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July 14, 2021 at 6:56 PM

Scouting Report Update: Jarren Duran gets The Call

Early Wednesday evening, Joe McDonald from the Worcester Telegram and Gazette broke that Jarren Duran wasn't in the lineup for the Worcester Red Sox because he was on his way to New York to make his Major League debut. Duran is in the midst of the best season of his professional career, hitting .270/.365/.561 with 15 home runs and 13 steals in 219 plate appearances in Triple-A. He also spent a few weeks with Team USA helping them qualify for the Olympics, and was one of the standout performers at the Qualifier. 

Duran's promotion comes with the Red Sox entering a pivotal stretch as they look to secure their position at the top of the American League East. The Red Sox have received inconsistent play from their third outfielder this year and the team will look to Duran to take an everyday spot, likely pushing Kiké Hernández into the infield primarily. The Red Sox will need to make room on the 40-man roster for Duran as well as the active roster, with the designation for assignment of a member of the bullpen the most likely move.

Physical Description: Tall, strong frame. Quick-twitch athlete. Athleticism stands out on the field. Has added significant strength in his upper body since he joined the system, and specifically was noticeably stronger when he reported to the Alternate Training Site in 2020. Strength gains carried over into the 2021 season.

Hit: Starts upright and slightly open with his hands down by his belt. Tweaked his setup in 2020, starting with his hands lower down at his chest before bringing them back up in his load, a change made in an attempt to lift the ball more. Simple swing mechanics. Direct swing. Very quick hands. Aggressive and will attack early in the count, but can recognize spin and will take a walk. Will take what the pitcher gives him. Has some swing-and-miss and will expand the zone at times. Approach has improved, but will require some refinement against major league pitching. In college had used a low, wide stance before coming up and back, but in pro ball tapped into unexpected offensive potential when he changed his initial setup to start more upright. Has shown the ability to make adjustments to improve and to address holes in his swing; 2020 swing change was done on his own, not at the suggestion of the organization. Potential average hit tool.

Power: Plus raw power after 2020 swing adjustments. Increased strength and added loft in swing allow him the drive the ball to all fields, but especially to the pull side. Showed improved power at 2020 alternate training site, and quickly showed that his swing changes work in real games in 2021, significantly changing his in-game power projection. Prior to 2020 change, had below-average raw power with a swing not geared for over-the-fence power. Speed also leads to more doubles and triples on hard-hit line drives, inflating his power numbers somewhat. Above-average power potential.

Run: True plus-plus speed. Potential difference-maker on the bases. Needs to refine base-stealing instincts, but has the type of speed that puts immense pressure on the defense. Speed has allowed him to post high batting averages on balls in play during his minor league career.

Field: Potential average defender. Has the speed and athleticism teams covet for center field, but is still raw and needs to continue developing in the outfield after moving from second base during his pro debut. Not clear that he will stick in center field, and may be a better fit in left given fringe-average arm and uniquely spacious right field at Fenway Park. Has improved what was initially a slow first step in the outfield, struggling with initial reads, but still is not a natural outfielder. Often able to make up for slow reads and inefficient routes with his speed. First moved to right field, where the line to the plate was similar to that at second base, before converting full-time in 2019 to center field, where his speed could allow him to develop tremendous range. At second base, showed soft hands and fluid actions, though athleticism was somewhat wasted.

Arm: Fringe-average arm strength. Passable in the outfield, but throws lack carry.

Career Notes: Led his high school team to a state title his sophomore year. Put together a strong season for Wareham in the 2017 Cape Cod Summer League. Made it to the Super Regionals with Long Beach State in 2017. Has performed at a much higher level as a pro than even the organization was expecting, due in large part to abandoning much of what he was taught in college and switching to a more natural swing. Participated in the Fall Instructional League in 2018. Flirted with hitting .400 for much of his time in Salem in 2019, but a slight slump in the week or so before his promotion to Portland brought his average below that mark. Played at the Alternate Training Site in 2020, where he showed significant improvements in his power. Impressed at the plate as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training in 2021, but showed that he still had work to do on defense. Opened 2021 at the Alternate Training Site. Played for Team USA in the 2021 Americas Olympic Qualifier, and would have been part of U.S. Olympic team if not for Red Sox request to pull him off of the roster if they wanted to call him up. Did, in fact, receive his first MLB call-up coming out of the 2021 All-Star Break.

Summation: Potential average regular starting outfielder. Ceiling of an impact, everyday center fielder. Ability to reach ceiling is dependent on keeping the swing-and-miss in his game manageable and continuing to improve defensively. Swing changes that allowed him to tap into his raw power have completely changed his outlook. Now looks like a potential above-average offensive player with plus-plus speed who is average-ish in the outfield and able to get by because of his speed and athleticism while he continues to refine his reads and routes. Is still continuing to develop in center field, but likely to develop into at least an average defender there and has the raw tools to become an above-average defender. With his speed, has the potential to put a lot of pressure on the defense and inflate his average with infield singles and slugging by taking extra bases. Could also steal 25-plus bases if he improves his baserunning instincts.

Photo Credit: Jarren Duran by Kelly O'Connor.

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