Adam Duvall thinks about a potential return to the Majors "a lot." More of what he's done recently could make it happen.Duvall, a veteran of 500 big league contests, homered for the fifth straight game as Triple-A Gwinnett clobbered Charlotte, 9-2, at BB&T Ballpark on Monday night. The 30-year-old has
Adam Duvall thinks about a potential return to the Majors "a lot." More of what he's done recently could make it happen.
Duvall, a veteran of 500 big league contests, homered for the fifth straight game as Triple-A Gwinnett clobbered Charlotte, 9-2, at BB&T Ballpark on Monday night. The 30-year-old has hit safely in eight straight games and 11 of his last 12 while going deep six times during his home run streak. He's one short of his career high during a single month.
"Eight or nine days ago, I didn't have a home run," Duvall said. "This is little stretch is one of the better ones that I've had."
What's changed? It all starts with how well the outfielder is seeing the ball, he said, who added he's been able to wait for pitches in the zone and his mechanics feel good.
"You wrap all those things together at once, and you hope to have a lot of success when that happens," Duvall said.
The latest installment of the big fly streak came in the first inning against White Sox No. 29 prospectJordan Stephens (2-3). Rafael Ortega led off the game with a homer for the fourth time this year and Andrés Blanco stood on second base after doubling. Duvall fell behind the count, 1-2, but suspected the right-hander would come back with a slider after bouncing one earlier in the at-bat. He was right. This time, the ball didn't find the dirt. It blasted off Duvall's barrel and sailed into the glove of a fan well beyond the wall in left-center field.
The Louisville product didn't wait as long to do damage in his next plate appearance. Duvall tripled to left in the second on Stephens' first pitch, plating Ortega. He also walked and scored in the ninth.
Gameday box score
Prior to the start of the season, Duvall had not appeared in the Minors since 2015. He played in 125 games with Triple-A Louisville and Sacramento that year before spending September with the Reds. Cincinnati acquired Duvall and Keury Mella in a trade that sent Mike Leake to San Francisco on July 30, 2015. He earned a spot on the National League All-Star team the next season and finished the year with 33 home runs and 103 RBIs while hitting .241. Those numbers stayed steady in 2017 when he swatted 31 homers and drove in 99 runs with a .249 average.
But after posting a .205/.286/.399 slash line with 15 homers in 331 at-bats in the first half of last year, the Reds shipped Duvall to Atlanta at the trade deadline. He recorded seven hits -- just one for extra bases -- in 53 at-bats with the Braves. Although he re-signed with the club in the offseason, he was optioned to Triple-A after hitting .171 in Grapefruit League play.
With Gwinnett, Duvall resembles the player that broke out three summers ago. His power stroke appears to have returned, but he's also hitting .315 after never batting above .300 in any season at any level. He's gone hitless in just three of 24 games so far.
"When I got sent down, the main thing was to get back and get back into the swing of things," Duvall said. "To just have success wherever I'm at. That was the main goal. So far, we've put a lot of work in and the coaches have been great and they've helped me out a lot. It's been fun to learn and grow."
The Stripers totaled 11 hits with Ortega scoring three times and driving in two. Travis Demeritte crossed the plate twice after walking twice and logging a hit and Ryan LaMarre added two RBIs.
Southpaw Sean Newcomb (2-1) allowed an earned run on four hits without a walk and three strikeouts in six innings.
Joe Bloss is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss.