Former Red Sox relief prospect Durbin Feltman has signed a minor-league contract with the Oakland Athletics, per the club’s MLB.com transactions log.
Feltman made his organizational debut for the A’s on Tuesday after being assigned to the Double-A Midland RockHounds. The right-hander allowed one run on one hit, two walks, and two walks in the seventh inning of of a 15-14 walk-off win over the Corpus Christi Hooks.
Feltman became a free agent earlier this month after somewhat surprisingly being released from the Red Sox’ Triple-A roster. The 26-year-old opened the season in Worcester’s bullpen but was the victim of a roster crunch. More specifically, two players (Taylor Broadway outfielder Wilyer Abreu) were set to be activated from the injured list and Kutter Crawford had just been optioned, so the WooSox needed to create an opening and did so by parting ways with Feltman.
“It’s the crappy part of the business of the game, especially early in the season,” WooSox manager Chad Tracy told MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison-O’Day on April 11. “But you come out of spring and the big-league club’s still trying to get healthy and you see on the horizon a lot of guys that are going to get healthy quick.
“I know he went through some tough times last year,” Tracy said of Feltman. “I told him today he kept his head up. He always was here, always working, always trying to get better. We love him, we wish him well and hope he lands on his feet. I think he will.”
It turns out that Tracy was right, but it is still disappointing to see Feltman’s tenure with the Red Sox organization come to an official end. After dominating in his final season at TCU, Feltman was selected by Boston with the 100th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft. He signed with the club for $559,600 and entered the professional ranks with plenty of hype surrounding him.
At the time he was drafted, some believed that Feltman could be fast-tracked to the major-leagues and contribute out of the Red Sox bullpen within months of going pro. It did not pan out that way, though, as the righty struggled to find success on a consistent basis and was never able to make it past the Triple-A level.
After being named the Red Sox’ Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2021, Feltman spent the entirety of the 2022 campaign with in Worcester. There, he posted a 7.63 ERA and 5.97 FIP with 56 strikeouts to 24 walks over 40 appearances (48 1/3 innings). As previously mentioned, Feltman returned to the WooSox for the start of the 2023 season but appeared in just two games for the affiliate before getting released.
All things considered, Feltman peaked as the No. 9 prospect in Boston’s farm system in April 2019, according to SoxProspects.com’s rankings history. His decline since then can be attributed to the velocity of his fastball, which topped out at 99 mph in college but sat between just 90-92 mph last year.
Now that he has found a new home, it should be interesting to see if Feltman can resurrect his career and maybe even break in with the rebuilding Athletics at the big-league level. His new pitching coach in Midland is Chris Smith, who, like Feltman, was drafted by the Red Sox.
Regardless of where he goes from here, though, Feltman becomes the latest member of Boston’s 2018 draft class to leave the organization in some capacity in recent months. Most notably, fifth-rounder Thaddeus Ward was taken by the Nationals in last December’s Rule 5 Draft. Additionally, fourth-rounder Kole Cottam was granted his release last month so that he could sign with the Frederick Baseball Club of the independent Atlantic League.
(Picture of Durbin Feltman: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)