Marlins killer Adam Duvall is now on their side and in RF

MIAMI — Adam Duvall gave the Miami Marlins fits last year, and they solved the problem by bringing him over to their side.

Duvall hit five homers for Atlanta in nine games against Miami and had an OPS of 1.201. The Marlins were especially mindful of his three-homer, nine-RBI game in the midst of the playoff race when they signed him to a $5 million, one-year deal two weeks ago.

“They talked about how I had had some success against them,” Duvall said with a laugh Wednesday.

His signing changes the Marlins’ outlook as full-squad spring training workouts begin in Jupiter, Florida. They’re planning to plug him into right field and the middle of lineup, where he provides a significant power upgrade for an offense that ranked fifth-worst in MLB in homers in 2020.

Duvall hit 16 for the Braves, five more than Marlins leader Brian Anderson.

“Adam has solidified right field for us,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s a guy who is big and strong and capable of hitting the ball out of the ballpark, and it doesn’t really matter what ballpark. He’s one of those true power guys, and you do want danger in there.”

Duvall, 32, has been much more dangerous since the Braves demoted him to Triple-A for much of the 2019 season. He returned to post a career-high .882 OPS with 10 homers for Atlanta in 41 games that year.

Last season, only two National League players hit more homers.

“He definitely has closed some holes up,” Mattingly said.

Duvall said he bonded in the minors with batting coach Bobby Magallanes, who became a mentor.

“It was a blessing in disguise,” Duvall said. “I like the growth I’ve had in the past two years.

“I really enjoy learning the game. I enjoy trying to get every edge I can, and that’s one thing that has helped me progress as I get older. Every little piece of the game, I enjoy learning about and talking about.”

Duvall believes that makes him a good fit with the Marlins, who made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2003 with a young team that appears to be trending upward.

“We have a group of guys that are hungry and want to learn,” Duvall said. “That’s going to be fun.”

Duvall said he’s still learning, too. He’s solid defensively and was an offensive force last year, but he batted only .237 with an on-base percentage of .301. His career batting average is .233, with a strikeout rate of one per game.

“I want to be the best hitter I can be,” he said. “That’s going to be driving the ball, but I want to be better in other aspects as far as walking and just getting base hits when they’re needed.”

Duvall’s deal includes a $2 million salary this year and a $7 million mutual option for 2022 with a $3 million buyout.

Mattingly said Duvall has looked good in the cage in camp. But the manager said he doesn’t need any convincing that Duvall can hit.

“I’ve seen enough of him the last couple of years,” Mattingly said with a smile.

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