraham Almonte (2.3)
Ron Kittle (5.2)
Ryan Thompson (3.7)
Chris Johnson (2.8)


Okay guys, I tried, but this is not good. One player with over 10 WAR for his career. One. And remember, that list is not a representative sample. It’s the cream of the crop.

Further, Shoppach and Stuart are only barely comps, as both later improved their walk rates substantially, meaning Duvall would have to as well, and that’s not likely.

Basically, it comes down to this: Adam Duvall has a plate approach which isn’t sustainable. He is currently at his physical peak and providing above average value, but not wildly above average value. Further, if you haven’t noticed that the league has started to pitch him differently, you haven’t been paying attention. He’ll still run into one with reasonable frequency, but he’s going to get fewer chances and if he loses even a little bit physically, that’s it. He’s got nowhere to fall back to.

You are allowed to like Adam Duvall. He’s been a great story on a bad team. But there is absolutely no data AT ALL to suggest that he can be anything but a stopgap solution. If you want him playing every day for more than another year while the Reds search for a replacement, you have to acknowledge that this is an emotional desire and not about having the best players on the field.

Adam Duvall is versatile and thus a VERY useful bench player. Plenty of power. Can play all the corner positions. No one wants to pitch to him if he comes off the bench late in the game. But in the long run, if your team is counting on him to be a major contributor, they are misguided.

If the Reds are looking in-house, Winker should be at the top of the list followed by Schebler. After that, we can talk about Selsky and Duvall, but realistically, given the ages of the players we’re looking at (besides Winker), the Reds NEED to go prospect hunting or be willing to drop some change on the free agent market. The outfield is the weakest area in the organization for the Reds and it’s time to do something about it.

69 Responses

  1. Nick Carrington

    Winker has too much potential not to get an extended chance. Young players with that strike zone control are rare. I hope the Reds look at Duvall and Schebler as competitors for the other corner spot. I’m fine with whoever plays better between those two getting a spot as long as they don’t block Winker.

    If Aristides Aquino continues to produce, he may ultimately be the right fielder of the future, but he still has a few levels to get through and the jump from high A to AA is a big one.

    • Big56dog

      what about Yorman and Ervin, why not throw in Waldrop in here as well. Need to have at least a 4th OF if not a 5th for PH purposes for the full 162. I think Selsky, Walrop, or someone from the system can be this type of roll player…Also consider moving Duvall to 3rd- but I think to be a contender the Reds will need to pull in a decent FA or 2

      • Nick Carrington

        I actually do like Yorman and Ervin. I’m concerned Yorman can’t stay healthy, but if he ever does, he certainly has all the tools. Ervin has great tools and has been solid in the minors but hasn’t produced as we had hoped thus far. Both of those guys are high upside wild cards.

      • Jason Linden

        Yorman I could have mentioned, but he seems to really have stalled. Ervin has slipped a lot this year and still hasn’t made it past AA. If he rebounds, he could be in the conversation pretty fast.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Has Ervin slipped? If he has, and I don’t think he has if we take into account the level jump, it’s certainly not by “a lot”. For simplicity I am going to overlook the cup of coffee (66 PA) he got in AA last year and compare his Adv.-A in 2015 (475 PA) and AA stats from 2016 (379 PA).

        In BB% he’s improved in AA. His BB% of 12.9% is up from 2015 where he posted an 11.2%. In fact, 12.9% is an improvement on both 2014 and 2015 numbers. His walk rate has increased each level from A to Adv.-A to AA.

        In K% he has bumped up a bit. He’s sitting at 19.3% so far on the season which is up from 17.5% in 2015. It is slightly better than his 2014 season in Dayton where he posted a 19.6%. All of these numbers seem about in line with each other. Considering jumping to AA is said to be the most difficult jump in competition, I’m not overly concerned about a 1.8% jump.

