Red Sox: Jarren Duran should make his Major League debut in 2021
The Red Sox prospect should be starting Opening Day
Red Sox Nation, the time we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived! Truck Day is mere hours away with pitchers and catchers arriving in Florida in a little over a week. Baseball is back in Boston and after an absolute dismal 2020 season, this team will be out looking for blood. Some new faces will be in camp while familiar ones may be wearing new uniforms, but one man should absolutely be playing on Opening Day, Jarren Duran.
Boston has a big gap in centerfield and despite signing Hunter Renfroe and Enrique Hernandez, they’re not the solution. Per SoxProspects, Duran is currently ranked fourth in the Red Sox pipeline and is projected to start the 2021 season in Worcester. While that’s a logical projection for the 24-year-old, I truly feel that we’re seeing a perfect storm forming that could allow him to jump to the big club.
Duran has long been considered the heir apparent to Jackie Bradley Jr. and with the longtime outfielder likely heading elsewhere, now’s the time to strike. Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora have both built their reputations on trusting their young players when the time calls for it, and that phone is ringing as we speak. If anyone wasn’t sold on Jarren before, his performances in both the Puerto Rican Winter League and Caribbean Series should’ve sealed the deal.
In the PRWL, he posted a .236/.386/.273/.658 with 13 hits, 10 RBI, and 6 stolen bases. The initial slash line may not be jumping off the screen but it’s right on par with what we’ve become accustomed to from JBJ. What really should be opening people’s eyes is what he did in the Caribbean Series. The potential Red Sox centerfielder went off, totaling a .350/.409/.650/1.059 line with 7 hits, 1 homer, and pair of RBI. That’s the kind of pop I’m looking for in an outfielder and that fact that he’s still young makes it even better.
Again, I know Bloom brought in Renfroe but I doubt he’ll be an everyday player. As it stands now, it looks like Alex Verdugo would shift back to centerfield with Renfroe playing in right. That’s fine and all, but let’s get some fresh blood injected into that outfield. I’d love for Cora to put Andrew Benintendi in left, Duran in center, and Verdugo in right, that just feels like a damn good squad. Hernandez can also play in the outfield but he’s most likely getting slotted in as the everyday second baseman, so he’s out of the equation.
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Recently the Red Sox have shown strong faith in their young prospects with Michael Chavis getting promoted in 2019 at age 23 and Bobby Dalbec in 2020 at 25. Duran is right in that sweet spot as he recently turned 24 and has lots of playing time ahead of him. Obviously, we’ve seen two different outcomes with the two aforementioned players and Duran could go either way. Chavis started white-hot then the league figured him out, whereas Dalbec was able to overcome a cold spell to have a great debut.
From the sample size we’ve seen from Duran over the last two years I think he’d be more of a Dalbec than a Chavis as he’s performed strongly at each level he’s played. Boston has invited him to camp to work out with the club the last few spells of spring training and this coming trip should be no different. The only thing I see changing compared to past years will be that he won’t be heading back to Worcester.
To me, it doesn’t make any sense to have him start the season in Triple-A just to call him up at some point down the road, which feels inevitable. Get him in the mix with the main club and let’s see if he’s as good as we think he is, simple as that. The Red Sox used callups in previous years to spark the team and they sure as hell could use a spark right out of the gate in 2021. Bring Duran in from day one, let him build chemistry with the rest of the team, and attack this season from Opening Day.