Jarren Duran

nvalvo

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Wong's power is real. My concern about him is that he needs to get his swinging strikes under control.

A 30% K rate is Kevin Cash-level, even if Wong has .100+ points of Isolated Power on Cash.
 

Cesar Crespo

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The Sox still don't have a top farm system, but for the first time in a few years, I'm optimistic.

Casas looks legit.
Downs looks like he has big-time potential.
Duran could very well be a starter in CF for years.
Dalbec and Chavis (does Chavis still count after hitting 18 hr in the majors last year in limited time?) bring the power.
I think Wong could be the future at C or certainly could be a swiss army knife (a better version of Holt).
Even their pitching seems like it has potential: Houck, Mata, Song (though it may take him a couple more years to arrive thanks to being in the USN).

Not sure what to make of Groome, so I'll leave him off this list, but if he does reach his potential, that's huge.

Anyway, there's some talent in the organization, and some of it could arrive sooner than later.
Chavis isn't a prospect anymore. I'd also say the pitching in the system is pretty weak if Groome doesn't recover. Brayan Bello probably has as much potential as any pitcher in the system not named Groome as well. He had a velocity bump last year and pitched much better in the 2nd half. Jorge Rodriguez is another guy to look at, though he'll need the same velocity jump Bello and Mata had around 19.

Thad Ward is also a decent prospect but had a conservative placement so was playing against younger competition. Aldo Ramirez is already sitting around 94-96 at 18 and still has room for growth. I don't know enough about Zeferjahn but he was a 3rd round pick last year and sits around 95.
 

DeadlySplitter

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So I didn't realize this until Speier wrote an article earlier this week, but in the simulated games in Pawtucket Duran is showing power, to the point that he may force his way into Boston pretty soon.


View: https://twitter.com/alexspeier/status/1296544334796533761
 

sean1562

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Probably want to delay his service clock as much as possible and give Peraza every possible look to prove he belongs on a big league roster. I would be surprised if Pillar isnt on this team next season, starting in CF, with Durran waiting in AAA.
 

jon abbey

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Probably want to delay his service clock as much as possible and give Peraza every possible look to prove he belongs on a big league roster. I would be surprised if Pillar isnt on this team next season, starting in CF, with Durran waiting in AAA.
Duran turns 24 in September, not much reason to delay his clock. I’d think he’ll get called up soon, maybe after they trade JBJ or Pillar or both in the next week.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Pitching coordinator Paul Abbot had some observations on Duran:

Abbott, who was the pitching coach in Double A Portland in 2019, noted the striking offensive step forward by outfielder Jarren Duran, who struggled with the Sea Dogs last year following his promotion from High-A Salem in May. “He looks like I was expecting to see last year, what he was billed to be,” said Abbott. “Obviously he struggled when he got to Double-A. I felt like he struggled a little bit getting the bat head out. You could beat him in. That’s not the case anymore — not since he’s been here. He’s looking really impressive: strong, he’s showing us some power, he’s got the speed tool that’s extreme-plus. Now that you mix in some power, he’s going to be more than a speed threat. He’s driving the ball. I’m extremely impressed with the way he looks. He’s a whole, completely different approach at the plate than he had last year, a completely different hitter.”
 

oumbi

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Chavis isn't a prospect anymore. I'd also say the pitching in the system is pretty weak if Groome doesn't recover. Brayan Bello probably has as much potential as any pitcher in the system not named Groome as well. He had a velocity bump last year and pitched much better in the 2nd half. Jorge Rodriguez is another guy to look at, though he'll need the same velocity jump Bello and Mata had around 19.

