Welcome to a new feature here at Over The Monster in which we will be looking at the best players on the farm from the past week. With the new minor-league schedule being implemented this year that has teams playing six-game series every week with Mondays off, there are no Minor Lines on Tuesdays. We figured rather than just leaving that timeslot blank every week, we’d hand out some fake, virtual hardware. Each week, we’ll pick players of the week for both position players and pitchers, as well as an honorable mention in each category. (See Previous Winners Here)
Position Player of the Week
Jarren Duran (Worcester)
There were a few good options here, and really you could flip a coin between Duran and his teammate who will come in as the honorable mention, but the heroics from the end of the week push him over the top. Duran walked it off in Worcester on Sunday to end their week, and to end a big-time six-day stretch for him. Over the last week Duran hit .385/.448/.692 with a pair of homers and a pair of doubles.
The hype is only continuing to grow, both around the baseball world and here specifically. Just yesterday we talked about Duran deserving the shot to be called up sooner than later, and specifically right now for this Rays series. I will be the first to say it is not going to happen, and in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if we wait for the Olympics to get through before we see him in the majors. I think that’s a mistake, but they still have not given me the job to run the Red Sox front office, so this is what happens.
This is the first time Duran has been mentioned in this Player of the Week space, which is a bit surprising and certainly not reflective of the kind of season he’s had. After this big six-game stretch the Red Sox outfield prospect is hitting .286/.379/.627 with those two homers giving him 12 total on the year. For a little bit of context regarding the kind of power pace he finds himself in the midst of, the 12 homers so far puts him on a 50-homer pace over 600 plate appearances. He is certainly benefiting from the wind tunnel that is the new Polar Park, but the power is also just straight-up for real, and it’s time we see it in the bigs.
Honorable Mention: Franchy Cordero (Worcester)
If you’re looking just strictly at the stat line, Cordero certainly had a case to be in the spot held down by Duran. The outfielder hit .375/.565/.625 in the six-game stretch, walking a whopping seven times while striking out only thrice. Like I said, the heroics for Duran pushed him over the top for me, but Cordero may get the last laugh as he seems like a much more likely call-up. The outfielder has been tearing it up for Worcester since being demoted, the Red Sox are getting nothing from Danny Santana, and they need a lefty, at least for the bench. I would be mildly surprised if Cordero isn’t up within the week.
Pitcher of the Week
Jeremy Wu-Yelland (Salem)
Again, there was an argument to be made for giving this to our honorable mention, but with the pitching I certainly give an edge if a guy made two starts as opposed to one. That was what Wu-Yelland did, and the lefty was impressive in the process. He only covered seven innings across the two starts as he is still being built up in his first year as a pro, but he allowed just a single run and a single hit across the two outings, striking out 10 and walking four.
Wu-Yelland was the Red Sox’s fourth-round selection in last summer’s draft, but he got the smallest bonus and had the least amount of hype of their four selections. (Remember, they didn’t have a second rounder.) He is turning those expectations on their head, though, as the former University of Hawaii southpaw has been solid all year. Through nine starts so far this year he has pitched to a 3.59 ERA with 37 strikeouts across 27 2⁄3 innings to go with 17 walks.
If we try to project Wu-Yelland out for the longer term, the bullpen still appears to be the spot at which he’ll land. Coming out of the draft, control was a big issue for him and the number of pitches he threw made it unlikely he’d stick as a starter. Those issues haven’t really subsided early in his career. That said, the stuff has been filthy and he is showing he knows how to pitch, so even if he does end up in the bullpen he can make a real impact. And that change isn’t imminent, so be sure you’re not sleeping on a guy having one of the more underrated seasons in the system.
Honorable Mention: Brayan Bello (Portland)
You knew we weren’t going to have a week without mentioning Bello, right? The Red Sox righty is having arguably the biggest season in the Red Sox system relative to expectations, and he has not slowed down since being promoted to Portland. He was more solid than great in his first Double-A start, but then he came out this past week and shoved. Bello tossed 5 1⁄3 innings, allowing just one run and two hits, walking only one as well while racking up 10 strikeouts. It was just the latest dominant start for the righty, who now has a 2.20 ERA with 57 strikeouts to 10 walks over 41 innings of work. There is probably no player in the system opening eyes quite like Bello has.