Adam Duvall Raises Good Point About Pace Of Play Benefiting Outfielders

Duvall's offense dropped off in 2022 when he played center


Feb 28, 2023

Major League Baseball hopes its rule changes for the 2023 season dramatically improve pace of play and lead to more action on the field. The new initiatives are also certain to have a deeper impact on the sport and the players who take the field every day.

To that second point, Red Sox outfielder Adam Duvall made an interesting observation during Boston’s spring training game on Monday. The Sox signed Duvall to play center field, a position he is certainly capable of handling. However, Duvall’s offensive production on days he was penciled in to play center wasn’t as good as the games he was patrolling the corner outfield.


When pressed about that Monday, Duvall acknowledged there is a greater physical toll on the body playing center field. He admitted it sometimes can affect a player’s ability at the plate. However, Duvall also pointed out the new pace-of-play push could make things a little easier on outfielders at all positions.

“Hopefully the quicker pace of the games and not being on your feet as long (will make a difference),” Duvall told NESN’s Tom Caron during an in-game interview. “Just having played it more, I think that’s going to help. I did a lot of preparation to play center field this year. I think I’m in a good spot.”

On the surface, it might seem a little silly to hear a professional athlete talk about the toll it takes on the body to simply stand around. However, the average time of MLB games has hovered at 3 hours or above since 2012. Just split that in half, and you’ve got about 90 minutes of standing around for defenders.

Again, it’s not like they’re asked to run marathons in between at-bats. But every little bit matters, especially over the course of a 162-game season. For a player like Duvall, a little extra spring in the legs in the seventh inning of a game in August could mean the difference between a flyout to left and a ball off the Green Monster.

Duvall isn’t simply banking on the rules changes to carry him through, either. He did extra running and conditioning in the offseason to make sure his body can withstand the added physical requirements.

One other thing to consider is how a move to Fenway Park might affect Duvall. Obviously, he’ll have to learn how to play the unique bounces and caroms, and he gets a chance to do that every day at JetBlue Park. The Fenway effect goes deeper than that, though. TruistPark in Atlanta has one of the bigger outfields in baseball, while Fenway is among the least spacious, especially when you consider how much room is down the right-field line, territory Duvall won’t see very often if he’s playing center field most nights.

There’s also the point that many have already made. Just getting a chance to hit at Fenway Park — a place for which Duvall’s swing looks tailored and where he has had past success — should improve his offensive production, too.

Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images
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