Durbin Feltman Is Poised To Move Quickly
Two words have characterized the pro debut of Red Sox third-round righthander Durbin Feltman: "As advertised.”
Feltman, a three-year closer at Texas Christian whom Boston plucked with the 100th pick this year, was described by scouts as a reliever with a chance to fly to the big leagues on the basis of his ability to command two explosive offerings. He pitches at 95-99 mph with a wipeout slider he used to record 43 strikeouts in 24.1 innings as a TCU junior.
"It’s pretty electric,” said TCU pitching coach Kirk Saarloos of Feltman's stuff. "He has different ways to beat you: fastball command, being able to throw it where he wants to, elevate his fastball, breaking ball off of it, he definitely separated himself in my mind from any other reliever in the country, just because he was so dominant.”
In the early stages of his pro debut, Feltman exhibited the same dominance. He appeared in four games with short-season Lowell, with hitters going 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts against him, before a promotion to low Class A Greenville. There he struck out 13 while walking one, though he had allowed three runs.
While it’s been years since a Red Sox pitching prospect advanced past Greenville in his pro debut, Feltman stands a good chance of progressing on an atypical development path. That's because of his college track record, his aggressiveness in the strike zone with two plus pitches, and the deception that he creates by spinning his slider off an elevated fastball
Feltman might not need much time before being challenged at the upper levels, but it remains to be seen whether the Red Sox would consider moving him to the big leagues in his pro debut. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has done so in the past. While with the Tigers in 2006, he elevated Andrew Miller to the majors after just three minor league appearances.
"We’ll continue to evaluate his situation, as we do with everybody, and ultimately try to put a guy in a place where he can have success and be challenged,” vice president of player development Ben Crockett said.
"If he continues to pitch very well, I wouldn’t put limitations that a guy has to end at a certain place or progress past a certain level in the year he’s drafted.”
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** Third baseman Danny Diaz required surgery to remove a broken hamate, likely ending his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League. The power-hitting 17-year-old hit .238/.283/.476 with six home runs in 26 games.
** Second baseman/outfielder Jarren Duran required just over a month to set a new short-season Lowell franchise record with nine triples. The plus runner out of Long Beach State hit .347/.390/.537 with 16 extra-base hits through 35 games, showing surprising gap power after rarely collecting extra-base hits in college