Boston Red Sox: Rookie of the Year candidates for the near future
By Hunter Noll
3. Durbin Feltman
A lot of people, myself included, expected Durbin Feltman to make his way to the Majors last season after being drafted in June. Instead, he was still pitching in Advanced-A when the year ended. That doesn’t mean he didn’t deserve to advance further though, as he was dominant every step of the way.
Feltman could still be on a fast-track to the Majors. Especially with the Red Sox bullpen a question mark. They definitely silenced a lot of doubters in the postseason, but 2019 will bring about change. For one thing, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello won’t be available out of the bullpen. Neither will Chris Sale or David Price. Nathan Eovaldi won’t be either, although he’s a free agent so he might not even be on the team.
Meanwhile, Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel are free agents. Carson Smith is too, but he was never healthy enough to make much of an impact anyways. Due to that, it’s hard to pretend like losing him is going to change much.
Kimbrel shouldn’t return. He’s going to demand far too much money and was shaky a little bit too often to pay up.
Kelly wants to return and shouldn’t be too expensive. In fact, he might be an option as the Red Sox new closer. Honestly though, that role is Feltman’s in the long run.
If Feltman does make the roster in 2019, he probably won’t close immediately. He could still pick up a few saves though. Most importantly, his dominance on the mound very well could translate to the Majors. The right-hander has a fastball-slider combination that should lead to a ridiculous amount of strikeouts.
Last season, he struck out 36 batters (walked 5) in 23 1/3 innings. That type of K/9 ratio will stand out nicely in Boston. With that, a low WHIP and ERA will come as well.
All of those combined with at least a handful of saves will make Feltman a solid ROY candidate in 2019. If he doesn’t get enough time in the Majors 2020 will be even better for him, as by then he might be solidified as the true closer. Racking up 30-plus saves will make Feltman an extremely attractive candidate for the award.