The recent news of Jackie Bradley Jr.’s signing with the Milwaukee Brewers was hard. It reminded fans of when Jacoby Ellsbury left before him. It is never easy to see your favorite players go away. There is reason for optimism though as new kid, Jarren Duran, is knocking on the door looking to be the team’s future center fielder. Duran is rated the fastest runner in the Red Sox prospect list. He has been compared by Red Sox Manager Alex Cora to a Grady Sizemore-like player. The Sizemore Cleveland prime years of course, not the end of his career Boston days.
His Baseball Background
The 2018 MLB draft saw the Red Sox draft Jarren Duran in the 7th round. He played collegiately at California State University out of Long Beach, CA. Standing 6’2 and 212 lbs along with batting left and throwing right, the 24-year-old Duran is in camp as a non-roster invitee. He played second base in college and didn’t start playing the outfield regularly until the age of 21. Sounds like a similar story to Mookie Betts who played second base before making the majors in the outfield, doesn’t it? That will be as far as the comparisons go so far as Duran still has some seasoning to do. It may benefit him to go play some at the new AAA site in Worcester at beautiful new Polar Park.
2021 Camp Production So Far
Duran got off to a nice start with a homer against the Baltimore Orioles back on March 4, 2021. As of this writing, Duran has been wearing #93 in camp so far. He has been to the plate 11 times where he has hit a whopping .455 with two home runs and three RBI’s. His OPS has been a staggering 1.682. The expectations to replace Bradley are lofty, so I feel a stint in AAA would help ease some of the pressure. Also service time plays a factor sending a young player down for a couple of weeks to gain an extra year of team control over his contract. Another factor will be the delay of the minor league season until May. That means he would have to have alternate camp like experience for a month like last season’s experience in Pawtucket.
I would like to look ahead into the future of baseball with the 2017 MLB Draft fast approaching. With the first overall pick, the Minnesota Twins are expected to rather select HS RHP/SS Hunter Greene, 1B/LHP Brendan McKay (Louisville), or RHP Kyle Wright (Vanderbilt). The Twins’ selection will be followed by picks from the Reds’ and Padres’ organizations. Each of these organizations will be looking to select a franchise player. Since he seems to be the center of attention, we are going to take a look at the Notre Dame High School attending phenom, Hunter Greene.
Hunter Greene Is Not A Risky Draft Pick
Though there has never been a right-handed pitcher taken as the number-one overall selection before, Greene is a player that would thrive in doing so. The kid is just 17 years old, but is already on track to be baseball’s next superstar. Greene maxes his fastball out at a supposed 102 MPH, and hit a whopping .324 with 6 homers and 28 RBI. Greene posted a solid .75 ERA in 28 IP while striking out 43 before being shut down on the mound. The two-way sensation is committed to attend UCLA, but that won’t be a factor when he is drafted next week. This kid is a class act; he has been acknowledged for his community service efforts as well as his grades in school. Greene is a local role model for the young baseball players of his area.
Should the Twins Select Hunter Greene?
How many times have we seen it happen before as sports fans? The high-school phenom that was supposed to change the world of sports gets injured or burns out before their prime. Hunter is said to participate in yoga classes, and have a very good connection to his body, as well as his arm. The Twins are in a serious rebuilding stage, and they certainly do not want to mess this pick up. Some believe that the team should play it safe and select a player with college experience, while some think Greene is the right choice for the Twins moving forward. Personally, I think Hunter Greene has all the talent and potential that he needs to be selected number one. He also looks to have the demeanor and willingness to compete for a World Series title in the future. You hear that, Dave?
After a dismal performance against Alabama, Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel may want to reconsider the generous offer he received from the Boston Red Sox last year.
Completing 9-of-28 passing attempts while throwing a pair of interceptions, last Saturday was not a good day for the red shirt junior. To top it all off, he threw for less than 100 yards (93).
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Despite his struggles, it is clear Jeff Driskel is a lucky man. In addition to leading his team to the Sugar Bowl as a sophomore, the red shirt junior was selected in the MLB draft in 2013—meaning he has the potential to go pro in either sport. Although the chances of the outfielder ever playing in a pro baseball game are slim, it may be an opportunity he takes up if he does not make it in the NFL.
Being an NFL quarterback is a tough business and only the top guys make the cut.
Baseball on the other hand is a bit easier. Many players are called upon and the best players make it from there. Although there are less spots at the top level, having so many stops in the minor leagues makes it easier to find out who is ready for the top.
As a baseball player, Jeff Driskel is very talented. Four years ago he topped out at 94 mph on the mound, ran a 6.5 60-yard dash and hit a 470-foot home run.
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It appeared as though Driskel would be a top round pick in the 2011 MLB draft, but he left high school early to enroll at Florida. Still, he got drafted eventually whether or not he wanted the call.
Driskel has this year and the following year left as far as football eligibility is concerned, and football is first for him right now. Since he does not project as an NFL player, perhaps he gives baseball a try and pursues a career as an MLB player.
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He seems more gifted in baseball anyways and, luckily for Boston given that they drafted him, he would be a member of the Red Sox organization if he wishes to come back into the game of baseball.
On day three of the MLB draft the Boston Red Sox made ripples when they drafted Karsten Whitson in the 11th around. Whitson, 22, was drafted ninth overall in the 2010 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres. He turned down a $2.1 million signing bonus in order to go to the University of Florida, a.k.a. the Florida Gators. This came after he went to their training facility and felt as though he was not physically ready for professional career. Whitson could have the highest upside out of every single Boston pick this year.
