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April 27, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Minor Notes: Duran into top 100, Whitlock continues to dominate

Here are this week's minor league notes:

  • The SoxProspects.com scouting team continues to update the scouting reports with six updates this week. The updates were led by an 18-year old shortstop, Brainer Bonaci, who is currently ranked 15th in the SoxProspects.com rankings. Other players covered are lefty Jeremy Wu-Yelland, third baseman Nick Northcut, and right-handers Nathanael Cruz, Dylan Spacke, and Osvaldo De La Rosa
  • Baseball America updates its Top 100 Prospects rankings throughout the year. In this week's update, Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran (pictured, left) made the list at #99. Duran is currently at the Alternate Site in Worcester and is expected to join the Worcester Red Sox when the season starts up on May 4.
  • One of the prospects with the big league club generating the most attention is 24-year-old righty Garrett Whitlock, currently ranked 16th on the SoxProspects.com rankings. His start has been hard to miss since he has yet to allow a run in his first five games, pitching 11.1 innings with 14 strikeouts and only one walk. Selected from the Yankees in this past offseason's Rule 5 draft, Whitlock was moved to the bullpen but the Red Sox still envision a future as a starter. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford writes about how Whitlock is adapting to the new role.
  • Is it just Whitlock's new role that is resulting in the success or has something changed? Michael Ajeto of The Pitcher List tries to find an explanation and finds that part of it might be his funky arm action and some might be a result of the improved changeup.
  • With the new role and improved pitch yielding great results, why are the Red Sox not throwing Whitlock more? John Tomase of NBC Sports Boston wondered the same thing and asks Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush to try and shed some light.
  • Outfielder Danny Santana, seen by some as a potential big league callup if injury or performance required another outfielder, has agreed to extend his opt-out into May as the Boston Globe's Alex Speier reports. The original opt-out was set for April 30.
  • After throwing 17 innings with a 0.53 ERA to end last season, Tanner Houck (pictured, right) was certainly getting noticed, and he has been solid to start 2021 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.35 WHIP after 10.1 innings over two starts and a relief appearance. Houck tells MassLive.com's Christopher Smith that the "light bulb finally flicked on" ($) when watching one of Chris Sale's bullpen sessions last spring training. 
  • Even though the MLB Draft is months away, starting on July 11, it is never too early to start reading mock drafts, especially with the Red Sox pitching fourth this year. MLB Pipeline has been cranking them out with two this past week alone. In their first on the 20th, they projected Vanderbilt righty Kumar Rocker and in their second on Sunday, they gave the Red Sox Marcelo Mayer, a shortstop out of East Lake High School (Calif.).
  • To begin its inaugural season, Polar Park, home to the Worcester Red Sox, will open its doors with a limited capacity of 12% of its maximum due to the ongoing pandemic as Michael Bonner writes for MassLive.com ($).
  • The Red Sox announced the release of 10 players this past week: outfielder Caleb Ramsey, infielder Everlouis Lozada, utility players Kervin Suarez and Jagger Rusconi, and righties Yoelvis Guedez, Kevin Biondic, Reed Harrington, Richardson Jimenez, Casey Sutherland, and Hunter Haworth
  • With MLB eliminating a league and 40 minor league teams this past offseason, they have tried to drum up some interest in the new "Draft League" in which draft-eligible players can play in a league with a 68-game schedule. Keith Law writes for The Athletic that the initial rosters are underwhelming ($), and scouts are saying they are "like an open tryout for the indy leagues."

Photo Credit: Jarren Duran and Tanner Houck by Kelley O'Connor.

Will Woodward is a Co-Owner and Senior Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.