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John Dewan's Stat of the Week

April's Defensive Player of the Month

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By MARK SIMON

A change of scenery may not have worked out well for Marlins outfielder Adam Duvall at the plate just yet. But a new team and a new primary position have worked out for Duvall in the field.

Duvall, now playing mostly right field for the Marlins, is our first Defensive Player of the Month for 2021. He saved an MLB-best eight runs with his defense in April.

Duvall had six Good Fielding Plays for the month, tied with Ronald Acuña Jr. for the most by an outfielder. One of his better-looking ones was this leaping catch and subsequent double play against Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies. That was one of three times he threw out a baserunner without the help of a cutoff man.

Defensive excellence has been a trademark of Duvall’s game, though mostly at the other corner outfield spot. He’s never won a Fielding Bible Award due to the presence of Brett Gardner and Alex Gordon, but he has held his own in left field. In fact, he was the Defensive Runs Saved leader at that position from 2016 to 2020 with 48 Runs Saved, two better than Gardner’s total.

"I know there were some worries about moving him to right, but this guy profiles out there,”Marlins manager Don Mattingly told reporters a couple of weeks ago. “He does everything you want to do from that spot."

Duvall wasn’t the only player on a new team to excel defensively in April. Royals center fielder Michael A. Taylor finished one Run Saved behind Duvall after a standout month of plays. Taylor made a great first impression on Opening Day with a home run and two outfield assists.

“KC is a good place to play defense,” Taylor said on the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast last week. “The outfield is very spacious, so you have a lot of room to roam out there. In that first game I had two balls where I had an opportunity to make a throw and Salvy (Salvador Pérez) picked me up both times, making a great pick and put the tag on them. He can handle anything that you throw at him. It frees you up to be more aggressive.”

Other contenders for the honor included two utility players. Ryan McMahon saved six runs for the Rockies split between second and third base, and Cardinals jack-of-all-trades Tommy Edman led all players with 11 Good Fielding Plays.

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