        His OBP in AA is .346 and in Adv.-A it was .338, while his SLG in AA is .389 vs .375 in 2015. HIs ISO is .160 compared to .133 last year. So all three sets of numbers have improved slightly. His wRC+ is a bit down, sitting at 117 for 2016 while it was at 120 in 2015. (In 2014 with Dayton he was a slightly below average player with a wRC+ of 94).

        What has trended down is the batting average. For whatever reason Ervin has not been able to maintain a decent batting average this year. His BABIP is .268 which is the lowest average he’s posted in full season ball. Everything else looks great. On top of the nice on-base and power numbers, he’s stolen 31 of 37 bases this year.

        He’s certainly not someone I’m counting out in the future. He just needs a few more hits to fall and I think his perception would be drastically different.

      • Jordan Barhorst (@JordanBarhorst)

        ^ THIS. So much this. People are really quick to write off Ervin, and there’s really not a clear answer as to why. He’s a 20 20 potential guy who plays a pretty good outfield. He may be a little slow to develop, but as long as he IS developing, who cares?

      • Patrick Jeter

        I’m not sure anyone “wrote off” Ervin. He’s just not in the immediate picture for a starting position on the Reds MLB club. Nothing wrong with that. I tend to think his athleticism and penchant for taking a walk will get him a shot with the big club in late 2017 or early 2018.

      • docmike

        I agree about writing off Yorman. Nothing in his recent history to suggest the Reds should be counting on him.

        But I agree with Hotto on Ervin. His offensive numbers this year in AA are good, if you can overlook the low BA. But he is still getting on base, has shown some power, and has some speed on the basepaths.

        My hope is that Ervin heads to Louisville in 2017, and plays well enough to compete for a starting job with the big club in 2018. If he can stick in center field, I think his bat will play there very well.

    • Michael E

      Yorman is/was all hype. His stats and play indicate nothing more than a career minor leaguer and maybe a bench/utilty OF MLB substitute for a few years. I would guess he’ll linger between AA, AAA and MLB, back and forth till he is 30+.

  2. Red

    I’m not giving up hope on Duvall just yet. He’s got a bb% of 8.4 over his last 200 PA’s. This is his first full season in the majors. Very interested to see how it ends.

    • lwblogger2

      I was going to say something along those same lines. He is still striking out but he is also taking a fair share of walks. Now granted, July 1st is an arbitrary starting point but since then he’s walked 11 times in 109 PA. His OBP is approaching .300 while his batting average has been pretty stable. I’m seeing growth. I agree with Jason that if his plate discipline doesn’t improve, he isn’t going to have sustained success. That said, I’m not convinced that he isn’t working hard on just that very thing and it may be paying dividends.

      • ohiojimw

        Agree with this. Duvall is running counts better and taking some walks. In this just completed series his OBP was .385 (5/13) with 2 walks.

        On Tuesday, he came back from an 0-2 count to single on the 5th pitch of the AB (on a 1-2 count) in the decisive 9th inning. Today he took a walk to lead off the 4 run Reds 7th.

        My feeling is that he is a starter until somebody beats him out on the field at LF, RF, 3B and 1B (already done at 1B obviously as long as Votto is there). I don’t think there is any outfielder in the Reds system currently, including Winker, who has shown enough to just be handed a position ahead of Duvall as long as Duvall is producing at his current levels. If and when someone legitimately wins a position over him, more power to them. it will be good for the team; and, as noted by Jason, Duvall should then become a very valuable bench piece.

  3. Boneill1621

    So what your saying is this club needs a savvy clubhouse veteran outfielder who they can plug into the team when they make their push to the playoffs?

    Sarcasm but seriously that’s exactly how it’ll play out.

    • lwblogger2

      Hey, wait… Didn’t they just trade a guy just like that?

      In all fairness though, I think we may be shocked by how much Jay Bruce gets in free-agency if he has continued success similar to what he’s had this year.

      • Dewey Roberts

        I thought Jay Bruce was that type of player. I still don’t like that trade.

