Puckett’s Pond’s Minnesota Twins 2018 Top-40 Prospects: #21-25
#22 Jhoan Duran, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Nate’s Rank: 23, Gary’s Rank: 24
Right-handed pitcher Jhoan Duran, along with fellow prospects Gabriel Maciel and Ernie De La Trinidad joined the Minnesota Twins in the July 27th trade that sent Eduardo Escobar to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 20-year-old Dominican signed with the D-Backs way back in December of 2014 for just $65,000 and started his pro career in the Dominican Summer League at 17.
Duran’s first three seasons from the DSL to low-level ball against competition averaging 1.7 to 3.4 years his senior were unremarkable. He put together an ERA of 4.19, with 115 K’s, and 53 walks in 158.2 innings over 19 starts.
Duran was promoted to Advanced Level A Kane County to start this season. While his ERA was an unimpressive 4.73 in with 28 walks and 69 hits given up over 64.2 innings, he did garner 71 strikeouts.
In five starts at Cedar Rapids since the trade, the 6′ 5″, 175-pound right-hander has an ERA of 2.88, giving up eight earned runs on 15 hits, striking out 31 and walking only four batters in 25.1 Innings. A small sample, but this is what Duran promises in the future if he can develop consistent control to exploit his overpowering mid-90’s fastball.
Mark Hulet at FanGraphs put it well:
"If you’re looking for a deep-ish sleeper to keep an eye on, Duran is a name to know. He has a great pitcher’s frame but room to continue to get stronger and perhaps pick up even more velo. He’s already in the 94-98 mph range with his fastball, though, and it’s really the secondary offerings (breaking ball, change) that need the most focus."
It’s that fastball that makes Duran an exciting prospect. MLB.com rates it a 65 on the 20-80 scale. They have him ranked 23rd among Twins prospects with an overall rating of 45. Duran has a higher floor because he has potential as a late-inning stopper if he flames out as a starter.
More so than with other young pitchers, the main key to Duran’s future success rides on his control and consistency. There will likely be many rough patches as he advances to higher levels. How he adjusts to his likely promotion to Advanced-A Fort Myers next season will give a much clearer idea of his future chances as a professional baseball player.