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May 3, 2021 at 9:30 AM

Scouting Scratch: Jarren Duran, Jeter Downs, Michael Chavis and Michael Gettys

Although the minor league season was postponed until May 4, the players at the Alternate Training Site (ATS) in Worcester have been able to get some work against players from outside of the organization in three sets of scrimmages against players from the New York Mets’ Site this month. Two of the sets were played at the Mets’ site in Brooklyn, but the teams played three games April 17-19 at Polar Park, and I was fortunate enough to attend two games—the first time I’ve seen live baseball since September 2019. Since these were only scrimmages, I won’t be doing a full scouting scratch, rather here is a compilation of notes from the two games headlined by standout performances from Jarren Duran.

- Jarren Duran has carried over his performance from Red Sox spring training, where he was one of the most intriguing hitters in camp, to the ATS, where he has continued to show the power potential that has been unlocked by his swing change. I saw seven at-bats from Duran over the two games, and he hit two home runs in the second game. He hit the ball hard two other times and showed consistent ability to impact the baseball, an area in which he was lacking in the past. Duran is also more aggressive at the plate, as he seems to hunt fastballs early in the count and rarely gets cheated when he decides to swing. This aggressiveness is something pitchers could take advantage of, and he did show some swing-and-miss in the two-game look. Defensively, Duran has started to see time in the outfield corners more recently, but in this look he played center field. He was not really tested, but I did notice a few times that he took a false step or had trouble reading the ball off the bat, which has been an issue since he converted to the outfield. While his speed allows him to cover for these issues sometimes, it is a deficiency that could be magnified at the major league level. 

- This was the first time I have seen Jeter Downs live, and he went one for seven over the two games, the only hit being a double. He was not overmatched at the plate, but just ran into some bad luck and chased some pitches out of the zone. His double came on a slider away he stayed back on and hooked to left field. He was loose at the plate and his swing was fluid. He did seem more comfortable going down and getting pitches rather than swinging at pitches up, so it will be interesting to see how he looks against velocity up in the zone when the regular season gets going. Defensively, Downs was solid at shortstop. He moves well enough and has an average arm that is passable at short. I don’t think he will ever be a standout defender there, but I think there is more of a chance he could play there at the major league level than what I expected based on the reports I got from scouts when he was acquired.

- Though technically not a prospect anymore, first baseman Michael Chavis showed both why he still has potential and why he is down at the ATS during the two-game look. Chavis showed off his raw power, turning on a middle-in fastball and hitting a long home run to left field in the first game. He also added a single and walk in the second game, but struck out three times in seven at-bats. Swing-and-miss issues have plagued Chavis throughout his career, so being more selective and making more contact are areas in which he still needs to improve. 

- Outfielder Michael Gettys was once considered one of the better prospects in the Padres system, peaking at 8th in Baseball America’s ranking of a strong San Diego system in 2017—ahead of players like Dinelson Lamet, Josh Naylor, Chris Paddack, and a very young Fernando Tatis Jr.—but he has always had trouble making contact. Now 25, the Red Sox signed him as a minor league free agent this past off-season. He showed some loud tools in this look but also had trouble making contact, striking out three times in six at-bats. Gettys has an ideal frame and is a great athlete. He stood out defensively, showing off a plus-plus arm and playing the Green Monster-like wall in right field impressively. His swing, however, is on the long side and seemed to get out of sync easily.

Photo Credit: Jarren Duran and Jeter Downs by Kelly O'Connor.

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.