Boston Red Sox prospect Jarren Duran is doing all you can ask from a young prospect this winter — he’s progressing.
Duran continues to flash a tool set that could make him the center fielder of the future for the Red Sox. Duran has been an impactful player for Puerto Rico during the Caribbean Series, providing a couple of highlights over the last few days.
On Sunday, Duran led off Puerto Rico’s game against the Dominican Republic by smoking a line drive single up the middle off St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez.
Duran also showed off his defensive prowess in center field, making a sliding catch on ball in the gap later in the game.
A nice little game typically isn’t anything to get too excited about, but Duran’s continued production is the latest proof of his aforementioned progress. The 24-year-old has been busy this winter, playing in the Puerto Rican winter league where he earned MVP honors in the league finals.
During that brief winter league run, he displayed some impressive power, which would be quite the addition to what’s been a speed-first profile in his professional career.
Clearly, the efforts to retool his swing are showing signs of promise. Those within the industry are starting to take notice, too. The Athletic’s Keith Law included Duran on his Top 100 prospects list released last week.
“Now that he’s lofting the ball more, and has gotten stronger, he should at least see double digits in homers and more doubles (and triples, thanks to his speed) that will balance out any swing and miss he’s likely to have. We’ll have to see how well it carries over into games, but it’s enough to change his outlook from someone outside the top 100 in 2020 to on the list now.”
What makes Duran’s progress even more encouraging is the conditions under which he’s been able to improve. Without a minor league season in 2020, it largely fell on the players themselves to fine-tune their games, many doing so without the watchful eyes of coaches and instructors. Duran did spend part of the summer in Pawtucket working out at the organization’s alternate training site.
Duran’s work there impressed — then-Sox manager Ron Roenicke — remarked the outfielder had the potential to be a “special player.” Despite that and a lost season for the big club, Duran didn’t get a chance to show his stuff in The Show during 2020.
That being said, he did make the most of limited opportunities in preseason scrimmages with the big leaguers. That, paired with all of the success he’s had in the last few months, might open a little bit of runway for a potential 2021 debut, especially with some relative uncertainty in the outfield — at least for now.
Regardless, Duran continues to prove the future is bright.