Five things Braves fans should know about their newest dinger hero, Adam Duvall
The Braves declared themselves buyers on Monday, acquiring outfielder and 2016 All-Star Adam Duvall from the Reds in an effort to bolster their lineup for a run at the NL East crown.
Atlanta fans, we realize that this is a lot to process, and you probably have some questions: How will Duvall help? Will he fit in on my already extremely likable team? Just who is he? Luckily, we're here with answers: 1) You bet, 2) you bet, 3) quite possibly your new favorite player -- and here are five reasons why.
1. He's a Cinderella story
Duvall's seen plenty of adversity: During his junior year at Louisville's Butler High School, he sustained a cracked vertebra in his back that forced him to miss his entire senior season. He got healthy and worked his way from Western Kentucky to Chipola Junior College to his hometown University of Louisville, where he hit .328 with 11 homers as a senior ... but still fell all the way to the Giants in the 11th round of the 2010 Draft.
He had just one year of experience against top competition, and despite being moved from second base to third to finally left field, all Duvall did was hit. He posted 22 homers and a .912 OPS in his first full year in the Minors in 2011, then followed it up with Class A-leading 30 dingers in 2012. San Francisco eventually dealt him to Cincinnati for Mike Leake, but Duvall just kept on raking -- and in 2016, en route to a 33-homer season, he became one of baseball's unlikeliest All-Stars (and Home Run Derby contestants):
2. He hits a whole lot of dingers
You may have noticed that the previous section contained an awful lot of home runs. This is not a coincidence: From just about the moment he got to the Majors, Duvall has been a dinger machine. He hit 31 in 2016, 33 in 2017 and has 15 more this year entering play on Tuesday. That's 79 homers in the last 2 1/2 years -- for context, that puts him ahead of Bryce Harper, Joey Votto, Jose Ramirez, Josh Donaldson and Joey Gallo.
Duvall is like his very own Dr. Seuss poem: He can hit balls out to right:
And he can hit balls out to left:
He can hit fastballs:
And he can hit breaking balls:
3. He makes a great first impression
Coming to a new team -- much less a new team in the middle of a pennant race -- can be a daunting proposition. But fear not, Atlanta: If there's one thing Duvall has mastered over his career, it's the art of introducing himself.
Duvall made his MLB debut back on June 26, 2014, starting for the Giants against the Reds. And in the seventh inning, wouldn't you know it:
But that's not all! Duvall's first at-bat for Cincy came on Aug. 31, 2015, when he was called on to pinch-hit at Wrigley Field. You can probably guess what happened next:
4. He's a surprisingly good defender
With all that power, you'd be forgiven for assuming that Duvall wasn't much with the glove. Fortunately for the Braves, you would be wrong: Duvall has turned himself into a very solid left fielder, ranking 12th in all of baseball in Statcast's outs above average stat last year. What that means in practice? He can do stuff like this:
5. He just wants to be loved
For a man who hits as many homers as Duvall does, you'd think he'd have his celebration down pat by now. Alas:
Good thing he's headed to Atlanta, where Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman and company will probably just slap those hands away and come in for a big ol' hug: