Player development in baseball is very interesting because it varies so much from player to player. There’s the John Olerud’s of the world who legit didn’t play in the minors before playing in the big leagues and then there’s guys who have taken over a decade in the minors to get to the bigs (Marcus Walden took nearly that long).
Anyways, the Red Sox have one guy who is flying through their system right now. Normally, they’re pretty conservative when it comes to promoting guys the year they were drafted, but that has not been the case for third round pick Durbin Feltman.
Feltman was promoted to the high-A Salem Red Sox this week. Honestly, I can’t even remember when the last time the Red Sox had a player this high up in the minors the year they were drafted. It was probably (gasps) Craig Hansen, another highly-touted relief prospect.
It’s not fair to label anyone a Hansen, but if you look at him, it’s easy to see what the Red Sox like. In general, top college closers tend to be very high floor players--as close of a sure bet as their is to make it to the big leagues.
Feltman was picked out of Texas Christian University where he was closing games; it’s like how Hansen was the St. John’s Pirates closer. For his age, Feltman is certainly a well-developed ballplayer. In his first 11 career pro outings split between the Lowell Spinners and Greenville Drive, he posted a 1.64 ERA and struck out 21 batters over 11 innings. In that same span, he only walked one batter. In the minors, a great indicator of success--in addition to the eye test--is a K/BB ratio. Not just a good one, but an insane one like this.
If we were taking betts, it would not be likely that Feltman plays in the big leagues this season. But let’s be honest, his progress thus far is impressive and he may not be far off at this point.