Walt Jocketty did well to turn the remainder of Mike LeakeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s contract into Keury Mella, a nearly 22 year-old starter with a high ceiling, albeit yet another one in an organization now overstuffed with them. Disregarding the redundancy of the return, snagging one of the best arms in another teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s farm system for the oft-undervalued Leake is a great deal, even if that system failed to land a single prospect on either Baseball Prospectus or Baseball AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s midseason Top 50 lists.
But, lest you think the Reds plan to go with a 10-man rotation in 2017 and play Tony Cingrani in the outfield, the Leake trade brought back the RedsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ first (and only) position player in a deadline dealÃ¢â‚¬â€the big stick-carrying corner infielder, Adam Duvall.
DuvallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name ought to be familiar to some, as he showed up in parts of the last three months of 2014 for the Giants, mostly filling in at first base while pinch hitting on occasion. He notched 77 plate appearances during San FranciscoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stretch run in the regular season, but struck out 20 times (to just three walks) while slashing a woeful .192/.234/.342.
And thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the rubÃ¢â‚¬â€Duvall ostensibly has but one tool to offer an MLB team, his power. DuvallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ascent through the minors has been measured and steady, as heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s progressed one level per season since being drafted in 2010 (with the exception of his MLB call-up in 2014). Looking at his yearly stats, you can easily pick out the three statistics which have kept Duvall rising through the minors: His home runs, slugging percentage, and isolated slugging (which is the measurement of extra-base hit frequency by subtracting a playerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s AVG from his SLG, abbreviated as ISO).
But Duvall is no slouch in the power department. He took advantage of his first full season of pro ball by blasting 22 homers in 116 Single-A games in 2011, posting a .527 SLG and a .241 ISO (with the latter number being lessened a bit by a .320 average on balls in play). He followed that up with a 30 home run campaign the following season at Class-A Advanced. A slight down year in Double-A (although he posted his second-best career walk rate and his lowest strikeout rate) was followed by 27 bombs in just 394 Triple-A plate appearances last season, resulting in a .599 SLG and a massive .301 ISO (interestingly enough, he again had a .320 BABIP).
But with that prodigious power come the hallmarks of the all-or-nothing hitterÃ¢â‚¬â€a hefty amount of strikeouts and a walk rate well below 10%. In that 2012 season at Double-A Duvall only struck out in 16.7% of his plate appearances, but since heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stayed above 20%, including posting a 26% strikeout rate in his major league stint last season.
Additionally, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not much defensive ability to speak of. His preferred minor league positions speak to that somewhat, as heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gradually moved to first base from third over the last few seasons (though heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also played 10 games in left field this season). In his MLB stint, he logged 148.1 innings at first base and displayed barely below-average defense. Unfortunately for Duvall, that position is blocked in his new organization by the Canadian God of On-Base Percentage.
#Reds Walt Jocketty said Adam Duvall will start in LF in AAA
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) July 31, 2015
Duvall is going to get a chance to adapt to left field, where his power-only value could play better provided he shows average defense or something close to it. His 2015 performance at Triple-A has been awfully close to his overall track record: a .279/.323/.545 slash line (with 26 HR in 437 plate appearances) and a 20.8% strikeout rate identical to his rate last year in Triple-A. The disconcerting element has been a career-low (not counting his MLB stint) 5.7% walk rate which needs to be improved upon.
Adam DuvallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s profile is such that the Reds would be happy enough for him to become a useful bench bat, the type the Reds havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t had for a while. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just shy of 27 years old, meaning heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unlikely to blossom into an above-replacement MLB starter, let alone a star, at this point. But if he can be taught a little more plate discipline to pair with that power, Duvall could be a useful complementary piece once the rebuild or Ã¢â‚¬Å“rebootÃ¢â‚¬Â is complete.