Adam Duvall is Red Sox biggest X-factor at the plate in 2023

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 30: Adam Duvall #14 of the Atlanta Braves gets ready in the batters box against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 30, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 30: Adam Duvall #14 of the Atlanta Braves gets ready in the batters box against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 30, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Can Adam Duvall be the next folk hero for the Boston Red Sox?

Mike Napoli, Johnny Gomes, Kevin Millar, and Steve Pearce are a few names Boston Red Sox fans remember as clutch players who rejuvenated their careers playing at Fenway Park.  Will Adam Duvall join that list of folk heroes in Boston?

After signing a one-year deal to be the everyday center fielder and a source of power in the lineup, Duvall is suddenly one of the biggest X-factors on the Red Sox roster this season because if he returns to that slugger who hit 30-plus homers just a couple seasons ago, the lineup can and should be much better than expected.

With Rafael Devers as the only real scary bat in the lineup, the Sox need someone else to step up if the current roster is what it’s going to be come Opening Day.  In letting both Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez walk, the Red Sox have some question marks in the lineup.

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Along with relying on Alex Verdugo to finally breakout and a jolt of energy Justin Turner could provide, the Red Sox really need the veteran presence in the middle of the lineup Duvall can provide in a healthy season.

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While it wasn’t a signing that moved the needle drastically if you are a Red Sox fan, there is some excitement surrounding the move, mostly from the player himself as he highlighted what sold him on signing with the Red Sox.

"“There were actually several selling points,” Duvall told reporters, as transcribed by  “One, obviously, the opportunity to play every day.  The chance to be a part of an organization what has a lot of tradition, has had a lot of success, a lot of good players, good manager.  So that was a huge selling point there.”"

What stands out most about Duvall’s excitement is the players reaching out to recruit him.  As much uncertainty as there is amongst fans when it comes to the Boston Red Sox ownership and approach to roster building, it is encouraging that the players are buying in and reaching out to bring in players they believe will help them.

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In talking about other selling points that influenced Duvall to choose Boston over teams like the New York Yankees and New York Mets, the new center fielder said it was the recruitment by players like Turner and Kiké Hernandez along with Red Sox manager Alex Cora that played a role.

"“Another selling point was guys reaching out from the team and around the organization letting me know that they were looking forward to playing with me and things of those sorts.  So, I think it all kind of came together.  It was a culmination of different things, but I couldn’t be more excited to be playing with the Red Sox and to be a part of this ride.”"

In all, the former Gold Glove winner will face the challenge of playing in the outfield at Fenway Park.  In noting the dimensions as the biggest part of the defensive dimensions he will have to make; he knows he will need to familiarize himself with the unique aspect of the park quickly.

But that challenge in the outfield is also a big advantage at the plate as offensively Duvall can return to that power at the plate, he displayed in 2021.  With the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves, he hit 38 homers with 113 RBI.

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That production behind Devers is what the Red Sox really need, which makes him the team’s biggest X-factor in 2023 because of what he has already proven as a veteran baseball player.