If You Don’t Know Jarren Duran, Get To Know Him Now!

Jarren Duran, Salem Red Sox, April 11, 2019. Photo credit Salem Red Sox and John Wacher, John Wacher Photography


His name is Jarren and he’s tearing up the land…

Cheese? Yeah probably, but I had to. Has a nice little Duran Duran ring to it, doesn’t it?

Who is Jarren Duran?

I’ve been on this Duran ship for almost a year now. It was shortly after he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox last June in the 7th round of the MLB Draft that I saw him play in Lowell (Short Season-A). My eyes opened wide at that point. I knew he was a gamer, and I had a feeling he could be a quick mover in the system. Duran started off playing 2B for Lowell, but by mid-July the Sox had moved him to the outfield. He manned CF for the rest of his stint in Lowell and when promoted to Greenville he was their right fielder for all of August and into September. Now this year he’s been tearing it up for High-A Salem exclusively in centerfield, and as of Memorial Day weekend I’m honestly thinking it probably won’t be long before we see Jarren Duran in Double-A Portland playing in the outfield everyday for the Sea Dogs. Tate Matheny, Luke Tendler and Keith Curcio, watch your backs. Duran is coming. By the way, Portland just released OF Aneury Tavarez and recently acquired from Arizona, Marcus Wilson, has already been demoted to High-A Salem. So the outfield in Portland is ripe for the picking for Duran.

As I mentioned, Boston selected Duran in last June’s Draft in the 7th round as a Junior out of Cal State Long Beach. With virtually no power to speak of, although some will argue with me on that point (and see the video below), what’s the draw? I’ll tell you what it is. He hits. He steals. He generates excitement and it’s just one of those things. You see a young player and sometimes you just know he’s special. That’s honestly where I’m going with this. Jarren Duran is a special player. I’m excited to see how he progresses in the depleted Red Sox minor league system.

Before I dive deeper into Duran the player, let me digress and shamelessly promote our @Prospects1500 Futures Focus podcast. I recently spoke with MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (@JonathanMayo) about Duran during Episode 4 of Futures Focus, and I also pushed his name to Bowman baseball cards checklist contributor J.P. Schwartz (@Jaypers413) during Episode 5 of Futures Focus. Definitely listen! I had to make sure J.P. passes along Duran’s name to the big wigs at Topps/Bowman to finally get his 1st Bowman card sometime soon. He said he’d pass the recommendation along. I won’t be satisfied until it happens. If Duran doesn’t have a card in this summer’s Bowman Chrome or later in the year’s Topps Heritage Minor League or Bowman Draft, then it better be 2020 Bowman or heads will roll! But I digress…

Duran made his pro debut in 2018 with the Lowell Spinners, and in 37 games he only slashed .348/.393/.548/.941, with 5 2B, 10 3B, 2 HR and 12 SB. By August he was playing in Class-A Greenville and picked up right where he left off in Lowell. 30 games later for the Drive his slashline looked like this: .367/.396/.477/.872, with 9 more doubles, a triple, a home run and 12 more SBs. There was no doubt 2019 would bring him to High-A Salem, which is exactly where he began this season. Here’s some Duran BP from Spring Training 2019, footage via Christopher Smith, MassLive:

My Prospects1500 colleague and New York-Penn League correspondent Ben Wilson (@TBDubbs11) and I wanted to co-author this column. The second half of this column is Ben’s work and I thank him for contributing to this piece. For my closing words I’d like to say, if he’s still available/unowned in your fantasy baseball dynasty league, go pick up or claim Duran right now!

Playing for the Salem Red Sox of the Carolina League (A+), Duran has sustained an eye-popping .422/.482/.566 triple slash through 43 games (as of 5/25), where he’s the league leader in hits (72), runs (44), total bases (98), and stolen bases (16). After being drafted almost a full year ago in the 7th round, Duran has done nothing but impress: between 110 G (Lowell, Greenville, and Salem), he’s batted .382/.429/.535 with 174 H, 27 2B, 14 3B, 5 HR, 51 RBI, 40/55 SB, and 35 BB: 86 K.

Duran’s stellar 2019 start has some significant developments. Duran has nearly doubled his walk rate: 5.3% in 2018 to 9.7% BB in 2019, and his 19 BB in 43 G already surpass his total of 16 BB in 67 G. Duran is also seeing more pitches per plate appearance this season: Duran saw 3.26 PPA in 2018 compared to 3.62 PPA in 2019. As a comparison, Duran’s 3.62 PPA is the same mark as Mets leadoff hitter Jeff McNeil. Duran has also increased his SB success rate from 71% in 2018 to 76% in 2019.

Jarren Duran, Salem Red Sox, April 13, 2019 (Game 2). Photo credit Salem Red Sox/John Wacher.

It is actually possible that Duran’s speed has been undersold to this point. While plus-plus speed has been assigned to Duran in multiple reports, his 16 SB in 21 attempts this year only tell part of the story. I caught Duran in the New York-Penn League last year and clocked him here home-to-first at 3.85 seconds.

This puts him at 80 grade speed: sub 4.0 seconds for a left handed hitter would signify the 80 grade. His 3.85 home-to-first time would put him 13th overall in MLB, among speedsters such as Starling Marte and Brett Gardner. Interestingly, Gardner is one of the main MLB comps thrown on Duran. Comps aside, Duran has the ability and growing technique to eclipse the 30 SB mark like these SB leaderboard mainstays.

These three clips show the diverse ways that Duran can impact the game in the batter’s box. His swing is short and to the ball. His setup is relaxed and the athletic ability allows him to turn on it and drive it the other way. Duran has demonstrated the ability to use the whole field, and his hit distribution has stayed relatively balanced (39% pull, 24% center, 36% opposite).

Duran’s 2019 is simply off to an incredible beginning. Whether he is launching opposite field HRs (a rare feat, but we’ve seen it happen) or speeding around the bases, his performance has “big-time” written all over it. And we both agree with MassLive’s Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB). Duran deserves to be in this year’s Futures Game!

President of Prospects1500. Commissioner of Diamond Duos dynasty fantasy baseball leagues. Founder of MLB Fantasy Playoffs Parlay. Participant in more than a dozen other dynasty/fantasy baseball leagues. Account Manager for Reminder Publishing in real life. Huge Bruce Springsteen and pro wrestling fan. Along with his wife and two boys, lives in Longmeadow, MA. Follow on Twitter at @Scotty_Ballgame.

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