My latest for Cincinnati Magazine:

As the Reds continue to sink further into the abyss, no player has been more emblematic of the team’s current struggles than leftfielder Adam Duvall. Duvall is tied for the team lead in home runs (5), but otherwise the season has been a disaster. Coming into Monday’s game against New York, he was hitting .161/.240/.366 in 33 games with a 65 OPS+ (100 is average). By one measure, Duvall has been one of the five worst hitters in the National League this season:

All of these hitters aren’t bad players, of course. Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo is a perennial All-Star and he’s not really the fourth-worst hitter in the league, unless the bad back that he claims he suffered from a Cincinnati hotel bed is worse than anyone imagined. But Rizzo, Duvall, and everyone else on this chart has been really bad this season. Terrible, even.

Most nights, it’s been difficult to watch Duvall struggle like this.

I’ll go ahead and reveal my conclusion, though it won’t surprise any of you (especially if you read the headline above): It’s time for Adam Duvall to be the Reds’ fourth outfielder.

Go check out the piece, if you are so inclined, and let me know what you think

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 34 Comments

  1. He should be their power bat off the bench.

  2. I wouldn’t mind seeing him as the fifth or sixth outfielder.

    • The 5th OF must be capable of playing all 3 OF positions, especially CF. There is no 6th OF position.

      Of course if your comment was to mean that you wouldn’t mind seeing Duvall gone, I think he would make an excellent pinch hitter and late game defensive replacement as a utility OF and he’s cost efficient in that role.

      • What would make him an excellent pinch hitter? He seems to be bad at hitting right now, and he’s been bad for quite some time. If he actually starts hitting again, then he should be starting.

  3. Duvall can be a solid 4th outfielder, and great RH power bat off the bench and defensive replacement in LF or RF.
    I think he needs to spell Votto 2x a month at first base.
    He’s not an every day player but he can be a valuable contributor on a 25 man roster.
    Witness the last 6 games.

  4. I think he should go back to Louisville until he gets hitting again

  5. I agree, but I’m not totally sold on Schebler being an everyday player either. He doesn’t seem to have great on-base skills, which leads to inconsistency.

  6. Adam Duvall from 2015 through 2018, inclusive…

    OPS+: 112 -> 106 -> 99 -> 72
    wRC+: 112 -> 105 -> 98 -> 68
    wOBA: .336 -> .333 -> .327 -> .273
    ISO: .266 -> .257 -> .232 -> .203
    Soft%: 5.3% -> 16.4% -> 17.5% -> 18.5%
    Hard%: 34.2% -> 38.9% -> 31.8% -> 40.2%
    HR/FB: 27.8% -> 17.8% -> 14.9% -> 14.0%

    Adam Duvall is still a good defensive LF, but his defensive metrics seem to be declining. Duvall is playing in his age 29 season with 3 remaining years of team control (2019 is his 1st year arbitration eligibility). He’s imminently affordable but he doesn’t appear to be a starting corner OF at the MLB level. What Duvall must do is learn to play RF so he can spell both corner OF positions. He should be a very successful 4th OF and pinch hitter, providing solid defense as a corner OF and power off the bench. He can be a late inning defensive replacement (especially if Winker and Schebler are the starting corner OF) and get 1 or 2 late inning PA as a defensive replacement.

    Please end this stupid OF rotation NOW! The Reds really need to see what Winker and Schebler can do as regular starting OF. At least for the remainder of this season, Hamilton is the default starting CF, but if his current trend of improvement takes serious hold, he may have the starting CF role locked down through 2019. Hamilton becomes a FA in 2020 in his age 28 season. I wouldn’t want to gamble on his speed in a contract extention after the 2019 season and the Reds should have several internal CF candidates ready by the 2020 season to take Hamilton’s place in CF. Of course if WJ had not made the knee JERK reaction and promoted Hamilton before he was ready and before he had even proved he could play at the AAA level, the Reds would have one or two more years for control Hamilton’s contract before he would become a FA.

    • I’m not upset with Winker sitting yesterday. A bit of a mini-slump going. Day game after night in the middle of a road trip, and lefty on the mound with pretty good off speed stuff. Even Mighty Joey had a tough AB against him. 🙂

      As good of a time to give him day-off as any. He’ll get his PA’s and has been leading off most of the time he is starting, what’s not to like.

  7. With Hamilton’s OBP now up to the .320 range, and evidence to suggest that he is actively trying to adjust his approach at the plate to make better use of his skill set, I find I must endorse this recommendation. Duvall hasn’t been an everyday quality hitter for nearly a year. Winker and Schebler need to play, and Hamilton > Duvall right now. And those year by year numbers are very compelling Cossack. I like the lineup with Hamilton 9th, Winker at leadoff and Blandino (or Barnhart, or best of all, Votto) hitting second. The Duvall hitting 2nd experiment needs to have been a misguided one off, and Peraza, though he’s shown some improvement, simply doesn’t reach base enough to warrant a top of the order slot when he starts. The Reds have looked pretty good the last 6 games, but there’s plenty of room for even better.

