All-Star Adam

Adam Duvall. Photo courtesy of UofL Athletics

Adam Duvall. Photo courtesy of UofL Athletics

On Monday night, Louisville native Adam Duvall made it to the semifinals of his first Home Run Derby. A day later, he became the first former UofL player ever to participate in the Major League Baseball All-Star game.

Duvall isn’t the only former Cardinal who has made a splash in The Show in 2016. Chad Green has appeared in four games for the New York Yankees, and UofL’s all-time leader in career ERA picked up his first Major League win when he allowed just one earned run over six innings of work in a 6-3 win at San Diego on July 3.

According to Cardinal baseball Head Coach Dan McDonnell, the recent run of former Louisville players making their Major League debuts – a group that also includes former standouts Chris Dominguez and B.J. Rosenberg – is just the beginning of what he believes will be a much larger UofL influence on the sport in the years to come.

“We’ve seen a few guys break into the league in the last couple of years,” McDonnell said during an interview on 93.9 The Ville. “But just wait because there are going to be a lot more Cardinals up there over the next five, 10 years. We feel like this crop was just stage one, and now stage two is about to kick it into high gear.”

If “stage one” has a champion, there’s little question that it’s Duvall. The Butler High School product will enter the second half of his first full season in the bigs ranked second in the National League in home runs and in the top 10 for both runs batted in and slugging percentage.

This type of success wasn’t supposed to be in the future for Duvall, who was lightly recruited coming out of high school and played at Western Kentucky and Chipola Junior College before becoming an All-Big East player at Louisville in 2009 and 2010. Even after his breakout seasons with the Cardinals, Duvall wasn’t selected until the 11th round of the 2010 MLB Draft. For comparison’s sake, UofL had seven players taken in the first four rounds of this year’s draft.

After working his way up through the minor leagues and making his Major League debut with the San Francisco Giants in 2014, Duvall finally got the chance to play every day for Cincinnati this season. He has responded by being one of the lone bright spots in an overwhelmingly dismal campaign for the Reds.

“You have to be consistent if you want to be a professional,” McDonnell said. “You have to be able to put your outside fears and concerns to the side and come to work and punch the clock every single day. Adam Duvall was as consistent as they come during the two years he played here, and for him to not just be a big leaguer but an All-Star, it shows just how committed he’s been every day during the season and offseasons for the last four or five years.”

An astounding 36 players have been selected in the MLB Draft since Duvall heard his name called back in 2010. It’s a number that makes the likelihood of “Long Ball Duvall” being joined in the bigs by some more fellow Cardinals in the years to come extremely high, but it’s also a number that makes McDonnell’s job of tracking the progress of his former players nearly impossible to complete.

“It’s a great problem to have,” McDonnell said. “For all the pro guys, you almost have to once a week sit down and go through all the names and see how they’re doing. I’m also a big text guy, so I love texting guys and they do a pretty good job of letting me know what’s going on with them. It definitely keeps my mind busy during the summer.”

Louisville fans look forward to more Cardinals being able to keep their own minds busy during the summer, just as Adam Duvall has in 2016. VT