      • Gaffer

        Bruce at 23 years old with 5 years of leftover service, it that was awhile ago.

      • Patrick Jeter

        I think he’ll get something like 4/$100.

      • lwblogger2

        My way too early guess: 6yrs/$111-million)

      • MrRed

        $100? Maybe $100MM? Otherwise, I can pay him more for my beer league softball team.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Thanks for clarifying. I’m sure many folks thought I meant $100 USD.

      • Michael E

        and the signing team will be regretting that from day 1.

        Lets not forget how much of a swoon Bruce took the past few seasons. I think if he gets his money, it’s back to 30 HRs, .220 average and uber-streaky BAD-GREAT-BAD roll.

      • reaganspad

        no reason for him not too if healthy. His issues have been health, not ability

      • Michael E

        wait, what? I’d say execution has been his big issue…and dedication. He FINALLY relented and trained to hit to opposite field this spring…only took like 5 years to fix what we all saw was broken.

        I think 2016 will be Bruce’s peak and we sold at just the right time.

  4. big5ed

    This is delicious. At some level, Jason is like Salieri in “Amadeus,” stewing over Duval’s unworthy success. I’m rooting for Duval just to revel in Jason’s anguish that the vulgar Duval is actually getting playing time.

    Duval has a walk rate of more than 10% since the All-Star break; Jason is horrified that we may see yet another Dick “Dr. Strangeglove” Stuart.

  5. WVRedlegs

    Maybe Duvall is blazing new trails, a pathfinder. Maybe. I think he is more suited for a platoon with Schebler.
    The forgotten man, the Man on the Milk Carton, is forgotten here. Then again, maybe not. Yorman Rodriguez, where are you? Somewhere on a beach in Daytona. Quickly fading from the picture and at risk of losing a 40-man roster spot.
    Luckily there seems to be at least one or two good OF on each minor league team.
    Unfortunately for the Reds trade deadline, they couldn’t reel in the Mets OF prospect Nimmo or the Mariners OF prospect O’Neill. They came close, but no cigar.
    I am sure that organizational OF depth will be addressed this winter.

    • Gaffer

      I would not be disappointed in losing Nimmo. Herrera is far better as the trade indicated. Also, Nimmo is redundant (poor man’s Winker) and probably would never have started for us.

      • Jay King

        Spoke to a livid Mets fan yesterday. He loves getting Bruce , Oh who tonight hit a 3 run home run for the Mets. sigh ,…. I already miss him. He was telling me that he is ticked that the Mets gave up Herrara. He told me the guy is major league ready right now just needs at bats. He has good power and a pretty good average too. The Mets fan said we got a great player.. He did throw in that the Single A pitcher has some nice potential too.

    • Michael E

      I have TWO worries. One Herrera looks like a swolen gym rat. I sure hope suspensions don’t come fast and furious. Maybe just hard work or body type, but it is a concern of MINE.

      Second, Nimmo has a very sweet swing. I know he doesn’t appear to have corner outfield power, but he has great OBP and is of good size. I can’t help but think his sweet swing and a few more pounds of muscle and he’s a .300 25 HR player.

      Herrera was ranked much higher last year and actually a top 60 prospect. It seems like he was thought of more highly than Nimmo, but I see highlights, Nimmo’s hitting approach impressed me more and I see much higher upside in all around stats. Then again, Herrera will play (or so it appears) middle infield, and even if not quite as good as Nimmo (if I am right), he still could hold more value given the position.

      Oh well, in five years it could all look upside down. Maybe Bruce becomes an MVP (I see 2016 as his peak, but maybe I am wrong). Maybe Bruce channels Dunn without the 40 HRs? Maybe Herrera is an all-star by 2018, maybe Nimmo is, maybe they all stink equally bad? Maybe they’re all 0 WAR players? Who knows.

