Age: 23 (DOB: 1-8-1998)
2020 Stats: Pitched at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul.
2020 Ranking: #6
National Top 100 Rankings
What’s To Like
Before becoming the Twins bench coach before the 2020 season, Mike Bell spent eight years as the Vice President of Player Development for the Arizona Diamondbacks. In July of 2018, the Twins sent infielder Eduardo Escobar to Arizona in exchange for three players including Jhoan Duran.
A year ago, I was talking to Bell about Duran. “It was a painful trade, being on that side of it, watching him go. I was definitely in the room. I think it was a good trade for both teams. Escy’s a very good player, and a good teammate. I’ll tell you what, Duran is an incredible talent. I think he’s going to do a lot of good things here in the organization. I’m super-excited to reconnect with him.”
Bell noted, “When we saw him, he had a real heavy sinker. We took some baby steps with him. We knew the kind of talent he was, so we were playing it pretty safe with him in rookie ball. We saw a fastball up to 99 with heavy sink, and he is around the strike zone with command.”
Duran has continued to develop. A year ago, he was added to the 40-man roster, and he spent the 2020 season at the Twins alternate training site in St. Paul. When he pitched in some intrasquad games ahead of the start of the regular season, he impressed fans and coaches alike.
Duran is an intimidating presence on the mound. He stands 6-5 and is a very-strong 230 pounds. He is blessed with a fastball that sits in the upper-90s and frequently hits triple-digits.
As he said a year ago in a Twins Fest interview, he likes his fastball but he is very comfortable with his sinker as well, a pitch that is sometimes called a “splinker.” (combination split-finger fastball and sinker) Whatever it is called, it has the potential to be a big pitch for him as it can sink and fade in on a right-handed batter as seen below.
The third pitch will be the key to the trajectory of his career. He has a really solid breaking ball that will just need to be cleaned up. He has a sharp slider but also occasionally will throw a slower curveball. If even one of those pitches can become an average pitch, he could be a starter for a long time.
What’s Left To Work On
At this stage, it is really just about refining his stuff and getting to the big leagues and gaining confidence in it.
The third pitch, whether it’s a slow curveball, a slider or a change up will likely determine whether he can remain a starter or will need to be a reliever. That’s a question for every starter, especially guys that throw as hard as Duran.
He has generally shown good control in the minor leagues, but he will need to sharpen his command to find success in the big leagues.
Duran ended the 2019 season with a handful of starts at Double-A Pensacola. He then impressed during his time in St. Paul in 2020. He will again head to big league spring training. While he may technically be competing with Randy Dobnak and others for the Twins fifth starter role, he will likely start the season with the Saints. The Twins could even justify sending him to Double-A Wichita for another partial season if needed since he missed game-innings in 2020. .
Assuming he continues to impress and make improvements, it is very likely he will make his MLB debut in 2021. Because of the lack of innings in 2020, he could be on a pitch and innings limit in 2021, so it’s possible he could debut out of the Twins bullpen late in the season too. This kind of arm warrants patience and caution.
Yesterday, Cody asked if you think Balazovic should be the Twins top pitching prospect? After reading today's profile, what do you think? Is it Balazovic or Duran? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
Twins Daily 2021 Top 20 Prospects
6. Jordan Balazovic, RHP
5. Jhoan Duran, RHP
Stop by on Monday for prospect #4!
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