Red Sox: Jarren Duran should be given time to work through his struggles
Red Sox rookie Jarren Duran has struggled, but he deserves more time
Red Sox Nation was waiting with bated breath for Chaim Bloom to finally make the call to Worcester and promote Jarren Duran. Boston’s big rookie dominated during his time in Triple-A but the transition to the big leagues has been a problem for the lefty. It’s been a bit of a reality check for not only Duran but the fans as I’m sure we all pictured his time at Fenway Park going a little differently.
After absolutely tearing up Polar Park, Duran is slashing just .215/.232/.367/.599 through 23 games with the big club. He’s had some great moments but has also had some moments in which he’s looked thoroughly overmatched, and this raises questions that come up every time a highly touted prospect struggles out of the gate.
The main question the Red Sox must answer is whether Duran would be better off working through his struggles at the Major League level, or if he would benefit from more time in AAA. With Alex Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe, J.D. Martinez, and Kyle Schwarber all healthy, the team doesn’t truly need Duran the way they did when Schwarber was injured. They could send him down, and call him back up in September if that’s what they chose to do.
Sometimes, however, young players just need some time to adjust to professional pitching, and the best way for them to do that is by continuing to get at-bats in the Majors. Wander Franco, the top prospect in the game at the start of the season, slashing just .221/.272/.358/.630 through his first 23 games. Tampa Bay probably never considered sending him back down, however, and he’s shown signs of improvement, raising his line to .244/.306/.427/.732 in 18 games since.
On the other hand, Boston’s Franchy Cordero struggled tremendously to start the season. Rather than give him consistent playing time to work through these struggles, the Red Sox thought it best to let him get a number of at-bats in AAA to figure things out. Since getting called back up, he’s not exactly lighting the world on fire, but he has shown definitive signs of improvement.
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So, what should Boston do with Duran? Duran is not Wander Franco, who is a seemingly can’t-miss star. Nor is he Cordero, a player in possession of raw tools but one who has never been able to translate those tools into material success. Personally, I believe the Sox should give Duran the opportunity to work things out in the Majors. He has shown mild signs of improvement and has one tool—speed—that will always play at any level.
If this is the route Boston chooses to go, the next step is to get him consistent playing time. If Schwarber can play first, Duran can be an everyday outfielder. If, however, Schwarber has to split time between outfield and DH, getting Duran enough plate appearances could be difficult. Red Sox Nation should look no further than Dustin Pedroia. He came into the fold white-hot and then froze in the big leagues. But thanks to some patience from Terry Francona and support from Alex Cora, he became a Boston legend.
Jarren Duran is a solid prospect, albeit one with (probably) somewhat inflated numbers due to Worcester being an absolute launching pad. He deserves the opportunity to figure things out as he goes, without worrying about being sent back down. The Sox would be wise to give him this opportunity because if Duran can hit as he did in AAA, he could provide a massive boost to the team down the stretch.