SoxProspects News

September 13, 2018 at 12:00 PM

SoxProspects.com Awards: Rookie, Breakout Player and Comeback Player of the Year


SoxProspects.com award season continues after all-star hitters were announced on Monday, followed by all-star pitchers on Tuesday and the graduate, homegrown prospect and ex-prospect of the year on Wednesday.

SoxProspects.com's rookie of the year is Jarren Duran, the breakout player of the year is Kutter Crawford and CJ Chatham earns the nod for comeback player of the year.

Rookie of the Year

Jarren Duran was also named one of three All-Star outfielders on Monday after having a spectacular professional debut in 2018. Duran was selected in the seventh round of this year's draft after three years playing for Long Beach State and made an immediate impact, going 3 for 5 with two triples in his professional debut on June 17. Duran had hits in 13 of his first 15 games and was slashing .348/.393/.548 with 10 triples through 37 games with Lowell before his promotion to Greenvile on August 1.

While the triples were lacking for the Drive over the final month of the season, the 22-year-old still put up a strong slash line of .367/.396/.477. In addition to 11 triples across both levels, Duran was 24 for 34 in stolen base attempts and was third in the system in steals. With almost a 50 percent groundball rate, Duran has been effectively using his plus-plus speed to take the extra base and he was a strong contributor across two levels.

Breakout Player of the Year

Kutter Crawford is also one of the five SoxProspects.com all-star starters announced on Tuesday and was a South Atlantic League all-star as well. Crawford started the year ranked No. 59 in the SoxProspects.com rankings and by season's end, he was knocking on the door of the top 20, sitting at No. 22. That is good for a 37-spot jump and is made all the more impressive after factoring in the six 2018 draftees that debuted ahead of him. He rode a strong cutter to the system lead with 157 strikeouts in 143 2/3 innings, a 9.84 K/9 that is third to Jalen Beeks and Darwinzon Hernandez among pitchers above 80 innings.

Crawford, a 2017 16th-round pick, had only pitched one professional inning before starting the year in Greenville and shoved, sitting at a 1.99 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP after his start on June 5 against Augusta, often the only bright spot in a system that struggled mightily through the early part of the season. His ERA jumped almost a full run after his next outing, to 2.71, and that is where he settled, sitting at 2.96 when he was promoted to Salem on August 4. He performed well in Salem, striking out 37 batters in 31 1/3 innings and should begin the year there next year.

Comeback Player of the Year

CJ Chatham has had injury problems since before the Red Sox drafted him in the second round of the 2016 draft, as he broke his hand when he was hit by a pitch in the NCAA Tournament, as revealed by a physical post-draft. In 2017, he got in only 19 at-bats, 16 of which were in the GCL, due to a hamstring injury. In 2018, he was able to stay off the disabled list, save for a seven-day stint in June, and play 113 games. The lion's share of those games were in Salem, a good spot for a player in his second year of professional baseball. Chatham excelled, hitting .315 to lead the affiliate after being promoted on May 8.

The power numbers were not there, with only 14 doubles, a triple and three home runs during his run in Salem, but Chatham was a reliable hitter who was able to put up a strong average and avoid the strikeout, going down on strikes just 18.5 percent of the time. The key for the 23-year-old was to be able to stick on the on the field and play solid defense, which he was able to do, committing 11 errors at shortstop in 262 chances combined with a full season of work.

Photo Credit: Jarren Duran, Kutter Crawford and CJ Chatham by Kelly O'Connor

 
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