Baseball America 2019 High-A Minor League Player of the Year: Jarren Duran of the Red Sox!
by Phoenix Desertsong, Minor League Baseball Fan
Congratulations to outfielder Jarren Duran of the Boston Red Sox for being recognized as the Baseball America High-A Player of the Year! For Salem in the Carolina League, Duran hit .387/.456/.543 with 4 HR, 19 RBI, and 18 SB in 50 games. That’s good for a 191 wRC+, which is obviously quite nuts.
However, Duran actually spent most of the 2019 season at Double-A for the Portland Sea Dogs, where he hit a mere .250/.309/.325 with only 1 HR and 19 RBI. Even when you account for his 28 SB (against only 8 times caught), that’s good for only a 87 wRC+. However, despite his hiccup with the bat, Duran is a potential plus defensive outfielder, although he’s still transitioning from his original position of second base.
FanGraphs isn’t hugely big on his future potential value, giving him a 45 where 50 is a potential average Major League player. They’re high on his speed, of course, giving him a 70 out of a potential 80. But his other current and future potential values are not what you’d expect from a Player of the Year.
Hit: 40 / 55
Game Power: 30 / 40
Raw Power: 45 / 45
Speed: 70 / 70
Field: 40 / 50
Throws: 40 / 40
Future Value: 45
Of course, if Duran does become the plus defender in center field his speed and athleticism suggest, he would instantly be at least a league-average center fielder in the Majors. Saving runs in center field is extremely valuable. It should be noted that Duran was an excellent second baseman, but the Sox organization felt his athleticism was wasted at the position. The below-average arm doesn’t matter as much in center field, either.
The rest of the scouting report suggests that if he refines his baserunning instincts, he could be an easy 30 SB threat in the Majors. The question is if his hit tool develops enough to become a .300 hitter in the Majors. His plate discipline is decent enough and if he takes full advantage of his speed, the Sox have a really good player here.
It should be noted that the Steamer projection already sees Jarren Duran as a .281/.324/.402 hitter right now. Before you factor in his potential stolen bases, that’s already a 86 wRC+. Of course, that projection is heavily influenced by that Single-A outburst. But for a 23-year old with an ETA of 2022, the Sox could have a really nice late bloomer that can play both second base and center field.
What do you think of Jarren Duran as a prospect? I find it hard to get excited about a guy who dominates Single-A then stumbles so badly at Double-A. Of course, the former 7th-round draft selection Duran has his fans. Heck, he was included in the famous (infamous?) Gary Vee Direct 360 set. Unsurprisingly with the Baseball America prospect spotlight now placed on him, Jarren Duran’s cards are now listed in the $8 to $10 range.
As of this writing, the Gary Vee Direct 360 card is the only official Bowman rookie card for Duran and two minor league cards from the Salem Red Sox and New York Penn League (from his time in 2018 with the Lowell Spinners). Duran is definitely an intriguing prospect and I like his potential, but I tend to put my faith in FanGraphs scouting ratings. Could Duran blow away his ratings and ride his speed all the way to the top? He certainly could. Only time will tell.
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