  6. PDunc

    If I’m being optimistic about young players progressing as expected, and expecting Votto to stay productive for a few more years:

    C Mesoraco (R)
    1B Votto (L)
    2B Herrera (R)
    SS Peraza (R)
    3B Senzel (R)
    RF Schebler (L) (Can back up CF)
    CF Hamilton (S)
    LF Winker (L)

    Bench Duvall (R) – LF/RF/3B/1B
    Bench Suarez (R) – 2B/SS/3B
    Bench Barnhardt (S) – C

    That could be a decent line-up in late 2017 or 2018

    • Jason Linden

      Agree with this. I’d slide Suarez more into the mix in the middle infield. Also wouldn’t count on Mes.

      • Pdunc

        I agree on not really counting on Mesoraco. The lineup I posted was more an optimistic, but reasonably possible, lineup.
        I also agree that Suarez could be in the mix for the middle infield, but like the idea of him and Duvall being super-subs covering all spots but catcher.

      • reaganspad

        and I would not count Mesoraco out

  7. jr

    Duvall is a better player than most think. He does swing at some bad pitches but he is not up there trying to pull low and outside sliders. His approach is much more thought out. Even in the H.R. derby he was under control. Pitchers have adjusted to him, but he has not faded as much as he might have, or as much as has been predicted. I see a player who is still developing, working on his pitch selection, and trying to use all fields.

    • Patrick Jeter

      I’m not sure an approach in a HR derby is really indicative of anything based in reality.

      • Jr

        Just saying he’s not like the free swingers that he is often compared with.

      • reaganspad

        His last HR was on a 3-2 pitch. he battles and is taking walks.

        I am OK with Duvall. sure better than our LF’r for the past 6+ years offensively and defense is not as bad as advertised either

  8. Gaffer

    Duvall had an interview where he talked about changing his approach, and seeing results. Let’s give him 200 more PAs. Remember Duvall has been an underdog forever! He probably never had the luxury of being a patient hitter, he was worried he would be benched. I think we also need to remember that Duvall is Right Handed with the rest mainly lefties , making him a great platoon guy at worst.

    • Indy RedMan

      Give Duvall a chance!!! Yeah…he’s a little older but this is his first season of regular playing time!

      April & May = 6 walks combined
      June = 7 walks
      July = 9 walks
      August = 2 walks already!

      We’re seeing more walks and patience from Suarez too! Back to Duvall though…the thing I really like about him is that his swing is pretty compact and quick! There’s not a bunch of lunging and awkward swings like the Toddfather. He’s not necessarily trying to pull everything either! He’s hit a lot of balls to center or right! He’s hit well w/risp! Most people around here seem to think RBIs are irrelevant and hitting w/risp means nothing but if Jay relaxed and hit the ball where it was pitched his whole career like this year then they’d be planning his statue and he’d be making Joey money! That’s a skill and a mindset! Jay turned a 1-0 Mets lead into 4-0 tonite and Duvall does the same thing. Winker may turn out to be a better player but right now if you make a mistake to him then he might hit a sharp single somewhere!

      • Jay King

        I felt like last month and so far this month he seemed more patient at the plate and the walks show it. Maybe Suarez and Duball are talking to Votto a little. I hope this trend continues it would lead to a good problem for the reds.

      • lwblogger2

        I agree with you aside from where you say that driving in runs is a skill and a mindset. There are certainly a handful of exceptions but in general, at the MLB level, it simply isn’t. Once you get to this level, the guys that can’t hit in pressure situations have been weeded out. There are a handful of players that perform significantly above or below their overall career batting lines, with RISP, given a large enough sample. Take Jay Bruce for example. His career batting line with RISP: .249/.351/.454 in 1424 PA. His overall career line is: 249/.318/.470 in 5015 PA. His average is the same. His OBP is higher with RISP (pitchers are more careful and he walks more), and his slugging is very slightly worse with RISP vs his overall slugging. He, like the vast majority of MLB players, is pretty much the same hitter with RISP as he is all the time.

