Featured image courtesy of: Star-Telegram
Greenville, SC– Even though Durbin Feltman joined the Boston Red Sox organization less than two months ago, he is perhaps the team’s most well known and talked about prospect. The reliever was taken by the Red Sox with the 100th overall pick in the third round of 2018 MLB Draft. Since that point, he has been heralded as potentially the quickest player out of this draft class to make it to the majors. In fact, there are some pundits who believe he even has a chance to make it to Boston this year.
“It’s cool to read that stuff,” said Feltman on a gloomy day at Fluor Field, the home of the Greenville Drive. “I’m here in low-A in Greenville, though, so that’s what I’m focusing on now. It’s cool to be considered that but, at the end of the day, I got to focus on my next outing and dominate that before anything happens.”
The former TCU closer made his professional baseball debut on June 29th with the short-seasoned Single-A Lowell Spinners. He threw a scoreless inning, striking out two batters along the way. After that, he was tasked with facing nine more hitters in Lowell; Feltman allowed no walks, hits or runs and struck out five. He was promptly promoted to Greenville.
The 21-year-old has been exceptional as a member of the Drive with a 3.60 ERA in just five innings of work. While that number may not catch your attention, Feltman’s FIP (fielding independent pitching) is an insane -0.34. He has struck out 11 of 23 batters (19.80 K/9) and has surrendered just one walk. Obviously, all of this comes under a very small sample, so the data may not mean much at this juncture.
Regardless, it is a lot harder to fake strikeout and control dominance than it is with run prevention. The fact he has struck out two batters an inning (18 SO) during his first cup of tea in pro ball is very encouraging. In other words, it appears he has made the transition from college baseball to minors almost seamlessly and Feltman shares that feeling.
“It’s the same game, that’s kind of how I look at it. I’m still playing, trying to get three outs an inning. It hasn’t been too bad, just getting my body used to pro ball and playing every day. I’m throwing a lot more than in college. I feel like I’m adjusting well. We will see how it is. It is only July.”
Drafted as a junior out of college, Feltman was thrust from part-time pitcher and part-time student to full-time pitcher. He tossed a little less than 25 innings as the Horned Frog’s closer this season, which he could easily eclipse during this half season as a professional. With nine pro innings under his belt, he is already over one third of the way there.
Outside of adjusting his body to this obligatory stepping-stone phase of his baseball career, Feltman is, like most athletes, focused on consistency.
“I’m trying to be more consistent. I feel like the big separator between big leaguers and minor leaguers is just consistency. You can make adjustment quicker on the mound if you’re a big-leaguer than you can if you’re a minor leaguer. That’s how you get there. So, consistency, I’d say, is a really big thing for me.”
It is evident he has done a pretty good job at maintaining this goal of his so far. After all, baseball is a game of adjustments and Feltman knows that.
What about the Red Sox organization, though? Are they trying to work with him on a certain approach or mechanics?
“Not really. They’re kind of hands off. (They) let me roll,” Feltman said with a hearty chuckle. If you have not picked up this by now, yeah, the Texas native is rolling all right.
The right-handed reliever features a three-pitch mix: an explosive fastball (94-96 mph, 99 mph top), a swing-and-miss slider and an occasional curveball. SoxProspects has him throwing a changeup as well, but when asked about it he said he possesses a curve, not a changeup.
“I’ve just been focused on having two dominant pitches, so I’m trying to perfect those two. I’m working on the curveball but it’s one of the pitches where I got to throw it more to see what it does. I’m not trying to add anything. I’m just trying to perfect those two pitches and have a third pitch in my back pocket to flip in there every now and again.”
He has a lethal fastball/slider combination and that cannot be challenged. It sounds like he is interested in potentially working on a second breaking pitch but seems comfortable with his dominant offerings.
Durbin Feltman is one of the most exciting young arms in the Boston Red Sox organization with a chance to make an impact at the big-league level this season. He has lived up to the billing at the lower levels of the minors, showcasing big-time strikeout stuff and pristine command. It is safe to say his progression will be closely monitored as the 2018 season persists.