Baseball America listed Boston Red Sox prospect Jarren Duran among their Sunday Stars following his strong spring training debut.
When it comes to monitoring the prospects in camp for the Boston Red Sox this spring, much of our attention has gravitated toward the shiny new toys acquired in the Dodgers deal. There has also been plenty of buzz around Bobby Dalbec as a potential candidate to crack the Opening Day roster. One player flying under the radar is Jarren Duran but the speedy outfielder won’t go overlooked for long if he continues to build on his strong spring debut.
Duran opened some eyes with a two-hit performance in his first spring training appearance on Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles. That included a triple to deep center field. The ball bounced off the wall and rolled away from the center fielder when his glove came up short of making a leaping catch, allowing Duran to use his blazing speed to round second base and glide into third standing.
His speed was also on display on the defensive end when Duran raced back to the warning track to make a catch before crashing into the wall.
The impressive debut caught the eye of Baseball America, who highlighted Duran among Sunday’s Stars in their spring training prospect report.
"“Though Boston’s system has thinned out some over the years, Duran is a bright spot who is bearing down on the big leagues,” writes BA’s Josh Norris. “The sweet lefty swinger with the double-plus speed showed off on Sunday with a 2-for-3 effort including a triple and a run scored. Duran’s path to the big leagues got a little clearer with the trade of Mookie Betts, and he’ll have a golden chance this season to reach Boston for the first time. To do so, he’ll have to put together a strong showing at the upper levels after an excellent showing in 2019.”"
Duran dominated at High-A Salem last season, hitting .387 with a .998 OPS in 50 games. His bat doesn’t produce much home run power but his speed helps stretch hits into extra-bases. Duran tallied 13 doubles and three triples in only 199 at-bats with Salem.
The learning curve was a bit steeper when he moved up to Double-A but Duran still posted a respectable .250/.309/.325 line in 82 games in Portland.
Duran stole 46 bases across the two levels last season and his speed is as much of an asset in center field as it is on the base paths.
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Boston has a crowded outfield heading into this season but there are lingering questions about the future in center field. Jackie Bradley Jr. will hit the free-agent market next winter and the lack of conversation regarding an extension signals the Red Sox are prepared to let him walk. Kevin Pillar might be a temporary option since he only signed a one-year deal.
Both veterans are candidates to be dealt at the trade deadline if Boston falls out of the playoff hunt by the end of July. That could open the door for Duran to get a late-season call-up. He stumbled a bit in his first taste of Double-A but if he proves he can handle that level as well as he has at every other stop in his career, Duran could be fast-tracked to the big leagues.
The Red Sox will hold on to the security of their defensive-minded veterans if they have a shot at the postseason. The success of the major league team has as much to do with Duran’s timeline as his own production in the minors.
Regardless of how this season pans out, Duran will be on the radar as a center field option for 2021. He projects as a solid defensive player at the position who brings a steadier bat than the streaky Bradley and a speed element that the current roster is lacking.
Keep an eye on Durran this spring. He’s an exciting your player with the potential to emerge as the center fielder of the future for the Red Sox. The future may be closer than we thought if he can build on his strong spring debut.