Thad Ward is also a decent prospect but had a conservative placement so was playing against younger competition. Aldo Ramirez is already sitting around 94-96 at 18 and still has room for growth. I don't know enough about Zeferjahn but he was a 3rd round pick last year and sits around 95.
Bello, Ramirez, and Zeferjahn all seem similar to me in terms of their ceilings. End of the rotation or bullpen arms. This is all right. It is nice that the farm system is filling out the roster with credible players. But only Groome and Song, or some unexpected jump by someone, seem to have the potential to be a far above average pitcher.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Article in the Glob about Duran and his new swing:

Red Sox top prospect Jarren Duran’s focus at the plate is to keep his bat in the zone as long as possible. Coming up through the minors, Duran always felt he was too rotational with his shoulders. As a result, his bat was in and out of the zone, ultimately leading to weak contact.
In an effort to correct that, Duran came up with a tactic employed by both Justin Turner and Troy Tulowitzki: stay on the white line at the front of your toes in the batter’s box.
For Duran, it serves as his reminder, one that increases the likelihood that he can catch more barrels and get to pitches his opponents are trying to exploit.
“I always struggle with inside pitches,” said Duran, who was a seventh-round draft pick in 2018, “but with this new swing, it just opened me up to be able to get to those pitches. But I still think your approach stays the same. So if I’m looking away, I’m going to try and get a pitch that way. I’m looking in, trying to cheat, then I’m looking in.”
He didn't hit well in winter ball in 70 PAs. He says he tried to do too much-- hopefully he's learned from that and won't do it again when he moves up a level.
That power didn’t necessarily translate to this offseason in Puerto Rico, where Duran played winter ball for Criollos de Caguas. He hit just .236 with two extra-base hits and no homers in 70 plate appearances.
“I wanted to do so much extra for my team and prove to them I’m a great player because they’ve never seen me play before that,” Duran said. “I kind of got out of my element of trying to do too much.”
Article claims he has improved his routes to fly balls, which would be great news:
He also has improved his routes in the outfield. That, matched with his speed, could make him an elite defender, and furthermore, perhaps, a five-tool talent.
 

nvalvo

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Duran was named the MVP of the PRWL Finals!

Red Sox outfield prospect Jarren Duran was named the MVP of the Puerto Rican Winter League final series on Monday. The 24-year-old led Caguas to a four-game sweep over Indios with five hits and six RBI, including two home runs, two doubles, three walks and seven runs.

“He’s a real exciting player,” Bloom said. “He’s always been really fast, he added a ton of strength, and he did not lose his speed. He’s a real dynamic player.”
 

DeadlySplitter

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if he's this good in AAA, he could be in the majors this summer. No rush though, if Sox are out of contention they could wait until May 2022.
 

burstnbloom

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Duran is a really interesting prospect to watch this year. I am a skeptic of his, in general. He has always felt like a guy that was getting results because he was so athletic and his defense isn't instinctual enough to get him to the majors. That said, that swing is unrecognizable from the last time I saw him play (2019). If he can show the pop he had in the training site and in this series, he's very intriguing.
 

jon abbey

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Duran is leading off for Puerto Rico in the game starting shortly on ESPN Deportes.
 

jon abbey

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Duran singled sharply up the middle on the first pitch from Carlos Martinez, stole second, went to third on an infield out and scored when Cano threw one away.
 

nvalvo

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If we're game threading Duran's PAs from Mazatlán, he had a rifle shot of a one hopper to second his second time up.
 

billy ashley

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It’s hard for me to believe he isn’t a top 100 prospect

It's hard because the two biggest holes in his game: lack of game power and poor defensive instincts relegated him to a projected 4th OF/ 2nd division starter type.

There are reasons to be excited that the first issue was addressed, but none of it was in game.

I think he's probably got larger error bars than most prospects. He's also so new to the OF that I hold out hope that the 2nd knock against him becomes less of an issue.
 

burstnbloom

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It's hard because the two biggest holes in his game: lack of game power and poor defensive instincts relegated him to a projected 4th OF/ 2nd division starter type.

There are reasons to be excited that the first issue was addressed, but none of it was in game.

