Signed for just $10,000 in 2017’s J2 free agent signing period, Duran had such an impressive DSL debut that the Yankees have brought him stateside for extended spring training. The 18-year-old second baseman has impressed me in my April backfield looks, proving to be one of the top all-around hitters in Florida extended.
At 5’11 and a stocky 185 pounds, he’s already quite physical with a well-built lower half. Duran hits from an open stance with good rhythm and bat speed, able to recognize pitches early and use both fields in games. He has flashed enticing offensive tools with the ingredients of above-average hit and power potential: Duran takes mature at-bats and shows a polished feel to hit while also being able to put balls out with strong carry and line off the barrel.
As much upside as he shows at the plate, there’s pressure on the bat as Duran doesn’t project to provide significant value defensively or on the bases. He isn’t particularly agile, and his thick lower half impedes his running ability and lateral range at the keystone. The arm is 45-grade, and he’s likely only able to play second base moving up the ladder. Still, Duran’s youth and advanced bat make him a player we could be talking about once Short-Season ball gets underway. While there is always risk with teenage prospects—let alone teenagers who have yet to play a game above the complex level—the ceiling looks like an offensive-minded infielder with enough glove at second base to get his bat in the lineup.