  8. we just have to live with our current corner outfielders for the next couple of years. When the reds are good again the Winkers, Duvalls, Scheblers of the world will be distant memories. I still like Billy in cf hitting in the back of the lineup. he will be the Ceasar Geronimo of the new Big Red Machine. Hopefully, Trammel. Siri, Friedl develop into really good outfielders and our nightmare outfield will finally come to an end.

    for now it really doesn’t matter if Winker is in left, or right, Duvall is on the bench or Schebler is in center. no matter how you arrange it ,the outfield is pretty ugly for our Cincinnati reds!

    • It doesn’t compare to other teams that’s for sure but if you take away Billy’s salary we are paying nothing for it.I am going to guess but Kemp’s salary alone is probably twice or three times what our guys make.Doesn’t make ours any better but I would sure like to see Winker/Scott get 500 at bats this year and just see if they are a part of our future.If Winker can get obp at a high 300 clip or even 400 and Scott can hit 25 or 30 homers then we can go after a really good CF in the off season.We are seeing more of who and what Duvall is and we already know about Billy.Would love to see both do better at the plate of course.

  9. I think there’s still room for improvement with Winker in LF, he really has high OBP skills. Hamilton should be OK, for the time being, to continue in CF. An upgrade for RF is needed, with a power RH hitter.

  10. Desclafani is scheduled to start for Pensacola tonight. What a difference a healthy AD could make on the Reds staff this year.

    • I really am having a whole lot of problems with this Harvey situation. So the thought is we fix Harvey and turn him back into one of the most dominate pitchers in baseball and then trade him to someone who needs him at the deadline because he will be a free agent after the season and we can not afford to sign him.. Am I missing something? As a free agent next year and knowing we have to move him or get nothing what could we expect as a return. Would anyone gamble on his health going forward? Would he truly be the best option out there. Is the potential return in the trade market more valuable then the innings we could use to develop one of our own prospects? Disco needs a spot and we ain’t eating Homers deal anytime soon. There also is no opening in the bull pen even if Homer was sent there. The rebuild could move forward if we were able to get out of our own way. Giving innings to Harvey and Homer is not gong to help figure out who are keepers on the next reds contending team is. Homer is a sunk cost and should be treated that way. Harvey should have never been traded for. Garrett should have been in our rotation from day one. SMDH!!!!

      • YES, that’s my problem with the Harvey situation as well…..OPPORTUNITY COST!

      • I agree Jim but it will be a tough call.I looked at the Harvey trade as just doing something to be doing something.He has no future with this team regardless of what he does.All of us know what really needs to be done but sentiment always gets the way with this team.I talked over the weekend to a man who is 40 years old and all he wanted to talk about was the Big Red Machine.He knew tons of stuff but he never lived it or saw it he just heard and read about it because he lives in Columbus.My point is I love to talk about the good old days of the Reds and can remember tons of stuff such as Tony Perez going to the Expos and me being in the stadium his first game back.Its time to do what has to be done and move on.Holding on to Frazier and Chapman and others until its too late to get anything for them or bringing make Bronson last year is just dumb.Your last sentence is exactly what should happen but it won’t so here we go again.The town,the organization and guys like me need to quit living in the past and move on.

      • Think of it monetarily. Basically, that has to be done with all Reds moves… In the Mesoraco/Harvey trade, money was sent along so that basically the Reds are still paying Mesoraco’s salary and the Mets are paying Harvey’s. That said, the Reds are paying Harvey out of their MLB payroll as they sent that difference in salary to the Mets. What that means, is there is like $4-million or so that the Reds are spending for Harvey assuming they keep him all year. This isn’t money they added, it’s already accounted for in the payroll. If they move Harvey at the deadline, even for a non-prospect, it is likely that the buying team will have to take on whatever is left of Harvey’s contract. Assuming the Reds move him at the deadline, for the Reds, that could be over $2-million in cost savings. I’m guessing the Reds thought they had a better chance of getting that money back on fixing/moving Harvey than on moving Mesoraco.

  11. Good article. I fear the Reds will bow to veteran privilege once again and delay the inevitable until it’s too obvious to ignore by even a casual fan. Riggleman has been chipping away at that privilege and winning in the process which makes it impossible for the players to protest. After Homer’s helmet spike saturday night after getting pulled after 5 IP I don’t even want to think of the poopstorm he will cause when the time comes to send him to the bullpen. Yet, this is what team who are serious about winning do and they make no apologies for it. Are the Reds all in? We’ll soon see….

