Durbin Feltman is quickly becoming one of the most intriguing prospects in the Boston Red Sox farm system, and you might be hearing a lot more from him later in the year.
The Red Sox bullpen took a hit this offseason when Joe Kelly left to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers in free agency and the team decided not to bring back free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel. Matt Barnes is one option to be the next closer, but he hasn't proven to be the undisputed candidate in spring training so far. As a result, there's still no clear-cut candidate for the closer role, so it's possible the dreaded bullpen-by-committee approach could be the strategy to open the 2019 season.
If the bullpen struggles or lacks certain elements throughout the year, it's possible Feltman could get some run at the Major League level to showcase his talents.
"I saw him Monday. The stuff was there. You can see it," Cora told reporters, per WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. "Everybody knows about him. I still remember people thought he was going to be the savior last year when he got drafted. It’s not that easy. It’s not that easy. We went through it in ’05 [with Craig Hansen] and he was kind of like the guy and it didn’t turn out to be that.
"You’ve got to be very careful. This is still the big leagues. I don’t know if I have told you guys, my brother, he puts it in a very particular way. It’s A-ball, Double-A, Triple-A, it’s not 4-A, it’s MLB. There’s a difference. There’s a big jump from the A’s to MLB. There’s a period of adjustment."
Feltman was selected by the Sox with the 100th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. The 21-year-old right-hander has a powerful fastball and an improved breaking ball, as evidenced in Sunday's spring training outing against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Not the sharpest outing for Durbin Feltman, but this curve will play. Finished this batter off with a high fastball. pic.twitter.com/GyFs7NjJfE— Dan O'Mara (@Dan_OMara) March 17, 2019
Feltman had a 1.93 ERA, four saves, 36 strikeouts and five walks over 23 1/3 innings for three different Single-A teams during the 2018 season. He's tallied four strikeouts with three walks in 1 2/3 innings for Boston this spring.
There's no question Feltman has impressive talent and could be a valuable arm for the Red Sox bullpen sooner than later. Feltman needs to prove himself in Double-A to begin 2019, and if he shines at that level, a major league callup later in the year wouldn't be out of the question.
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