As a freshman Whitson was one thing and one thing only— dominant. As a true freshman he boasted a 2.40 ERA in 19 starts while racking up 92 strikeouts to just 28 walks in 97 1/3 innings pitched. After putting up a 3.51 ERA as a sophomore, Whitson headed to the prestigious Cape Cod week to play for the Orleans Firebirds. After pitching in just two games in relief he was done for the summer. Originally thought to just be shoulder fatigue, he ended up needing to go under the knife for shoulder surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews. Thankfully there was no rotator cuff or labrum damage and he was ready to pitch in the 2014 season after sitting out in 2013. In the 2013 MLB draft Whitson was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 37th round, but nothing came of it. This season, he faced some command problems walking 23 hitters while fanning just 21, despite posting a 3.86 ERA and 14 appearances nine of which were starts. Still though, this is great after missing a whole year for him to come back and pitch as well as he did.
Despite not pitching like the stud he may be this year, the potential is still there for him;Boston got a steal in the 11th round. This is especially good since Boston would not have received a penalty if they did not sign the medically-red shirted junior. Also, since Boston drafted high ceiling guys over high floor guys, they will be strapped for cash as far as signing bonuses go. Whitson is in a different category of slot bonus; in rounds 11 to 40 Boston has $100,000 to work with per pick. It is unclear what kind of a bonus he will receive, but expect it to be greater than the $100,000 slot mark and much less than the $2.1 million he turned down back in 2010. About $400-500k should do the trick since Whitson wants to sign with Boston.
As far as a scouting report goes Whitson has a fastball that sat comfortably at 90-92 at the beginning of the year, but as time went on and he built up arm strength, Whitson hit 96mph on the radar gun. He also has a solid slider which tops out at around 84mph and a changeup which can drop up to 15mph slower than his fastest fastball.
Overall, it appears as though Boston may have hit the jackpot once again. As Whitson pitches more and more and becomes comfortable throwing, it will be clear Boston made the right pick which will be arguably the best pick they made the entire draft.
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In the 2014 MLB draft, the Boston Red Sox selected two players out of Chipola College in Marianna, Florida: Danny Mars and Ian Rice. Mars, an outfielder, was picked in the sixth round and Rice, a catcher, fell to the 21st round. Mars came to Massachusetts to sign his contract, and Rice came so that he could play in the Cape Cod League for the Cotuit Kettleers.
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So far this year in Cotuit, Rice has collected a hit in his six at-bats as he serves as one of the team’s catchers. The other catcher, Casey Schroeder, also went to junior college this past year and was selected in the 14th round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics. Rice will see more action as the season progresses, and should be able to put up some impressive numbers and the same goes for Schroeder.
As far as a scouting report goes, Rice is known for his power. Smacking ten home runs this spring and leading the Cal Ripken Collegiate League in home runs last summer Rice impressed. Along with his .500 OBP for Chipola, yes, Rice walked about twice as often as he struck out which shows he has a great eye at the plate. On the base paths, Rice is not the fastest man alive since he is a catcher. Behind the dish, Rice has been working hard to improve his defense. With this being said, he could one day be a good defensive catcher at this rate.
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Given that he is committed to the University of Houston next year, Rice definitely has some options and leverage over Boston. Ranked as the 303rd best draft prospect by Baseball America, it seems strange that Rice fell all the way down to the 21st round. Sign-ability does not seem like it could be an issue, but it will take more than $100k to lure him away from college. As the season wears on in the Cape, Rice plays well, and the deadline to sign comes closer, expect Boston to up the ante and give Rice a realistic offer. Realistically for Rice, Boston should be able to swoop him up with about $300k.
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Overall, this will be an interesting one to see unfold. Ian Rice will be a fun player to watch in the Cape. Expect this one to come down to the wire whether or not he signs with the Red Sox as it will likely be announced on the day of the deadline. Rice is definitely a player Boston needs to make a priority in signing since his potential is far too great to pass up.
After winning the World Series in 2013, the Boston Red Sox did not have nearly as high of a pick as they did the season before. In 2013, Boston had the 7th overall pick of the draft and they selected Trey Ball, a high school pitcher with tremendous potential from Indiana. This year, the Red Sox first pick was pick number 26, and Boston took the same approach taking Michael Chavis, a shortstop from Marietta, Georgia.
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Chavis, 18, is a very athletic guy and has the potential to be a true five tool player. He tore up his high school competition, as all draft picks do, hitting .557 in 31 games while boasting a .645 OBP. For a guy at shortstop, Chavis’ power is impressive as he clubbed 13 home runs. Though no stolen base numbers are available, his 6.68 second 60 yard dash implies he could steal some bases.
Unfortunately for Chavis, the future seems dim for him as the Boston Red Sox starting shortstop, but lucky for him he is athletic enough to play a wide variety of positions. Chavis could play anywhere on the field, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up. Perhaps Chavis could end up being a highly valuable, highly versatile player for the Red Sox.
Odds are, Michael Chavis will begin his pro career in the Gulf Coast League for the GCL Red Sox when he does sign his contract given that few high schoolers go straight to the short-season A team, the Lowell Spinners. Chavis will likely start his career as a shortstop and Boston will see how that goes and add some more as time goes on. As far as a signing bonus goes, do not expect Chavis to sign cheap. Committed to Clemson, Chavis could prove to be a tough sign for Boston, who will pool out all sorts of money for his services.
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The Red Sox made a good move with the first pick in their draft. Michael Chavis has a bright future ahead of him and is confident. He compared himself to Dustin Pedroia and showed up to the draft wearing a bow tie, which makes two bold moves on the night. Hopefully he signs with Boston soon to get his career up and going.