Why it's time to let Adam Duvall go and give Jarren Duran a chance to show his worth

When Adam Duvall got hurt, Jarren Duran saved the day for the Red Sox
Adam Duvall prepares for his next pitch for in a game vs. the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Adam Duvall prepares for his next pitch for in a game vs. the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Going into the offseason, the Boston Red Sox, and their fans, were unsure what to make of their outfield. They had Alex Verdugo slated to start in right field, newly minted left fielder Masataka Yoshida learning how to play the monster, and Adam Duvall, a typical corner outfielder coming off season-ending wrist surgery.

Where he was going to play, was a mystery until Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Blooms aid he would play center field. The entire baseball said the same thing: "Huh? He's only played the corner outfield spots."

After some confusion at first, we got to the regular season, and it looked like a genius move. The outfielders worked well together, Duvall hit .483 with four home runs, and even drove in 13 runs in the Red Sox first eight games.

He was on pace for the All-Star Game with 33 total bases in the first eight games, and he was only on a one-year deal -- making Bloom look like a genius for not locking him down for long if he wanted to go somewhere else, but also leaving room for error.

Speaking of room for error, that came when Duvall decided to slide for a shallow pop-fly during a game in Detroit against the Tigers. As he came in for the ball, his previously injured wrist got caught on the grass, and bent backwards. He initially caught the ball, but as soon as his wrist went backwards it popped loose.

Duvall got up, grimacing in pain, and bent over. While it didn't take long for the trainer and manager Alex Cora to come out and check on him, it also took Duvall all of 30 seconds to get up and run to the dugout: causing all of Red Sox nation to hold their collective breath. While the the Red Sox won the game, all the focus was on Duvall.

A few days later, Boston broke the news: both the good, and the bad. The bad, was that Duvall had fractured his wrist again. The good, was that it did not require surgery. So, after a few days of holding their breath, Red Sox fans could breathe again... Sort of...

While initially losing him looked like a big deal since no one knew what direction Boston would take in replacing him, and when they did replace him if it would be a good one. However, now it looks as if trading him at trade deadline or letting him walk in free agency would not create as much havoc as one would think.

Why? Two words: Jarren Duran.

Jarren Duran has been Mr Reliable for the Red Sox

Since being called up from Triple-A Worcester, Duran has been Mr. Reliable for the Red Sox, and has shown that he can be counted on as the center fielder of the future for Boston, here's why.

The first reason it's time to move on to Duran is his speed. It's been a long time, probably since Jacoby Ellsbury, that the Red Sox have had a center fielder with the type of speed that Duran brings to the table.

Some may argue that they had it when Mookie Betts first came up as a center fielder or when Jackie Bradley Jr. was here, but two things: 1. Betts got moved to right field, just as quickly as you could say go, and 2. Bradley as quick, but definitely not as quick as Duran.

Duran has attempted 17 stolen bases this season since being called up, and has only been caught once. ONLY ONCE! Not to mention, he also has a triple and 26 doubles - with a little under half of them coming on relatively shallow fly balls.

Heck, he was even was able to score from second base on a sacrifice fly during a spring training game in 2022.

Another reason, you can move on from Duvall to Duran is because Duran is one of the closest things that has to a five-tool outfielder, whereas Duvall has two or three at best. Duran can hit, has a cannon for an arm, has the speed of a cheetah, has just enough power to hit it out of the ballpark (half a tool), and has enough power to give him half a tool.

As for the fielding, the only reason I give him half a tool is due to the routes he takes to balls. Overall, Duran fields the ball well, there are just the occasional times where he takes a bad route to the ball, and it winds up being a harder play than it needs to be. As they say "work smarter, not harder."

This goes hand-in-hand with this power tool. He can hit it out of the park when he wants to, but it is something that should be worked on a bit more as his career progresses. Nonetheless, all of these can be improved with more reps in the outfield for Duran, and with Duvall still in Boston blocking his way, there's no way he can get those reps in.

There are two ways the Red Sox can play this now: the easy way, or the more rewarding way.

The easy way is them letting Duvall walk in free agency at the end of the season, as he is only signed to a one-year deal. The more rewarding way is packaging him together with a prospect or two, an under-performing big leaguer, and get something to add to the team that pushes them over the edge and into postseason contention.