  9. Shchi Cossack

    After the Reds obtained Duvall and the 2015 season drew to a painful close, I made a quick perusal of Duvall’s minor league career and road to the show. In 2 years at AAA, Duvall had 21.0% SO% & 6.6% BB% with an ISO of .270. Those are good numbers, BUT the bulk of the numbers were produced in the PCL. Any offensive numbers, especially power numbers, produced in the PCL are questionable at best. Duvall’s production at AAA in the IL was significantly dampered to a very pedestrian level. His SO% of 22.2%, BB% of 5.8% & ISO of .169, in a small sample size at Louisville, trended in the wrong direction and a BA & OBP drop of ~0.080 screamed of a problem in making the transition from AAA to MLB.

    Then Duvall showed up in spring training with a revamped, compact swing and a solid defensive approach in LF. What the heck!? This was a baseball player who happend to have prodigious power. He demonstrated a willingness and capability to adapt across the board. Then the season started, Schebler tanked and Duvall started crushing the ball, consistently. Then Duvall kept crushing the ball, consistently, even while he was striking out a lot. Then Duvall made the NL all star team. Finally, opposing pitchersstarted the inevitable adjustment to quit challenging Duvall and making him prove he could avoid striking out if they refused to throw strikes for him to simply crush.

    That brings us to the here and now. The sample size is small, but Duvall is making the requisite adjustments and all we have right now is the available small sample size.

    Through Duvall’s first 66 games:
    SO%=26.9%, BB%=3.7%, ISO=.334, OBP=.286

    Through Duvall’s last 33 games:
    SO%=29.6%, BB%=9.9%, ISO=.248, OBP=.317

    Through Duvall’s last 13 games:
    SO%=23.3%, BB%=12.5%, ISO=.312, OBP=.375

    Adam Duvall is a ballplayer. He carries himself like a ballplayer. He hustles like a ballplayer. Everything about this guy says ‘I got this!’ He has the confidence, commitment, adaptability, intelligence and desire to excel. The Old Cossack is not going to bet against ‘Dis Dude’!

    • Jason Linden

      Holy arbitrary end points and different sample sizes, Cossack! How about these:

      April: .708 OPS/83 wRC+
      May: 1.004 OPS/158 wRC+
      June: .812 OPS/106 wRC+
      July: .744 OPS/94 wRC+

      72 PAs in 2015: .790 OPS/110 wRC+
      77 PAs in 2014: .576 OPS/67 wRC+

      In that whole sample, there are two obvious outliers, but it all averages out to:

      .795 OPS/108 wRC+ for a player at his absolute peak.

      He might hold that for a year or two, but it’s really unlikely to go up.Which means, soon, you’re back to below average offense from a corner OF.

      • Shchi Cossack

        UMPH – POW – BLAM …

        Good move my young sidekick.

    • Daytonian

      Right on, Schi. And, yes, Jason, we should yell at you. 🙂 Baseball players can grow.

  10. Indy RedMan

    Jose Bautista was 27 and (28 in Oct) in 2008! He hit .238 with 91 Ks in less then 400 atbats (.718 ops)

    Duvall will be 28 in this September.

    Bautista turned out to be a decent player! Yeah he walked more than Duvall’s walking now but there is no reason that a guy can’t be a late bloomer with as much as they know now about nutrition and working out. Duvall will also have low tread on his tires at 29 as opposed to somebody like Jay….who already has slowed down in the outfield.

    • Jason Linden

      Do you realize how much of an outlier Jose Bautista is in major league history? Also, I don’t know what tread you’re talking about. Duvall has been a baseball player for years, just in the minors. Pretty sure those miles still count.

      • lwblogger2

        Yep! Trust me, the miles since little league/knothole count. Playing every day just means even more of those miles. Doesn’t matter if it’s MiLB/MLB or Independent ball.

