When the Red Sox face the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, they’ll be the first MLB team to get a look at the consensus top prospect in baseball. Wander Franco will make his major league debut in the game, playing shortstop and batting second. Seeing Franco get called up after a dominant start to the season in Triple-AAA begs the question – when will the Red Sox promote their hottest prospect?
Although he’s commonly ranked as the organization’s third prospect behind Triston Casas and Jeter Downs, outfielder Jarren Duran is Boston’s top candidate for a call-up, and has been for some time. While Casas is just 21 years old and playing in Double-AA, and Downs has struggled to hit in Triple-AAA this year, Duran has been on a tear. The 24-year-old has hit 12 home runs in 30 games, while posting a .286 batting average for the WooSox.
With Duran’s performance continuing to draw attention, and his monster home runs regularly going viral on Twitter, many Red Sox fans are wondering when they’ll get to see him in the big leagues. On Tuesday, manager Alex Cora was asked about Duran’s future.
“We are very pleased with his progress and the way he’s been playing,” Cora told reporters. “I know people get excited.” However, Cora pointed out that Duran is still rounding out the finer points of his game, which is the last road block before he can get the call.
“He hit a walk off home run the other day, and [the fans] see the home run. There’s more there. There’s more than just hitting home runs,” he explained. “If it’s tomorrow, or in a month, or whatever, I know we know he can help us. But there’s a few things still – he needs to keep working on it.”
With his speed and ability to put the ball in play to all fields, Duran would give the Red Sox a true leadoff hitter – something the team is currently lacking. So far this season Kiké Hernandez has hit leadoff in 45 of the team’s 72 games, posting a .233 batting average and .296 on base percentage. No other player has hit leadoff more than nine times (Christian Arroyo).
Duran seems like a logical replacement for Hernandez both in the leadoff spot and in center field. The question now is when might that switch take place?
MORE: Tony Massarotti on Jarren Duran
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