Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2021: Ezequiel Duran (2B, #15)
After problems kept him from the 2015 IFA class, Ezequiel Duran came to the Yankees in 2017 and quickly started professional ball. He has solid 20-20 potential on the offensive side of the ball and he plays a solid defense at second base. While some scouts would like to see him try out shortstop, there is much greater need to unlock his offensive potential and by not messing with his position, it would do best for his MLB aspirations.
EZEQUIEL DURAN, 2B (#15):
Age/Date of Birth: 21 Years Old (05/22/1999)
Most Recent Team(s) (Level and Year): Staten Island Yankees (Class A: Short Season, 2019)
Most Recent Yearly Statistics (2019): .256/.329/.496 (.824 OPS), 13 HR, 37 RBIs, 25 Walks, 77 Strikeouts (66 Games, 246 At-Bats)
Height/Weight: 5’11”/185 Pounds
Acquired: Signed by the New York Yankees during the 2017 International Free Agent period
MLB ETA: 2023
EZEQUIEL DURAN SCOUTING GRADES (20-80 SCALE):
What to Know:
Not coming out of Rio, but the Dominican Republic in 2015, Ezequiel Duran ran into problems with his registration to be a part of the international free agent (IFA) class. This pushed his signing back until 2017, where the New York Yankees came in and took a player with great talent and tools for just a $10,000 bonus to get the 18 year old infielder.
It was a Big Thing for Duran to get signed, and he would make his professional debut later that same year- which is not common for IFA’s- which the DSL Yankees of the Dominican Summer League (Foreign Rookie), playing in 15 games around a .393/.415/.754 triple-slash while still being under the average age (-0.1 difference) for a player in the league.
A good introductory showing in the Dominican helped Duran earn a promotion in 2018 to the Pulaski Yankees (Appalachian League, Rookie), although he proved to be anything but Notorious as he hit to a .201/.251/.311 triple-slash over his 53 game season. It was the 3rd lowest OPS (.562) in the league.
He would collect himself going into 2019, however, with another promotion up (or down past the Statue of Liberty) to the Staten Island Yankees (New York-Penn, Class A: Short Season). Duran would lead the league with 13 Home Runs while hitting to a solid triple-slash of .256/.329/.496.
As a non-roster invitee (NRI) to Spring Training in 2020, Duran impressed some scouts with his play, and while the 2020 season was cancelled, Duran also was there during the Yankees Dominican instructional league during the Fall. He was also an NRI for Spring Training 2021 but did not appear in any games. (I’ve heard that during batting drills they would call each of his doubles a Duran Duran.)
As a hitter, Duran has the potential to say Thank You to 20 home runs a year due to some of the highest exit velocities in the Yankees farm system and all-field power. He does often fall victim to breaking balls and pitches out of the zone, but he was showing improvements in 2019 and has continued to do so in different camps since. Duran also has 20 stolen base potential showing above-average speed and good baserunning IQ.
As a fielder, Duran could be called Seven and the Ragged Tiger because his defense is very solid and commanding of his zone. While his arm definitely plays up at second base, there is thought to try him at shortstop in the 2021 season. His quick hands at the plate help him turn the double play in the field as well.
What Will the Future Hold?
The Yankees are likely to start Duran with the Hudson Valley Renegades (Class High-A) for the 2021 season. After a very successful 2019 season and solid showings across instructional camps, it would make sense to test the second baseman/middle infielder. Especially as his defense looks to be solid, getting Duran to continue to see higher level pitching to learn how to adapt is important in the early going from a year away from professional games.
With an MLB ETA of 2023, a move to High-A would also keep Duran on that trajectory if he can keep up with his bat. Personally, I’m not sold on messing with his play by trying him out at shortstop and would prefer to keep him at second base where his defense plays best. Overall, I think Duran has a shot at becoming a decent-to-solid MLB-type player, though I’d wager on a journeyman. Another way to put it is that I don’t think he’ll necessarily be Pop Trash, but he’s unlikely to run Medazzaland as well.
(Did you catch my references?)