Prospect Spotlight Series: Jhoan Duran
In last year’s Prospect Spotlight Series, I took a deeper statistical look into a handful of guys I was higher on than most. Here are links to those articles if you’re interested in looking back: Travis Blankenhorn, Ben Rortvedt, Lachlan Wells, Tom Hackimer and Zander Wiel.
Instead of focusing on “my guys” this year, I’m going to pass along some of the really fun stuff I saw in 2018 from Twins prospects. So this will be sort of a show-and-tell version of the Prospect Spotlight Series.
First up on the list is Jhoan Duran. We’re going to look back at his impressive performance for the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Aug. 24. I apologize for the lo-fi, bootleg video quality, it was the best I could do.
Wow. I don’t envy those hitters. Duran pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-hit ball and racked up 10 strikeouts in that start. Of his 97 pitches, 62 went for strikes (63.9%) and he induced an impressive 19 swinging strikes (19.6%). That was certainly a performance that gets you dreaming of Duran someday dealing on the Target Field mound.
When the Twins acquired Duran, he had a 4.73 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 15 starts. I'll admit, that didn't exactly capture my imagination. Throw in the fact that he was acquired in the deal that sent away Eduardo Escobar, a guy who had been among my favorite Twins for years, and I was struggling to get very excited at the time.
I'm not sure if the Twins tweaked anything or if the trade was just a wake-up call, but Duran looked like a new man after joining the Twins. In his six regular season starts with Cedar Rapids, Duran posted a 2.00 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 4.40 K:BB ratio. He added six innings of one run ball and 10 more strikeouts in his lone postseason start for the Kernels.
The funny thing about Duran is that, among the Prospect Handbook contributors, I actually have him ranked the lowest. That’s more of an indication of how tight everything gets after the top three than how I feel specifically about Duran. I think Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol are clearly in a top tier, but then there are another 10-15 guys who are all basically in the same tier. Where exactly did everybody have him ranked? You’ll have to buy the book to find out
We had a ton of fun putting the Prospect Handbook together and we’re really excited for people to read it. Recognizing these minor league players for their efforts and ability is a big motivating factor in the project, so we would love for you to pick up a copy.
Duran is just one of more than 160 players featured in the book. He’s quickly becoming a notable name, but as fun as prospect lists are, guys emerge from relative obscurity to reach the major leagues on a regular basis.
Andrew Vasquez was a 32nd-round pick who never garnered prospect list love, but he earned his way all the way to the Major Leagues last season, becoming the first member of the Twins’ 2015 Draft class to arrive in Minnesota.
Who’s going to be the next homegrown Twins talent to emerge? That’s a great question. The only thing I can say for certain is he’s somewhere in the pages of this year's handbook.
Click here for more information on the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook.
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