I think he's probably got larger error bars than most prospects. He's also so new to the OF that I hold out hope that the 2nd knock against him becomes less of an issue.
I think this nails it. He's always hit for average. He's always been super fast and had good instincts on the base paths. The problem was he had zero loft in his swing and after the move to CF, he was decent but made up for bad instincts with really good recovery speed. It appears like he has overhauled his swing and is getting much different, better contact. He definitely has the body to hit for power. He's super fast twitch and ripped so he has the natural strength to get the ball deep, so we'll see. If he continues to hit for power and improves in the OF, he's likely a first division regular. If not, he's a pinch runner. It's impossible to know which he is until we get a steady run of games out of him to see what is real.

He will be exciting to watch this year for sure.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Duran is a really interesting prospect to watch this year. I am a skeptic of his, in general. He has always felt like a guy that was getting results because he was so athletic and his defense isn't instinctual enough to get him to the majors. That said, that swing is unrecognizable from the last time I saw him play (2019). If he can show the pop he had in the training site and in this series, he's very intriguing.
I've been pretty skeptical myself too... but I'm moving more into "believer" category now.
I still think Jimenez is the better long term CF prospect however.
 

burstnbloom

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I've been pretty skeptical myself too... but I'm moving more into "believer" category now.
I still think Jimenez is the better long term CF prospect however.
Agreed on all of this. Jimenez is similar though. We need to see more pop, but from everything I've read the D is legit with Jimenez.
 

billy ashley

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Jimenez was a legit 80 runner before adding bulk this past season, too.

He's got a path to being a major league regular even without developing power. Duran probably doesn't have that much of a path. Jimenez is also really young and has beat up on advanced pitching.

Duran's got all the funky wrinkles to his development that might give him more upside than your typical prospect in their mid 20s. He played college in a program that emphasis a contact oriented approach. He has limited reps in the OF. He revamped his swing. He's jacked (so is Jimenez now). Etc. But he's got a smaller window to make good on those caveats.
 

nighthob

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Jimenez was a legit 80 runner before adding bulk this past season, too.

He's got a path to being a major league regular even without developing power. Duran probably doesn't have that much of a path. Jimenez is also really young and has beat up on advanced pitching.

Duran's got all the funky wrinkles to his development that might give him more upside than your typical prospect in their mid 20s. He played college in a program that emphasis a contact oriented approach. He has limited reps in the OF. He revamped his swing. He's jacked (so is Jimenez now). Etc. But he's got a smaller window to make good on those caveats.
I think I'm becoming a believer. I have faith in Jimenez, but he's still a looong way away. So seeing Duran make good on his promise is big break for the system. Neither are natural outfielders and rely on athleticism to overcome developing tracking skills. But those catches we've seen up thread allay some fears there.
 

billy ashley

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Am I wrong to get Ellsbury vibes from him?
Ellsbury was an elite defensive OF, though. If he could have stayed on the field more, he's probably a borderline hall of famer.

I think offensively that Duran's ceiling, minus Ellsbury's Troutesq season. A guy who in his peak years is an above average offensive contributor (wrc+ around 105-110) for a premier defensive position. I don't think he ever puts up the couple plus 15 defensive seasons Ellsbury did, though (ellsbury had some really odd looking bad years too, but I mark that up to defensive numbers being by nature kind of fluky)

On a side separate note: Ellsbury's 2011 is one of the most insane outlier seasons ever. It's like Brady Anderson 50 homers season irregular. He was always a very good player when healthy, but holy shit that season was historic.
 

brandonchristensen

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Ellsbury was an elite defensive OF, though. If he could have stayed on the field more, he's probably a borderline hall of famer.

I think offensively that Duran's ceiling, minus Ellsbury's Troutesq season. A guy who in his peak years is an above average offensive contributor (wrc+ around 105-110) for a premier defensive position. I don't think he ever puts up the couple plus 15 defensive seasons Ellsbury did, though (ellsbury had some really odd looking bad years too, but I mark that up to defensive numbers being by nature kind of fluky)

On a side separate note: Ellsbury's 2011 is one of the most insane outlier seasons ever. It's like Brady Anderson 50 homers season irregular. He was always a very good player when healthy, but holy shit that season was historic.
I guess I've just been seeing and reading reports of his great CF play lately. Seems like a super athletic kid with some pop.
 

