Jarren Duran's Shocking Transformation Into One of Baseball's Best Players

The 27-year-old center fielder has quietly developed into one of the best players in the majors this season, which no one could have imagined two years ago.
Boston Red Sox v Miami Marlins
Boston Red Sox v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

On July 22, 2022, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Raimel Tapia came up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. Swinging on the first pitch, Tapia lofted a ball to center field and put his head down, disappointed with his inability to come through in a prime RBI spot.

However, there was only one problem, Boston Red Sox center fielder Jarren Duran never saw the ball in the Boston night sky. The ball went behind Duran, who made no effort to chase the ball down as Tapia was able to round the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam.

The Blue Jays would score four touchdowns (and add four extra points) in a 28-5 rout of the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The miscue by Duran and his lack of hustle rubbed many Red Sox fans the wrong way on a night where seemingly nothing went right for them. A month later, Duran found himself at Triple-A Worcester.

Fast forward two years later, and Duran is ranked among the best players in baseball. In Bleacher Report's Top 25 player rankings, the Sox outfielder has climbed to sixth, ahead of MVP players such as Mookie Betts and Bryce Harper.

With his 10th home run on Tuesday night in Miami, Duran has become the first-ever player in American League history to record 100 hits, 10 triples, 10 homers, and 20 stolen bases before the All-Star Break.

Only one other MLB player has ever done that, Jose Reyes of the New York Mets in 2008. Two players in the history of baseball. Not bad for the guy who had his lowlight played on repeat on that July night two years ago.

Following Tuesday night's game against the Marlins, the 27-year-old has 100 hits, 10 triples, 10 home runs, and 21 stolen bases. Duran has also driven in 40 RBI.

In his first two big league seasons, Duran hit .219. In the two seasons since the California native has hit for a .291 average.

He has been sent down from the major league club five times before establishing himself on Boston's roster over the last two seasons. Duran's resilience can't be questioned.

Beyond his exhilarating brand of baseball, Duran has been open about his mental health struggles, which is also winning over Sox fans with that resilience and "f--- 'em" mantra.

After a walk-off hit on June 24, Duran unveiled a shirt bearing that [NSFW] message, and one he had written on his wrist tape. He has also adopted a "still alive" mantra that he also writes on his tape.

Perhaps most impressively, Duran has played in every single one of Boston's 84 games this season and is dead-set on getting to 162. If Duran and Red Sox Nation have anything to say about it, there will be a few October baseball games to follow.

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