If you’re a baseball fan, you know what hitting .400 means. It is an almost impossible feat, one that is unlikely to ever be repeated in the Majors ever again. It’s always interesting to watch guys like Cody Bellinger who get off to these hot starts. They keep the average above .400 into May and everyone starts to get excited. When realistically, sustaining that is unfathomable.
So with Jarren Duran hitting .403 through his first 45 games in high-A Salem, people are starting to notice.
Duran is a 7th rounder from the draft that happened less than 12 months ago. It has been incredible to watch him absolutely tear through A-ball in this past year. He’s had 464 at-bats since being drafted, he’s had hits in 174 of those. That’s a .375 average, which is crazy.
What’s even more crazy is his torrid start to the 2019 campaign. Obviously Duran is too good to still be in Salem. In all honesty, he should have already moved on from the team and up to Portland. For the time being he’s in Salem, and he is having fun.
Early returns appear to have this draft pick as a steal for Dombrowski and the Red Sox. His elevated age of 22 gives him the motivation to progress through the minors at a quicker rate. Even when he does make it to Portland this year, he’s still not getting to Boston until September of 2020 at the earliest. That makes him 24 when he makes his debut, no spring chicken.
Duran has never been much of a power hitter, and even with an OBP of .466, his OPS currently sits just over 1.000, due to the lack of power (two home runs in 204 plate appearances). This doesn’t make him any less valuable, but it would certainly make him a candidate to be a future leadoff hitter.
Jarren is a natural outfielder, but also has the ability to slide in and play second base. He’s mostly manned centerfield in Salem this season, and appears to be handling it pretty well, having yet to make an error.
The timing should work out very well, should Duran continue to progress the way he has. Jackie Bradley Jr. is under team control for a couple more seasons, and by the time they have to make a decision on JBJ, they should have a grasp on whether Duran can be his successor or not.
With Bradley Jr. struggling offensively the way he has this year, I think it’s in the Red Sox best interest to start pushing Duran as hard as he wants to go to see if they can really accelerate his progress through the minor league system.
For a team that has struggled to keep its draftees, and has a notably weak farm system, it’s nice to see that our front office is being smart about the draft picks after the first couple rounds, and finding guys that can be developed into major league players. Just like Jarren Duran is going to do.