Manramsclan

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Ellsbury was an elite defensive OF, though.
He was definitely not. Impressively athletic yes, but not elite defensively.

Using a relatively crude comparison to JBJ who is an elite defensive CF, JBJ accrued 7.8 dWAR in 873 games while Ellsbury accrued 6.0 dWAR in 1235 games. So JBJ has been worth 1.8 dWAR more than Ellsbury while playing in 360 games less.

JBJ is also not loved by most defensive metrics so this really shows how Ellsbury was not elite in the field.
 

nvalvo

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He was definitely not. Impressively athletic yes, but not elite defensively.

Using a relatively crude comparison to JBJ who is an elite defensive CF, JBJ accrued 7.8 dWAR in 873 games while Ellsbury accrued 6.0 dWAR in 1235 games. So JBJ has been worth 1.8 dWAR more than Ellsbury while playing in 360 games less.

JBJ is also not loved by most defensive metrics so this really shows how Ellsbury was not elite in the field.
I think it's even more extreme than that. JBJ has been playing in a moment with a much higher level of CF defense league-wide. Ellsbury, who was good-but-not-great in the context of a broader timescale, played in a number of seasons with what looks in retrospect like a pretty weak cohort of CFs.

Back in, say, 2011, teams were giving meaningful CF innings to guys like Matt Kemp, late-career Curtis Granderson, Angel Pagan, Colby Rasmus, Reed Johnson, post-injury Grady Sizemore, Cody Ross, 30+ Coco Crisp... So Ellsbury *was* elite, in the sense that he was in a cluster with pre-injury Franklin Gutierrez and Chris Young as the best defensive CFs in the game, but that was only because a bunch of defensive has-beens and never-weres were lumbering around out there.

Bradley is playing in a league with (in no particular order) Inciarte and Kiermaier and Almora and Bader and Cain and Buxton and Hamilton and Marisnick and Laureano and Taylor, etc. etc. And he *still* shakes out as providing real positive value even in a league where the replacement level — not via the WAR position adjustment, which is fixed season to season, but via the baselines used in UZR and (I think) DRS — at his position is that much higher. Not coincidentally, the total offensive line from MLB CFs has steadily declined from .264/.329/.411 in 2010 to .239/.318/.406 in 2020. Just think that that decline has come in spite of the best efforts of Mike Trout!

Here's what Fangraphs says about how UZR determines its baselines. (I'm pretty sure DRS works more less the same way.)

Again, the baseline “catch rates” for all of the various “buckets” (batted ball types, speed, locations, etc.) are based on 6 years of data. That is an arbitrary number. It could be 3 years and it could be 10. I chose 6 years in order to accumulate fairly large samples of data in each bucket. The UZR numbers (each player’s runs saved above or below average) are initially presented as “as compared to the average player at all MLB parks over the 6-year baseline.” The numbers you see on Frangraphs, however, are scaled to an average player at each position for that league and year. So if you add up everyone’s UZR (the seasonal to-date or end-of-year totals – not the “per 150” rate) in any given year and league, it will sum to zero (or close to it because of rounding errors). Because of that, there is no guarantee that an average player in any one league or year is equal to an average player in any other league or year, even the same player. For example, let’s say that a certain player was zero in 2009 and 2008, thus you consider him to be an average defender for those two years, and you assume that his defensive ability or performance did not change from one year to the next. However, if in one of those years, the overall quality of defense in that player’s league was better or worse than the other year, the player may have actually gotten better or worse himself even though his UZR is zero in both years. That is a minor point, but it is something to keep in mind.
Most people who watch the Red Sox a lot find Bradley very impressive. We're comparing him to many CFs we've watched everyday in Boston: some good defenders, like Crisp and Lewis, as well as some bat-first guys, like Everett and Damon. And we wonder how Crisp — pretty good by the eye test — could post better dWAR numbers than Bradley — very good by the eye test. Even Ellsbury has two dWAR seasons better than Bradley's best.

