Can Jarren Duran become a starting outfielder for the Boston Red Sox?

Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox
Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Jarren Duran enters Boston Red Sox spring training this year as a forgotten man. In parts of two seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Duran has shown tremendous promise but a lack of consistency. As such, it is no surprise the team tried to upgrade their outfield ranks by adding Masataka Yoshida, Adam Duvall, and Raimel Tapia this offseason.

They join Duran, Alex Verdugo, and Rob Refsnyder to create a crowded outfield even after losing regular centerfielder Kiké Hernández to the infield. Despite this competition, there remains a path for Duran to be in the Opening Day lineup for the Red Sox.

Jarren Duran could crack the Boston Red Sox Opening Day lineup

Duran arrived at Fort Myers with a noticeable change in his approach. Per Ian Cundall of, Duran has a new batting stance that will make his swing "quicker and more direct to the ball".

Armed with this new approach, Duran had a scorching start to his spring on Monday against the Minnesota Twins going 2 for 2 with a double and home run. As impressive as this boxscore is, the numbers do not do justice to Duran's production. He led off the 3rd inning with an opposite-field hit that for most players would have settled for a single. With his speed, he was able to stretch this to a double.

He followed this up with an opposite-field home run that would have landed in the Monster Seats at Fenway Park. This combination of speed and power is what makes Duran tantalizing for Red Sox fans. If he is able to continue to produce like this, he could force his way into the Red Sox Opening Day lineup on March 30th.

Besides his speed and power, another thing that will help Duran's chances of succeeding this season are the new rule changes which I have previously written about in great detail. The limit in pitcher pickoff attempts and larger bases shortening the distance between bases by 4.5 inches are expected to return the importance of stealth and the stolen base to baseball.

Duran will be able to use his speed to capitalize on these new rules. Additionally, the banning of the shift is expected to help left-handed hitters like Duran. The new rules will favor Duran's skillset.

Newly acquired Adam Duvall seems to be Duran's biggest competition for playing time. Duvall is a slugger who plays Gold Glove defense. In contrast, Duran's defense has been questioned and he will need to prove his defensive ability.

Fair or not, it will be hard for Red Sox fans to forget his gaffe in centerfield in 2022 against the Blue Jays where after losing the ball in the lights, he showed a lack of hustle to go after the ball. Interestingly, against the Minnesota Twins on Monday, he made several catches battling the sun in center field. He will need to continue to make defensive plays consistently.

Duran will also play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. He will be away from the Red Sox while his direct competition, Adam Duvall, remains in camp. Though Alex Cora would not punish a player for participating in the World Baseball Classic, it is only human nature for a coach to reward familiarity.

In other words, as long as Duvall has a good spring training in Fort Myers, his ongoing presence will give him the edge in securing the starting outfield position. Lastly, the fact that the Red Sox have so many left-handed batters in the lineup may also make it difficult for the left-handed Duran to usurp the right-handed Duvall.

Though we are early in spring training, there seems to be a path for Jarren Duran to crack the Red Sox Opening Day lineup. Armed with a new batting stance, he will need to continue his torrid offensive start while demonstrating defensive consistency. The new rule changes will help his cause though he faces tough competition including newly acquired Adam Duvall. Duran's development will be a fun storyline for Red Sox fans to follow this spring training and season.