Duran quickly impresses Sox: 'He's fearless'

July 20th, 2021

Like some MLB newcomers, felt lost. Not lost in the sense of struggling at the plate or in the field; he was, literally, lost.

“I’m still figuring out some of the facilities,” Duran said. “I swear at Yankee Stadium I kept walking out toward the bus because I couldn’t figure out which way the cage was. Every day I’d walk out and head toward the bus when the cage was the other way.”

Perhaps wandering Yankee Stadium without direction qualifies as a “welcome to the Majors” moment for Duran, Boston's No. 3 prospect. Just three games into his big league career, he’s added to that moment with his first hit (on Gerrit Cole’s first offering) and his first home run (to open the scoring against Toronto on Monday).

Duran may not have every stadium mapped out just yet, but he’s demonstrated that he belongs in them. He’s not afraid of baseball’s biggest stage.

“First of all, he’s fearless,” Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers said. “That’s the type of guy I like. He’s a guy that’s going to give us competitive at-bats. He’s obviously going to take some lumps, being a young player, but he’s a guy that is fearless, aggressive and can spark our lineup.”

How’s this for fearless? After facing Cole and the Yankees on the road in his debut, Duran was bumped up to the No. 2 spot in Boston’s lineup just two games later. Manager Alex Cora wanted to move J.D. Martinez down to maximize RBI opportunities, and Duran’s 70-grade speed made him an enticing option to promote.

Naturally, Duran delivered immediately -- albeit with power, not speed. He homered in his first at-bat on Monday night, staying with an outside fastball and driving it to left.

As for his place up high in Boston’s potent lineup, Duran isn’t reading into it too much. But he doesn’t have any fear filling the role of a No. 2 hitter, either.

“Just staying on my toes,” Duran said. “Who knows if I stay there or not? But wherever A.C. wants to put me, I’m going to do the best I can.”

Sox agree with 3rd-rounder McDonough
Boston has agreed to terms with utility man Tyler McDonough, its third-round pick from the 2021 MLB Draft, according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis. The club had not confirmed the report.

The deal is reportedly worth $831,100, which represents the full slot value of the No. 75 pick with which McDonough was selected.

Though McDonough was announced at the Draft as a second baseman, he also has experience playing third base, catcher and outfield. He finished his three-year college career with a .954 OPS, but the power numbers popped in 2021.

McDonough slugged .631 for N.C. State, with 15 homers, 21 doubles and a triple across 55 games. He reached safely in 53 of 55 games and made only two errors during the year.

The Red Sox still have many Draft picks left to sign, including No. 4 overall Marcelo Mayer. The deadline for teams to sign draftees is Aug. 1.