Boston Red Sox: Why 2 recent call-ups could prove to be important

BOSTON, MA - MAY 11: Jarren Duran #24 of the Worcester Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 11: Jarren Duran #24 of the Worcester Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

Fresh off an exciting All-Star break in which five Boston Red Sox players were featured, the Sox are set to kick off the second half of their season against the New York Yankees. And if the All-Star break wasn’t enough to generate some excitement about the Sox in Boston, maybe two prospects getting the call up to the the show will.

While it isn’t official yet, it appears Jarren Duran and Tanner Houck are set to get called up to the major league roster before their upcoming series against the Yankees. Both players have shown that they are deserving of the call, and this could have some major repurcussions for the rest of the roster.

Let’s start with Houck since we have already seen him in action for the Sox this season. After a pretty solid start in Boston, Houck got sent back to Worcester when Eduardo Rodriguez came off the injured-list, and then promptly sturggled with injuries of his own. Between his time in Worcester and Boston, Houck has only pitched in nine games so far this season.

With Boston’s rotation currently in good health after the All-Star break, Houck seems set for a long-relief role out of the bullpen. With a guy like Matt Andriese struggling, and Austin Brice not being able to put things together at the major league level, it makes sense as to why Houck is getting the call. Houck has already proven to be a competent pitcher with the Sox, and is a pretty good insurance policy to have in the event someone in the rotation ends up getting injured.

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On the lineup card, Duran could come in and immediately crack the lineup card with Marwin Gonzalez set to hit the injured list. Assuming Kike Hernandez switches over to second base for the time being, Duran could slot right into the outfield as soon as tonight.

Duran is easily the Sox most majors-ready prospect right now, and he’s been mashing for most of the season in Worcester. He’s hitting .270 along with 15 home runs, and could make an immediate impact in a lineup that has struggled to find depth at times this season. Duran has spent most of his time in center field so far this season, and seems like a logical replacement for Hernandez at this point.

Why are these moves so important for the Boston Red Sox?

Obviously calling up two of your top prospects is important in it’s own right, but the timing of this move is particularly interesting too. Obviously Gonzalez’s impending stint on the injured list played a part in it, but this really feels like an audition for both players as the trade deadline inches closer.

The Boston Red Sox are presumably going to be buyers heading into the deadline, but what if they didn’t have to buy anything? With just over two weeks until the deadline, it feels like Duran and Houck have been given a two week timeframe to show Boston’s front office whether they can contribute on a team with World Series aspirations.

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Think about it; it has always felt like the Sox would need another starting pitcher sooner or later, and adding Houck to the squad basically fills that role. Sure Chris Sale will be making his return to action at some point this summer too, but if Houck can prove he belongs now, there won’t be any need for Boston to acquire another starting pitcher down the line.

And with Duran, Boston could potentially kill two birds with one stone. Boston has needed an extra layer of outfield depth for some time, and now they have got it. If Duran can come in and cement a role in the outfield, it would allow Hernandez to return to his utility role, which could fill another area of need. If Hernandez is focused on the infield along with Gonzalez and Christian Arroyo, the Sox may not need to pick another bat to help fill out the lineup.

This move should viewed as an audition that could end up leading to a full part if things go well. Duran and Houck would both fill areas of need for Boston, and if they can come in and perform well over these next couple of weeks, it would reduce Boston’s need to pick up extra pieces at the trade deadline. Anytime you can hold on to extra prospects when acting as a buyer, that should be considered a win.

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Now just because these two are called up doesn’t mean the Sox will be completely inactive on the trade market. There’s a chance either of them could flop, forcing the Sox to buy someone else. And either way, the bullpen is probably going to need an extra arm or two for the long-haul, so it would probably be wise to continue exploring options and be prepared for any possible situation.

The promotions of Duran and Houck show that the Red Sox are taking matters into their own hands. Promoting two of their top prospects shows they are intent on being proactive on finding solutions to this team’s flaws, which is all part of building a World Series contender. Duran and Houck’s promotions are exciting in their own right, but these are two moves that could end up playing a big role in determining how far the Boston Red Sox go this season.