Jhoan Duran is Back and His New Cleats are Fire

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins kicked off their 2024 regular season in an awful manner, tripping out of the gates to a horrid 7-13 start. Key players were getting hurt every other night out and it got to a point where manager Rocco Baldelli was at a loss for words.

But then, a special home run sausage made its way into the dugout and some of those key players started returning to the active roster. Carlos Correa, Max Kepler and… flamethrowing closer (kind of) Jhoan Duran.

By now you have become accustomed to Jhoan Duran throwing fire out of the Minnesota Twins bullpen. He is arguably the greatest relief pitcher going right now, and if you haven’t seen him take the mound, his entrance alone is worth the price of admission.

Jhoan Duran Throws Fire, Wears Fire

That said, when he emerged from the bullpen for the first time since being activated off the injured list, he was wearing some new ‘fire’ cleats. Duran throws really hard, in case you didn’t know. The hardest he has ever thrown is 104.5 MPH, a number that is also on these new special cleats.

With high velocity fastballs that have reached 104.5 mph, and a pitch that has its own named dubbed the “splinker,” Duran has worked as Minnesota’s closer since late in the 2022 season.

Entering 2024, Jhoan had already posted 130 dominant innings, in just two years out of the Twins’ bullpen, posting a 2.15 ERA, 190 ERA+, 12 SO/9 and 2.85 FIP. In his five appearances this season, he’s been the same dude (5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.400 WHIP, 8 SO).

YearAgeERAGSVIPRERHRBBSOERA+FIPWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9
2022241.8657867.21514616892102.520.9756.70.82.111.8
2023252.45592762.12517625841743.211.1396.60.93.612.1
2024260.00535.000008NA-0.040.4003.60.00.014.4
Career2.0712138135.0403112411811972.741.0306.50.82.712.1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/9/2024

His entrance music and theme depicts fire as Target Field lights up from darkness, but it has been his cleats where Duran is wearing fire to kick off this season. A rocket arm and appropriately fashioned accessories are nothing short of exceptional.

Minnesota Twins have baseball’s best bullpen

When Derek Falvey creates a bullpen he is often doing it while spending limited resources. Rather than load up on high-priced arms, he finds himself looking for outliers that can work within the Twins infrastructure.

Outside of Addison Reed, there has rarely been a sizable contract offered to a relief arm, and yet this season Minnesota came in with a unit expected to be among the league’s best.

Related: Rocco Baldelli Hates Facing ‘Openers’… but Minnesota Twins Win Again Anyway

Of course that is anchored by Duran and his ability to throw fire, now while wearing fire, but it was highlighted by Brock Stewart and Griffin Jax in his absence. We have seen Cole Sands step up in a massive way, and Caleb Thielbar has returned to the bump with exceptional stuff as well. If the Duran we have come to know is the version that Minnesota gets this season, then the sky is the limit.

Is a New Number Coming on Jhoan Duran’s cleats?

Duran wearing fire on his feet depict his 104.5 mph fastball he pumped across the plate a season ago. On Wednesday night his fastest pitch was to former Twins infielder Jorge Polanco and clocked in at 100.9 mph.

The fastest pitch he has thrown this season came against the Boston Red Sox Dominic Smith at 102.7 mph. It helped to push Minnesota’s win streak to 11 games, and lit up the radar gun.

Related: Mitch Garver Tells Royce Lewis to Only Run 85% So He Can Stay on Field for Minnesota Twins

Acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a trade that sent fan favorite Eduardo Escobar packing, Jhoan Duran worked his way through the Twins system as a starter. Making his debut during the 2022 Major League Baseball season, he has never once pitched in the rotation simply because his stuff has been too dominant in relief.

Of course Target Field will continue to put fire throughout the stadium video boards when Duran enters this season. Of course you can expect Duran to fill up the strike zone with fire off of his right arm. He might not be wearing fire all season long, but you can bet that if the velocity is surpassed, he’ll need to make an adjustment to the wardrobe.

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