  11. Vicferrari

    Anyone got opinions on their defense ability. I know Hamilton is getting near elite and Duvall has had some decent metrics, where do the others fall in with him. I saw Schebler botch multiple plays in CF earlier but saw him make some nice plays last night

    • Patrick Jeter

      I think Schebler has about 40 total games in CF in his career, mostly at AA if I recall correctly. Of course he’ll botch a few plays out there!

      I’d be he’ll be an above-average corner outfielder just because of his athleticism.

      • lwblogger2

        Probably in LF because yes, his arm is poor. It isn’t quite Johnny Damon or Juan Pierre poor, but it’s poor.

  12. james garrett

    I will take 250 avg from Duvall every year because when this guy hits it he really hits it and his defense has been a surprise.He hustles all the time and I love it.

  13. Jay King

    Do we put to much into OBP… I know its an important stat and its something I watch closely on my fantasy teams. But seriously is there really anything wrong with a guy batting .240 to .260 and clubbing the crab out of the ball. You can give me all kinds of stats but honestly every time Duvall comes up I feel like he could change the game. Is he going to strikeout a lot. YES!!!! Even if he gets only a dozen walks a month I would be ok with this.

    • ohiojimw

      One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor or some such apparently. Lot’s of folks around here seemed to think Frazier should have brought the sun, moon, and half the galaxy back in trade return off a 2015 season where he slashed .255/.309/.498, good enough for an OPS+ of 117.
      Right now Duvall is slashing .250/.297/.547, good for an OPS+ of 119. As of tonight, Duvall has a career OPS+ of 111 to Frazier’s OPS+ of 113.
      It looks to me that offensively they are the same player, and that might be a little unfair to Duvall given he is roughly 3 years younger.

  14. CI3J

    Jason, I’m not sure I understand the premise of your argument against Duvall. You keep saying that his approach is “unsustainable”. What do you mean by “unsustainable”, and why?

    The reason I ask is, delving deeper into Duvall and the concept of batter production sustainability, I see nothing to indicate anything Duvall is doing is unsustainable. I assume what you mean is that he doesn’t walk enough, since this tends to be a skill which ages well. My understanding is that as a baseball player ages, the skills that are first to erode are bat speed and power, being that they are intrinsically tied to each other. This is a fair point.

    However, in studying aging graphs, we don’t usually see players begin to enter pronounced declines until they reach about age 33 on average. Duvall is just now 27, meaning if he follows the average aging curve, all things being equal, he should be able to roughly sustain his current production for another 5 years.

    If you’re trying to argue that Duvall’s approach won’t age well over the next 10 years, then yes, you have a valid argument. But then again, how many MLB players have productive careers that long? I just read something that said the average NFL career is 3 years, I don’t know what it is for MLB.

    The bottom line is, Duvall is producing now. He has a .277 BABIP, so nothing about his production is aided by luck. He has a 117 WRC and a .297 ISO. That to me screams “production”. As long as he doesn’t lose bat speed and/or power, there is no reason not to expect him to continue to produce for the next few years at least.

    And, as others have pointed out, he has begun showing a willingness to take a walk. We can’t count on him to continue to develop in that regard, but if he does, well…..

    • Steve Mancuso

      Agreed that the under-the-hood mechanics of what is “unsustainable” about Duvall’s performance need to be developed. Just saying no other player has put together his combination of stats doesn’t do it. As you point out, in Duvall’s case, it’s not that he’s been unusually lucky with BABIP. His home runs aren’t particularly cheap.

      The dynamic that concerned me earlier in the year was that he was swinging at so many pitches waaay outside the strike zone – an obvious and devastating flaw – that pitchers would eventually figure out how to avoid giving up home runs. Good contact depends on getting good pitches. As Jay Bruce said recently, home runs aren’t hit, they’re pitched. Pitchers would adjust to Duvall and he’d settle in to a different, lower production level.

