Red Sox

3 things to know about Jarren Duran ahead of his Red Sox debut

The Red Sox organization's No. 3 prospect is set to make his debut against the New York Yankees this weekend.

Jarren Duran Red Sox
Jarren Duran. Worcester Red Sox
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The wait for Red Sox fans and minor league outfielder Jarren Duran is over: the organization’s No. 3 overall prospect has finally gotten his call to the big leagues.

The team promoted Duran to its 25-man roster ahead of its series with the New York Yankees to begin the second half of the 2021 season. Whether it happens Thursday or later in the four-game set, the top-100 prospect seems set to make his Major League debut at Yankee Stadium.

After showing out in Spring Training for the Sox, dominating Triple-A pitching and helping Team USA qualify for the Olympics, the young outfielder will get a chance to show off his emerging power and massive speed for a lineup that could use a dash of explosiveness.

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Here are a few things to know about the exciting prospect and his journey to the majors.

He’s a proven hard worker.

Unlike No. 4 overall pick Marcelo Mayer, Duran wasn’t an overly heralded prospect coming out of college. The Red Sox took him in the seventh round of the 2018 draft out of Long Beach State University.

On top of that, Duran never even played the outfield during college. He made all 169 of his college starts at second base defensively and actually started out at second base in the Sox’ farm system.

The team converted him to centerfield during his time with the Lowell Spinners, following a similar path as former Red Sox MVP Mookie Betts.

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“I had never played the outfield…and at first I struggled with it,” he told The Athletic earlier this year. “Fortunately for me, Billy McMillon was the roving outfield instructor and he really helped me. I’ve been fortunate. Everywhere in pro ball I’ve had really great coaches.”

Part of his transition included shagging fly balls during live batting practice for his team, something both Betts and ex-Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. used to do.

Now, he’ll play the outfield for the big-league Red Sox and could be the team’s centerfielder of the future.

He’s a speed demon.

While Duran’s budding power makes for most of the highlights these days, his wheels and ability to get on base are what make him arguably more dangerous.

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MLB.com’s scouting profile on Duran lists his speed at a 70 on a scale from 20 to 80. He puts that speed to good use on the base paths.

“Duran’s best offensive tool is his plus-plus speed,” the profile reads, “which helps him routinely beat out grounders and makes him a dangerous basestealing threat, as evidenced by his 70 swipes in 199 games during his first two pro seasons. 

The Red Sox even named him the organization’s “Baserunner of the Year” in 2019 after he nabbed 46 stolen bases combined at Salem and Portland and added eight triples to his tab.

If the team wants a dash of speed at the top of their lineup, Duran could very well be their guy.

He won a title for Alex Cora’s hometown in winter league.

Duran unfortunately missed out on a chance to shine in 2020 Spring Training due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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But after moving up to then Triple-AAA Pawtucket in October 2020, the team offered him a chance to play winter ball in Puerto Rico to keep improving. He accepted and played for Criollos de Caguas, which plays in Alex Cora’s hometown in Puerto Rico. On top of that, Red Sox quality control coach Ramón Vázquez manages the Caguas team.

The outfielder struggled in 16 games in the Puerto Rican Winter League, batting just .236 with an OPS of .658. But that turned around in the Winter League’s championship series. Duran batted 5-for-15 with two home runs, two doubles, six RBIs, three walks and seven runs scored to lead Criollos de Caguas to the league title and earn series MVP honors.

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He also went on to tear up the competition during seven games in the Caribbean Series with Criollos, earning all-tournament honors next to Cardinals star Yadier Molina.

Duran, who is of Mexican descent, also hinted he would consider representing Mexico in future international competition. But first thing’s first: making his big-league mark with the Red Sox.

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