Adam Duvall was a 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star. He was in the home run derby. He’s currently got 28 doubles and 31 home runs. He’s also got an on-base percentage of .295 and his OPS has dropped under .800 on the season, currently sitting at .797.
A .797 OPS is good, but Duvall is at an extreme given that his is weighted heavily towards the slugging percentage. The Reds left fielder has had two very different halves of the season. Let’s take a look at his first and second half splits:
In the first half he slugged .551, but posted a .288 on-base percentage. His strikeout rate was much higher and his walk rate was much lower. In the second half he’s turned in a solid walk rate and he’s cut down on the strikeouts, but his power has gone down significantly. The overall production of the season he been good enough at the plate, but the second half production simply hasn’t been much to write home about.
The adjustments in terms of his walk rate and strikeout rate have been nice to see, but the big decline in power had mitigated those improvements. His isolated slugging in the second half has been strong, sitting at .206 – but it’s down nearly 100 points from where it was in the first half. The fact that he’s hit just .227 makes that impressive isolated power seem mediocre at best because it’s just a .433 slugging percentage.
What’s interesting is that when we look at how hard he’s hitting the baseball by month, the two months that he’s had the best exit velocity have been August and September – but the results haven’t matched what he was doing early in the season. Not only is he hitting the ball harder overall in August and September, he’s also hitting it further on average. Here are his exit velocity and hits average distance per ball in play by month:
|Exit Velo||avg Distance|
Process over results is something that tends to work itself out in the long run, and from a process side of things, Adam Duvall is doing things better than he did in the first half. He’s swinging at better pitches, he’s making more contact, he’s hitting the ball harder overall and he’s hitting the ball further overall. It’s just been the results that haven’t worked out for him just yet.
If Adam Duvall can find a middle point between where his power was in the first half and the second half, and keep his second half walk and strikeout rates, he should be able to get his way back to an above-average hitter as long as his batting average on balls in play can normalize. That, though, is a big question. Even in the minor leagues he had low BABIP numbers, and in the Major Leagues it’s .266 on the year.
With Jesse Winker hitting over .300 in Triple-A and playing the corner outfield spot, both Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler are likely to be looking over their shoulders in spring training. With how Duvall hit in the first half with his power and the changes he’s made in the second half that haven’t quite produced just yet, and how Scott Schebler has hit in the second half with the big league club, the Reds may be best served to see how both perform to start 2017 on the corners and let Winker hone his game a little bit longer in Louisville.