The Red Sox are very much in need of a spark right now, especially offensively. This is a team that, coming into the season, was expected to be more or less carried by its offense. Instead, they’ve gotten largely excellent starting pitching (especially lately) but the offense is giving no support and the bullpen can’t hold the small, low-scoring leads. Some of that should change with time, but as they continue to lose ground in the playoff race already this early in the season, the organization can’t just sit on its hands and hope everything turns around. The first big change of the season seems to be coming on Friday. Alex Speier is reporting that Jarren Duran is on his way to Boston to join the major-league roster for this weekend’s series against the White Sox.
Duran has been one of the hottest hitters in the Red Sox farm system, with four multi-hit games in his last five, which includes two doubles, two triples, and two homers. He missed some time after a positive COVID test earlier in the year, but over his first 63 plate appearances in Triple-A Worcester he is hitting .370/.460/.574. Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that his strikeout rate sits at just 20 percent, his lowest rate at any level since 2019 when he was in High-A.
There is going to be — and should be — some healthy skepticism around Duran for the time being after his rough showing in the majors last season. After performing as one of the organization’s best players in the first half of the year in Triple-A, he couldn’t adjust to major-league pitching. In 112 plate appearances in the majors, hitting .215/.241/.336 for a well below-average 49 wRC+. That aforementioned strikeout rate was the biggest issue, with the outfielder striking out over 35 percent of the time.
As far as the corresponding roster move and Duran’s role on the team, that much is unclear, though presumably they did not call him up to sit on the bench. Alex Verdugo has not seemed completely healthy of late, so he could be hitting the injured list. Enrique Hernández missed yesterday’s game with some undisclosed illness, which could feasibly land him on the injured list as well depending on how his test results come back. It’s also feasible that someone like Kutter Crawford could be optioned or Matt Barnes getting a phantom IL stint, giving the Red Sox a four-man bench once again. With two days off coming up next week, the need for extra pitching is not quite as great. Of course, that’s all speculation. We’ll keep you posted on what the team ends up doing, but for now it sure seems like one of the team’s best prospects is on his way back up to the majors, looking to put 2021 behind him.
Update (10:25 AM ET)
It seems that it will be Hernández heading to the COVID list, at least for now. According to Speier, he has not tested positive but his symptoms remain and the Red Sox will keep him away from the team for the time being.