We continue Red Reporter's player-by-player look at the 2015 Cincinnati Reds. We'll profile every player who got time for the Reds this year, and will imagine their tenure with the Reds going forward.
By the Numbers
72 PA, .219/.306/.484 , 5HR, 9 RBI, 112 OPS+
The trade deadline was a bittersweet moment for Reds fans. It's always extremely difficult to wave goodbye to players that played such an instrumental role in successful teams. Especially when those successful teams were the first really successful teams in a decade. Then again, the 2015 trade deadline finally signaled to Reds fans that management was willing to play the game; it was finally time to turn the page and close the window.
Reds fans literally watched Mike Leake grow up. After being drafted with the 8th pick in the 2009 draft, Mike Leake pitched 19 innings in that year's fall league and then spent zero time in the minors, making the Reds Opening Day roster in 2010. He made his first start in April and a lot of starts thereafter. In fact, Leake pitched a mere 7 innings in AAA throughout his entire tenure with the Reds. Sure, there were plenty of ups and downs, but Reds fans were fortunate enough to watch Mike Leake almost immediately begin to blossom into a solid major league starter.
So, in the vein, it was especially difficult, if not especially necessary, to see Mike Leake shipped out of town. On the night of July 30th, the Reds traded Mike Leake to the Giants. The real get in the deal was right hander Keury Mella, who assumed starting duties in A+ Daytona. However, the other piece in the deal netted the Reds right handed slugging Adam Duvall. Duvall transitioned out of the PCL and into life in his hometown Louisville, but the Reds found a need after they also shipped Marlon Byrd to the Giants in a waiver trade deal. On August 31st, Duvall made his Reds debut.
2015 in Review
Adam Duvall's never really been a prospecty prospect. Our friend John Sickels at Minor League Ball noted as much in July of 2014, but had a lot of good things to say as well.
Scouts have been waiting for Adam Duvall to fail, but it hasn't happened yet. His '13 numbers at Double-A Richmond are actually better than his '12 numbers for High-A San Jose once context is considered: his wRC+ went from 105 to 114, as he continued to show good power despite moving into a more difficult park/league context. The former 11th round pick from the University of Louisville doesn't have great tools, but he can thump the ball and is particularly effective against left-handed pitching. His athletic limitations show up on defense where he's merely mediocre at third base. He's performed decently in limited exposure at first base, so perhaps he can be a corner utility type with a power bat. I'm not sure how he fits into the long- term plan, but I rather like him and think he could be a useful asset as a role player. Grade C+.
In 2014, Duvall received a similar workload with the Giants as he received with the Reds in 2015, and he didn't acclimate himself particularly well, slashing just .192/.234/.342 for a 63 OPS+. That earned him significant time with the Sacto River Cats this season, where he tore the cover off the ball, bashing 26 home runs, posting a .547 SLG.
However, life in the International League proved to be a little more difficult for Duvall, which isn't atypical for guys who've made their minor league living in the PCL. Duvall struggled to get much of anything going with the bats, hitting just 4 home runs in 104 PAs, batting an abysmal .189/.260/.358.
The Reds found themselves with an opening after trading Byrd, however, especially considering Yorman Rodriguez found himself on the shelf by the end of the season. Despite the bad number with his new team, the Reds called up Duvall, who commenced bashing. SSS applies, of course, but the Reds had to be pleased with what they saw. In only 72 PAs, Duvall hit 5 dingers and posted an OPS+ of 112, which is a damn sight better than a lot of the Reds batters can say. Defense is going to be a concern going forward, but in 120 innings in left field, the defensive metrics actually liked Duvall, rating him neutral, at worst. All told, the rookie put the tough showing in San Francisco behind him, posting a small season worth 0.6 fWAR.
Look, it's a long offseason, and plenty of moves are going to be made this offseason that will change the way the 25 man roster should potentially look in 2016. But right now, there's a very good chance that Adam Duvall will be getting some regular run as the left fielder of the Cincinnati Reds.
And, for a good team, Adam Duvall should probably not be getting regular run as the left fielder. However, the Reds are not going to be a good team in 2016. But, Adam Duvall has the potential to be a legit bench bat. As you read above, Duvall as mashed left-handed pitchers during his minor league career, which is something that hasn't fleshed itself in the little run that he's gotten as a major league player. He struck out out a lot in 2015 (36% K rate), but he'd never posted anything higher than 22% in the minors. He's not going to walk at all (8% in 2015), but it's not like players with Duvall's pedigree and upside ever really walk much. And the power is obviously going to play up at GABP.
Defense will be an issue, as he's really probably a first baseman in the big leagues, but I don't think there's much reason to be particularly concerned about that. Duvall's future will likely be as a big bashing bat off the bench for a team that has its eye on contending. That won't be the Reds in 2016, but Duvall couldn't certainly play into it down the road.
Or, he could be the 2014 Kris Negron with all of the hitting pedigree of Chris Dominguez. I bet we're about to find out.
Chance of making 2016 Reds roster: 75%+