LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Adam Duvall is 19 games away from leading the National League in runs batted in this season, but Major League Baseball has a history of pitching Duvall high and tight.
Duvall been traded three times, released once and lectured repeatedly about his strikeouts and on-base percentage.
After completing his career at the University of Louisville in 2010, Duvall needed five seasons to get to the major leagues. The most beloved prospects get there in a season or two, usually skipping a level or two of development.
Duvall did not skip any steps, hitting rookie ball, low-A, High-A, Double-A and Triple-A before finally arriving with the San Francisco Giants on June 26, 2014. He homered off Cincinnati’s Mike Leake for his first big-league hit.
“I could never be too happy for a guy like that,” Braves Manager Brian Snitker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The teammate, the person. Man, there’s something wrong with you if you can’t root for Adam Duvall.”
Duvall is also a product of Butler High School. He turned 33 last week. His pedigree shows home runs off Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Jake Peavy, Kyle Hendricks, John Lester, Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Lucas Giolito, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arietta and other pitchers nobody wants to face. Didn’t matter. Duvall has always heard from skeptics.
After he got to the majors, Duvall returned to the minors for 226 more games in the seasons following his debut.
The Giants traded Duvall. So did the Reds. The Braves declined to sign Duvall after he was their second-leading home run hitter last season, delivering 16 bombs in 57 games in the COVID-19-shortened season.
Miami signed him for a deal worth at least $7 million in guaranteed money over two seasons — just $2 million in 2021.
In today’s baseball, $2 million is tip money for big league outfielders. But when the Marlins disappeared from the pennant race this summer, they were ready for Duvall to disappear from their payroll.
So they traded him back to Atlanta, only months after the Braves had decided they had better outfield options than Duvall.
Today, according to Baseball Prospectus, the Braves are given a 75% chance of winning the National League East, a 77% chance of making the playoffs and a 4.4% shot at winning the World Series.
If any of that happens, tip your cap toward Duvall. On Tuesday night, he launched his 35th home run and pushed his RBI total to 101, four more than anybody in the National League. His home run total trails only Padres’ shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who has 38, in the NL.
Duvall’s current 11-game hitting streak is the longest active streak in the NL. Since joining Atlanta at the July 30 trade deadline, Duvall has 13 home runs for the Braves, 11 with at least one runner on base.
“He’s a different guy when you have runners on, that’s for darn sure,” Snitker told the AJC. “I think his average and the whole thing is something else with runners in scoring position, and obviously, it has to be when you’re racking up RBIs like that.”
Chris Burke, the former St. Xavier High School star who played in the 2005 World Series for the Astros, asked this on Twitter Wednesday morning:
Name another Louisvillian to drive in 100 runs.
I tried to answer Burke’s question, but when I took a second look at the situation, I got it wrong.
My initial response was the last Louisville native to drive in 100 runs was Gus Bell. A graduate of Flaget High School as well as the grandfather of Reds’ manager David Bell, Gus Bell knocked in 115 runs for Cincinnati in 1959.
But Gus Bell was not the last Louisville native to knock in 100 runs. That player was ... Adam Duvall, who drove in 103 runs for the Reds in 2016.
So for the next 19 games, Duvall will chase four things: a spot in the playoffs, the NL RBI and home run titles and a personal best in runs batted in.
Not bad work by a guy who was drafted in the 11th round of the 2010 MLB free-agent draft — and four teams have given up on.
Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.