When the Red Sox drafted Durbin Feltman in the third round last June, many suspected the hard-throwing right-hander someday might become Boston’s closer.
After all, Feltman handled the ninth inning at TCU, and his repertoire — a high 90s fastball with a wipeout slider — suggests he could thrive in the role at the major league level.
One American League scout was impressed by what he saw from Feltman during a minor league spring training game Monday, even comparing the 21-year-old to Mark Melancon of the San Francisco Giants.
“He was 94 (mph) with plus downer curveball. Good aggressiveness,” the scout told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford at Red Sox spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. “Arm action not the same, more effort, but the fastball and curveball shape remind me of a young Melancon.”
Melancon had a terrible 42-game stint with the Red Sox in 2012 but otherwise has had a very solid career. The three-time All-Star enters 2019 with a 2.76 ERA and 182 saves in 517 career relief appearances. He recorded a career-high 51 saves with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015 and finished eighth in National League Cy Young voting.
While player comparisons can be dicey, this particular assessment speaks to Feltman’s potential to become an impact arm in Boston’s bullpen in the not-too-distant future. Feltman, who turns 22 next month, isn’t on the Red Sox’s 40-man roster, but one shouldn’t rule out a late-season call-up, especially if Boston’s other relievers struggle.
Feltman posted a 1.93 ERA in 22 relief appearances across three levels last season upon being drafted by the Red Sox. He posted a 0.99 WHIP and struck out 36 over 23 1/3 innings.
MLB.com recently ranked Feltman the Red Sox’s No. 12 prospect to begin 2019.
Thumbnail photo via Steven Branscombe/USA TODAY Sports Images
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