Adam Duvall is having one heck of a September. He has 11 home runs in 22 games, good for a wRC+ of 163. In total, he’s hit 16 home runs on the season, and has posted a 2020 wRC+ of 127. This despite a usual mid-.200s batting average and minimal bases on balls.
Duvall is still a ways off from Babe Ruth’s incredible record set in September 1927, when he hit 18 home runs in 28 games. Of course The Babe tallied 60 home runs that season, besting every other club’s team total. In historical context though, Duvall’s double-digit month is a rarity.
Duvall’s offense is helping drive the Braves to an easy repeat for the NL East pennant. With the second-place Marlins(?!) five games behind, Atlanta has been in control of the East for over a month, and at their worst-stretch this year, were still only two games off the division lead (this was back in mid-August).
Few would describe Adam Duvall as a well-balanced player, or even a well-balanced hitter. He’s a slugger through-and-through, a power hitter who strikes out anywhere from ¼ to ⅓ of the time. He can be a liability in a corner outfield spot, and he doesn’t walk nearly as much as you’d like from a player with such home run power.
He’s far from the best slugger in baseball, which is why Atlanta picked him up at a one-year $3.25 million deal. At that minimal cost however, Duvall has been a worthwhile addition to the Braves’ offense, and will likely land somewhere in the 1.0 fWAR on the season.
Duvall is truly in-the-zone this month, and is raking against all types of pitches opposing hurlers have offered. Since September first, he’s hit four homers off fourseamers, three against cutters, two on sliders, and one each on changeups and sinkers. The right hand hitting Duvall has tallied nine homers against right-handed pitchers, and only two against southpaws — a consequence of him facing far more righties than lefties over the last few weeks.
His power-streak started on September 2nd, when he put up three home runs against the Red Sox and their historically bad pitching. He put up two more home runs over the next few games, before going yard three times in a game one week later, this time against the Marlins. In that game, he posted nine RBIs.
Duvall is as free-swinging as-ever during this stretch, and he has not allowed pitchers to get much into a groove. Four of Duvall’s 11 September home runs have been on the first pitch of an at-bat, and as you can see from his percentage of swings versus pitches, he’s been making contact and driving results:
At this point, Duvall has not hit a home run since September 19th, but if the last few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that a three-homer night is never out of the question. It may be boom-or-bust for Duvall, but in the playoffs, I think the Braves will be happy to take their chances on his bat.