    • Yeah. At what point do we worry less about the starts Harvey is stealing from the youngster(s) and start wondering about Homer. He was on thin-ice for most of his start on Saturday night. Kudos to him for working out of it, and it’s sad what age and injury have brought about.

      Not sure what to do when Descalfani comes back. Its unclear what service time benefit can be gained now from either Mahle, Castillo, or Ramono going to AAA since they all pitched significant number of games last year.

  12. Stats don’t lie. Last 7 games (Reds winning streak): Duvall .263/.391/.812, Hamilton .261/.292/.770, Winker .150/.227/.427, & Schebler .143/.208/.542. For the duration of this Reds uptic Duvall & Billy play everyday while Winker & Schebler split time in rf.

    • If we’re interested in small sample sizes, how about the fact that Duvall is 2 for his last 12, and 6 of those outs were Ks? The Reds won those four games in spite of Duvall’s hitting, not because of it. Putting the ball in play is valuable. Runners often move up a base on grounder and fly balls — but not on Ks. The stats do “lie” if you don’t use them right.

      • J, the post was meant to be a sarcastic reply to the premise of this comment. Ordaining Duvall as the 4th outfielder is still premature. Winker has a total of 245 ML AB. He isn’t a particularly good defender or baserunner, & has exhibited very little power for a starting corner outfielder. WARNING! WARNING! SMALL SAMPLE SIZE! He’s also a career .190 hitter vs lefties. Duvall is having a horrible year at the plate; nontheless he’s walking almost twice as much as usual while striking out a little less. Reds are getting a very good defensive left fielder who averages 30HR & 100 RBI @ ML minimum $s.

    • Showing a correlation between their recent positive performances and the team’s current winning streak fails to address the correlation between their earlier poor performances and the team’s abysmal record.

  13. I’ll do one more Harvey trade defense and stop.

    Let’s assume the team outta spring training was slated for a 78-84 finish. Let’s assume we replace Finnegan (0 war) with 2013-2015 Harvey (5 war) and replace Homer (-1 war) with 2015 Disco once healthy (3 war). That’s 9 war.

    So now the team goes 87-75 and sneaks into the playoffs!!

    Ok, are these outcomes likely? Heck no— but the different between a 78 and 87 win team is not much. I’m just trying to show that this team isn’t that far off. If the bullpen holds up and we can get some innings out of our starters, who knows?

  14. Nice article. But how do we fix center field?

  15. Interesting dialogue out of Houston today with GM stating the Astros may need to do something because of the offensive struggles of the bottom of the order…. DH Gattis isn’t getting it done as well as some young outfielders. A RH heavy lineup could use some lefty power in the 6 or 7 hole.

    The Angels closer exited the game yesterday with elbow pain and is getting an MRI.

  16. I like seeing Duvall in the lineup. In the last 7 games, he’s hitting .263. That’s better than Hamilton at .261, better than Schebler at .143 and way better than Winker at .111. You were saying?

    • Allow me to repeat:

      • Showing a correlation between their recent positive performances and the team’s current winning streak fails to address the correlation between their earlier poor performances and the team’s abysmal record.

    • Duvall’s BA in the last 7 games is helped by the fact that he had only one AB in last Wednesday’s game. He came in as a defensive replacement and hit a game-winning HR in the 10th. Sounds like the perfect way to use him: Late-inning defensive replacement and power bat off the bench.

  17. Duvall had a very good 1st half of 2016, with a wRC+ of 115 over 324 plate appearances. Since that time he has been a slightly below average hitter, with a wRC+ of 92 over 1021 PAs. That is almost 2 full seasons now of evidence that Duvall is a slightly below league-average hitter.
    Where he can still fit well on this team though is as the right-handed portion of an outfield platoon or right-handed power off the bench.
    Our presumptive 3 starting outfielders; Winker, Hamilton and Schebler hit better against right-handed pitching than against lefties. Duvall has a career 108 wRC+ against lefties. Giving him a few starts against tough lefties and having him as some power off the bench makes a lot of sense.

  18. Scooter Gennett named NL player of the week. Pair him up with Duvall and let’s get some trade talks started.

  19. Another reason Duvall or some other right handed slugger is so important to the lineup is to help protect Scooter.

    Scooter, more than any other player on our roster, needs dangerous RH hitting boppers immediately behind him to attempt to scare the opposing manager away from the LOOGY on Scooter in a high leverage situation.

    Maybe this stuff doesn’t matter, but when you’re ckawing your way out of the basement en route to a sub .500 record, every out counts (:D)!

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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