Red Sox prospect Jarren Duran moves up in Baseball America rankings
Boston Red Sox outfield prospect Jarren Duran has gotten a lot of attention since the 2021 minor-league season began last month.
After having no season last year to continue developing on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, scouts and evaluators were clearly curious to see if what Duran did at Boston’s alternate training site over the summer was legit or not.
Through his first few weeks facing off against a new level of competition with Triple-A Worcester, it certainly seems as if the changes Duran made to his swing last summer have payed off in the immediate, and perhaps the long-term as well.
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In their latest Top 100 prospect rankings, Baseball America shot Duran up 57 spots all the way from No. 86 overall into the top-30 at No. 29.
Over 18 games with the WooSox, the 24-year-old outfielder has gotten off to a solid start, slashing .278/.366/.625 with seven home runs and 12 RBI in 82 trips to the plate thus far. He hit all of five homers between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland in 2019.
While Duran has impressed on the minor-league stage, the speedster turned heads when helping Team USA qualify for the Summer Olympics this past week as well by going 7-for-19 (.368) with one double, one triple, one stolen base, three runs, three RBI, one walk, and four strikeouts.
In the process of drawing praise from Team USA manager Mike Scioscia and veteran teammates like Todd Frazier, Duran has also caught the attention of Red Sox manager Alex Cora, as he has continued to do since his first spring training in 2019.
When speaking with reporters prior to Monday’s game against the Marlins at Fenway Park, Cora was asked by The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato if there is any more urgency to call up Duran given the struggles Boston has endured out of the leadoff spot so far this season.
"“Obviously, the conversations will always be there,” Cora said over Zoom. “He just had a great tournament down there in Florida. This is a guy that is going to impact this team in the future, and the future doesn’t mean tomorrow or in a month. It might mean next year or in two years. But we know he is a good player.“The way he impacts the game offensively — running the bases — is eye-opening,” added Cora. “I talked to [Red Sox minor-league outfield and baserunning coach and Team USA third base coach Darren] Fenster yesterday, and the things that he did running the bases, it changed the whole complexion of that team.”"
Duran, who the Red Sox selected in the seventh round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Long Beach State, originally came up as a second baseman before making the move to the outfield on the recommendation of the scout who signed him, Justin Horowitz.
Since making that switch to become a full-time outfielder, the 6-foot-2, 202 pound left-handed hitter has emerged as the top outfield prospect in Boston’s farm system.
The Red Sox certainly know the potential Duran has, and now it seems like the rest of the baseball world is catching up, too.
Having said that, the Red Sox feel that even though he could be on the verge of a big-league call up, Duran still has some things to work on with the WooSox, which he will get to once he reports back to the team on Tuesday.
"“We know that he’s a good player. We know that he still has things that he needs to get better,” Cora said. “But we keep talking about him, and we’re very happy with where he’s at right now. Now he has to go back and play and keep getting better. But obviously like Chaim [Bloom] said in spring training, I think it’s something that we’re going to keep paying attention to him, and we’ll see what happens in the future.”"
In addition to Duran moving up 57 spots in Baseball America’s latest top-100 rankings, Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas, who also played for Team USA in the Baseball Americas Qualifier, moved up 11 spots to No. 27.
Infield prospect Jeter Downs, meanwhile, dropped 10 spots from No. 59 to No. 69 overall.