Durbin Feltman isn’t shying away from the lofty expectations placed on him since being drafted in the third round by the Boston Red Sox last June.
Instead, he’s embracing them, hopeful that continued dominance in the Red Sox’s farm system will pave the way for a major league call-up in 2019.
“I want to make it to the big leagues as fast as possible,” Feltman said Thursday before making his first Grapefruit League appearance with the Red Sox, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “I wanted to make it last year, and I want to make it this year. I definitely don’t shy away from that. That’s my expectation, to make it as fast as I can.”
Feltman, who turns 22 next month, was a closer at TCU, and it’s not hard to envision him someday handling the ninth inning for Boston. The right-hander features a mid- to high-90s fastball and a wipeout slider. One American League scout even compared him to San Francisco Giants reliever Mark Melancon, who earned three All-Star selections with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But Feltman isn’t putting the cart before the horse despite his own sky-high goals. He’ll likely begin this season in the upper minors, where he vows to continue working hard in the hopes of finding his way to Boston sooner rather than later.
“I just try to block it all out,” Feltman said, per Speier. “My motto for pro ball, and even in college, was, ‘Be where your feet are, be in the present moment, and do the best that you can there.’ ”
Feltman posted a 1.93 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and 13.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 22 relief appearances across three levels (High-A Salem, Single-A Greenville, Low-A Salem) in 2018.
There are questions surrounding the Red Sox’s bullpen, which currently lacks a closer with Craig Kimbrel a free agent, so perhaps Feltman’s expectations — and the expectations of those who’ve heaped praise on the hard-throwing righty — will be met over the next several months.
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