The recent successes of players just entering the league have placed unfair expectations on players. Spencer Strider’s league-high K/9 or Mahomes’s all-time season in their respective first years has been set as the bar for young players, and not the exception that they are.
The reality is that not every talented young player will get off to such a hot start. For example, Peyton Manning still holds the rookie record for the most interceptions in a season. However, it is important to not write off these players after one season. This is the case for our next 2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: Jarren Duran.
2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: Jarren Duran
Become an All-Access Member to get access to the Most Accurate Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Tools and more.
If you are already a member, sign in.
It’s crazy how much different the Jarren Duran of 2023 is from the Jarren Duran of 2022. He’s always had the potential and has been incredibly fast, but it’s his vastly improved hitting that has given him an absolutely sky high potential not only for the rest of 2023, but for the next few years.
Jarren Duran had an abysmal 2022. The speedy outfielder struggled to the tune of a .221/.283/.363 triple slash, only good for a 78 OPS+ in 58 games.
These numbers were still somehow an improveent from Durans rookie year. His OPS+ was only 53, albeit it was only in 112 plate appearances.
The lowlight of Duran’s year had to be when he lost a ball in the lights in center field during the middle of a 28-5 beat down after the all star break. Instead of running after the ball, Duran had just stared at the ball and let an inside the park grand slam happen. A week later, he got into it with the Royals fans after a similar defensive miscue. It was clear that both his play and attitude needed to change, and fast.
Jarren Duran is now 6/6 on stolen base attempts this season.
— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) May 11, 2023
Duran's Incredible Improvement
Welcome to the 2023 version of Jarren Duran. Although it has only been 22 games, his stats are absolutely eye-popping. He has improved his triple slash to .372/.420/.603, good for a 1.023 OPS and an OPS+ of 175.
He’s also swiped 6 bags in these 22 games, good for a 162-game pace of 44 steals. If you’ve seen any of my other articles, you know how important I think stolen bases are in Fantasy Baseball (hence my Ronald Acuna preseason prediction, find out what it was here).
How has Duran been able to improve this much in just a year? Let’s take a look at his baseball savant page.
Duran's Eye-Popping Advanced Stats
Duran has been hitting balls hard at an incredible rate. The league average for hard hit percentage is 35.9%, or just about a third of all batted balls being classified as “hard hit.” Duran’s hard-hit percentage? 48.3 percent, way higher than league average.
Duran has also increased his launch angle, almost doubling it (7.6 to 13.6 degrees). This has allowed him to be able to get his hard-hit balls into the air, where they can go for extra bases instead of right at a fielder.
Additionally, Duran has been using the whole field way more in 2023. He is going the other way 39.7 percent of the time, up from 26 percent a year ago. This discourages infielders to shift on him, allowing Duran’s ground balls to get through the infield.
Finally, Duran has been crushing all types of pitches this year. A year ago, Duran hit .259 on fastballs, .239 on breaking balls, and a paltry .109 on offspeed pitches. This year, Duran is hitting .306 on fastballs, , .458 on offspeed, and .358 on breaking balls. This insane improvement on all types of pitches has discouraged pitchers from trying to get him out with a specific pitch, and results in a limited weakness.
If there is one area Duran can improve on, it’s his power numbers. Through 113 MLB games in his career so far, Duran has only hit 7 homers. With his increase in hard-hit balls and launch angle, it’s only a matter of time before Duran’s balls start leaving the yard.
JARREN DURAN TIES IT WITH A 2-RUN SINGLE! pic.twitter.com/vm9J3MFQNA
— Name Redacted Podcast (@NameRedactedPod) May 13, 2023
What will it take to get Duran?
While Duran has been tearing it up this year, his struggles from last year have left a bad taste in the mouths of fantasy managers. This, coupled with his mediocre power numbers will lower the asking price for the now criminally underrated center fielder.
While batting average isn’t regarded as highly as it used to be, it is still very important in many Fantasy Baseball leagues. Duran’s innate ability to get on base, coupled with his blazing speed makes an easy choice for our next 2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: Jarren Duran.