There were a number of reasons why Adam Duvall came to the Red Sox.
The veteran outfielder, who recently agreed to a one-year, $7 million deal, had never played in the American League during his nine-year career. He came up with the Giants in 2014, then made stops in Cincinnati, Atlanta, Miami, and most recently Atlanta again, winning a World Series in 2021 with the club.
But the Red Sox always intrigued Duvall. Now, possibly, more than ever.
“One, [selling point] obviously, was the opportunity to play every day and the chance to be a part of an organization that has had a lot of tradition, a lot of success, a lot of good players, and a good manager,” Duvall said Wednesday. “Another selling point was guys reaching out from the team, and from around the organization, letting me know that they were looking forward to playing with me.”
One of those players was Kiké Hernández, who has been an integral part of the Sox’ recruitment process this offseason. Justin Turner and manager Alex Cora also played a role in Duvall’s arrival.
“We had several meetings and wanted to make sure that not only was it a right fit for me, but it was a right fit for them,” Duvall said. “I think we came to that conclusion that, let’s give it a go.”
Duvall entering the fold will free up space for Hernández to shift from center field to shortstop, with Duvall set to take over duties in center. Despite making just 71 career starts at the position, the 34-year-old is viewed overall as a plus defender in the outfield and should command the spot well.
Fenway and its unique outfield dimensions, particularly in center and right, will present a different challenge. When it comes to learning and growing more accustomed to the ballpark, Duvall is already doing his homework.
“I’ve thought about going back and watching certain plays and how I can learn to play the ball off the wall, and in the gap,” Duvall said. “I’m thinking of ways that I can try and familiarize myself with the park and with the dimensions. There will be a little small learning curve there, because it’s a very unique park.”
The uniqueness of Fenway can also play to Duvall’s strengths in the batter’s box as a hitter who likes to get the ball in the air to the pull-side. His success rate when he applies that approach is certainly eye-popping: 106 of Duvall’s 163 career home runs have traveled to the pull-side, per Baseball Savant.
Duvall boasts a career .398 batting average when he pulls the ball, posting an .852 slugging percentage. When Duvall pulls the ball in the air the numbers are even more eye-popping, with a .527 average and a 1.941 slugging mark.
“It’s definitely something I find intriguing and get a little bit excited about,” Duvall said. “So I definitely think I can use that to my advantage. I’ve been working on my swing all offseason. I’m excited to take what I’ve got into that ballpark and into that league and try to put some barrels on the ball.”
Duvall played in just 86 games last year, missing a bunch of time because left wrist surgery. But chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Duvall himself said that the outfielder is a full-go for spring training.
As it pertains to the team the Sox have assembled so far, Duvall believes fans — and critics — are selling the them short.
“[The team] is not getting enough credit, as far as where we stand,” Duvall said. “There are some competitors on this team. I’m looking forward to playing with them. And I think that, that means more to me. Everybody can pull on the same side of the rope.”