But the advanced stats are not really comparing Crisp to Bradley. They're comparing Crisp's performance relative to the six preceding seasons of league-wide CF play to Bradley's performance relative to the six preceding seasons of league-wide CF play. So Crisp's off-the-charts 2007 season — the second best season of all time by a Red Sox CF by dWAR — is being measured against seasons from late-career Bernie Williams and the Cincinnati version of Ken Griffey, Jr. These are seasons that you just don't see anymore. No one in the entire span beginning in 2007 (i.e. six years before Bradley's debut in 2013) has had a season even close to as bad as Bernie Williams 2004-6. Matt Kemp was bad, but not that bad.

And that, I think, is what we're really saying when we say that Bradley is not loved by defensive metrics. The delta between the best and worst defensive CF is just much narrower today than it was 20 years ago. You could look at that and say that that makes CF defense less valuable. Or you could say that it reflects a recognition that CF defense is table stakes — that you can't field a competitive team without it. It can be a necessity without being a differentiator.
 

nvalvo

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That is an incredible explanation and clarification. Thank you
I became completely fascinated by UZR a little while ago, as you might be able to tell!

I think that this development suggests that within the industry, teams started using a methodology similar to UZR/DRS several years before UZR came out in 2010. This has led, I think, to the disappearance of the huge deltas between the best and worst players that we used to see.

In 2004, the difference in dWAR between the best CF (Corey Patterson) and the worst (Bernie Williams) was ~60 runs, or like 5 wins in that run scoring environment. And it was a pretty smooth distribution from top to bottom. Fast forward to 2019, and the difference is only about 25 runs, or 2.5 wins, and much more clustered around the average. As we all wait for vaccines, maybe I'll substitute for my constrained social life by reminding myself how to use R and inputting a couple decades of dWAR, so we can watch the CF histogram get narrower and taller year by year.

It's kind of like what happened when everyone got really into catcher framing. Within a few years, the bad framers were selected out of the pool of catchers, and the differences between the best and worst framing catchers declined.
 

IpswichSox

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Fawning profile of Duran by Peter Gammons in The Athletic (paywall), "Jarren Duran could be the firestarter for next generation of Red Sox."
Few mainland-raised players went to winter ball in the COVID-19 period. Duran struggled at first, although he got on base and continued his improvement in the outfield. He was the MVP of the Puerto Rican League playoffs. He was the MVP of the Caribbean World Series, and when it ended he thanked the people of Puerto Rico “for one of the best experiences of my life.”

He hit two monster homers in the playoff series that made highlight reels. There was a triple in the Caribbean Series that prompted five different baseball people from five different organizations to text, comparing Duran’s running speed and style to that of Kirk Gibson. His manager, Red Sox coach Ramón Vázquez, raved to the Red Sox about Duran’s work ethic, his constant defensive improvement, what he termed remarkable baserunning instincts and his baseball IQ. He met a couple of times with Alex Cora, who was equally impressed by his baseball intelligence and attitude.
 

The Gray Eagle

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The Glob has an interview with Duran:

JD says he thinks Duran is legit, and Duran has added weight and strength:
It’s practically a tradition to overhype Red Sox prospects. But Duran looks like the real deal.
“He’s legit. Talented player and you can see he belongs here,” J.D. Martinez said after taking batting practice with Duran. “He’s fun to watch.”
Duran has gained 15 pounds (up to 202) since last spring training, and the added strength is evident in batting practice. His confidence has increased, too.
He had a down-then-up winter league experience:
Duran started slowly — “I was trying to do too much and got out of who I am,” he said — then was named Most Valuable Player of the league playoffs before helping Caguas to the championship game of the Caribbean Series.

In all, Duran played in 30 games over two months and often was one of the youngest players on the field.

Duran was named to the all-tournament team for the Caribbean Series in Mexico after going 9 of 23 with seven runs, three extra-base hits, three stolen bases, and four RBIs as a leadoff hitter in seven games.