      Duvall’s greater inclination to walk is what’s key – and encouraging. He still swings at his share of groaners – “ironing board” pitches in Martyworld – but it does seem like Duvall is looking for strikes to hit. He’s taken a number of close, called third strikes in the past few weeks. His walk-rate is up. Duvall walked four times in the first week of the season then didn’t walk four more times for another two months. In the last two months (just about) he’s walked 9.8 percent, which is great. His O-Swing% is down from 39% to 33%.

      On the other hand, the last two months may have already proved the point about Duvall’s sustainability. His isolated power is down from 330 to 247 over that stretch. His wRC+ is 105. That’s still good, but not great. He’s evolving and we’ll have to wait a while to see what player has emerged at the end of the season.

      • Jason Linden

        My point is that: 1. No player with his plate approach debuting at his age has ever put together a sustained, successful career. EVER.

        2. At his age, he is unlikely to further develop and is VERY likely to being physical decline soon.

        So, he may be a useful player for a year or two, but he is EXTREMELY unlikely to be a key component on the next truly competitive Reds team.

        We can parse monthly totals and all that all we want. Players fluctuate from month to month. The overall results tell us that right now, at his peak, he is a sightly above average hitter playing a corner OF spot.

      • Steve Mancuso

        I don’t disagree. In fact, I think I mostly supported your article.

        I wrote this four weeks before you wrote Trade Adam Duvall. (The people who think the Reds should have traded Adam Duvall don’t identify which other organizations – besides Arizona, obviously – don’t do as much research as we do.)

        Note in your first point “with his plate approach” depends on it not changing. What if it does? My point was maybe we’re already seeing that his approach has changed. Maybe he read your Trade post and he finally got it. The timing is suspiciously close. His ISO has fallen back to earth.

      • ohiojimw

        Where is the data that suggests that Duvall’s age 27 season should be seen as his peak? To continue the comparison I suggested above, Todd Frazier, also a “late bloomer” had an age 27 year slash line of .234/.314/.407 and OPS+ 98 on 600 PA’s. Those are his worst full season totals. In the following two seasons, he posted OPS numbers ~80 points higher and OPS+ of 117 and 121.

        The numbers Cossack presented above concerning Duvall suggest a positive evolution over a bit less than half a season.

        Who’s to say what he will do from here? As Steve said, we will have to let the situation play itself out.

      • Patrick Jeter

        FWIW, plate discipline metrics stabilize more quickly than just about anything else.

        This IS the current Duvall. But that doesn’t mean it can’t change for the worse or for the better.

        He’s consciously decided to walk more because of how pitchers have started pitching him.

        With that said, I agree with Jason’s overall premise that Duvall is likely at his peak right now and won’t get better in the future, although he could have another 2-3 years of similar above-average production.

  15. IndyRedMan

    I remember when the Reds picked up Jeff Keppinger. I thought to myself…”This guy is going to win a batting title”! He was spraying the ball all over the place and if the 1st baseman was holding a guy on….he could almost direct the ball in that hole for a short while with the Reds! It wasn’t to be and he got hurt and exposed…etc. He did hit .325 at age 32 with Tampa but was gone for good after 1 more year!
    Bottom line….it may happen to Duvall too but he hustles, works hard and he’s a good defender with a decent arm. His swing isn’t long and complicated either….so lets just see what happens. Its not like Jocketty is going to pay him $80 million in the offseason or anything.

  16. scottya

    Keep Duvall through 2017 for sure. Steve Selsky has had a really nice minor league career. What could we get in return for either?

    • docmike

      Selsky has career backup written all over him, so not much for him. Duvall would probably only fetch a low-level prospect, so I wouldn’t be in a hurry to trade him either.

  17. Chris Miller

    This is a very good analysis. I felt that Duvall should have been on the trade block this past month, with the Reds getting something for him at what i believe will show to be his peak. Instead, I think emotions and “hope” won the day and we kept him with no consideration of dealing him.