The stove has been heating up around Bryan Reynolds and the Yankees lately, and it’s clear New York could use another piece in the outfield. Of course, things don’t always go according to plan, as we’ve seen all over this offseason, and the asking price for Reynolds seems to be understandably high. There are some backup options out there, many of which would come pretty cheap, like Adam Duvall. The veteran right-hander has been a solid-enough player for a while now, but is coming off of a down and shortened 2022 season. If some primary options fall through, he could be a viable plan B or C that wouldn’t break the bank.
This past year was Duvall’s worst season in a while — it was also only 86 games, cut short by season-ending wrist surgery, where he managed just an 87 wRC+. He was, however, coming off a stretch of really solid seasons. 2016-17 was his first opportunity as a full time player, and he did an admirable job with it. He came out as an about-average hitter (with over 30 homers both years) and was overall a decent everyday player with a pair of 2.5 win seasons. Duvall followed up those quality performances with a pretty miserable 138 game 2018 season.
His career was not lost, however, as he came back for three good years from 2019 to ‘21. The first of those seasons brought his best production as a big leaguer (120 wRC+) but he only managed to stay on the field for 41 games. The latter two years were just as solid, and in 2021 he played full-time, hitting an impressive 38 homers with a 103 wRC+ putting up a respectable 2.7 fWAR for the world-champ Braves.
Although this past season was a down year for the veteran, he does have a decent track record of being an average to above-average contributor. He has some serious pop, and does a great job defensively in the outfield. I may be a bit more guided by intrigue than value here, but I always seem to find homer-happy good defenders to be an interesting player profile.
Duvall is just that. In the five seasons it’s been recorded for him, he’s ranked in the 88th percentile or better by outs above average in four of them, and he’s also got some sneaky speed to go with it. And from 2020-21, he hit the fourth most homers in all of baseball with 54.
Duvall is not going to be a star anywhere he goes, but he can put a ball in the seats with the best of them, and has experience playing all three outfield spots quite well. I hate to be so feeling-based, but he does seem like someone who’s always doing good things on the field to help his team win games. I don’t know how much weight that carries, but it’s better than his play evoking the alternative.
Especially coming off of his underwhelming ‘22 campaign, Duvall is not going to get a very big deal in free agency. FanGraphs has him projected for a one-year deal at $7 million. There aren’t really any bad one year contracts, and it feels safe to say Duvall would be a reasonably valuable addition for a lot of teams. Even if he was just a fourth outfielder, someone with his profile would fit the job description pretty well.
For the Yankees, the big splash in the outfield would obviously be trading for Bryan Reynolds, but the big splash doesn’t always happen. Duvall is a fairly consistent baseball player with an interesting skillset, and he could be a reasonable target as a third/fourth outfielder if things don’t go exactly as planned.