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Prospect Profile: German Duran

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The Rangers called up German Duran a couple of days ago, so this seems like a good time to profile him.

The Rangers drafted Duran in the sixth round in 2005, out of Weatherford Junior College in Texas. His pro debut in the Northwest League resulted in a .262/.313/.393 line, with 18 walks and 56 strikeouts in 252 at-bats. Not overly impressive, but the Rangers seemed to like him. I did not put him in the 2006 book but would have given him a Grade C if I had. He was a 5-10, 185 pound middle infielder with some offensive potential but mediocre numbers in his debut.

Duran had a good spring in '06 and found himself assigned to Bakersfield  in the California League. He had a fine season, hitting.283/.331/.446 with 31 doubles, 13 homers, and 15 steals, with 35 walks and 89 strikeouts in 457 at-bats, a mild but noticeable improvement in his plate discipline numbers. I noticed this and rated him as a sleeper in the 2007 book, giving him a Grade C+ and writing that he could contribute sooner than people expected if he continued to develop his offense. The main question was where he would fit defensively. He showed a good arm but perhaps not the range for shortstop, and it appeared that the Rangers were going to groom him as a 2B/3B type utility guy.

Indeed, 2007 turned out to be a breakthrough season for him. He hit .300/.352/.525 with 32 doubles and 22 homers, 34 walks, 77 strikeouts in 480 at-bats. He cut his strikeouts while boosting his overall production, and at a higher level of competition. I gave him a Grade B in the book this year. Duran was hitting .250/.311/.400 in 10 games for Triple-A Oklahoma before his promotion to Texas.

His outlook hasn't changed: he projects as a solid hitter, a .260-.280 guy at the major league level. He won't draw a ton of walks, which will keep his OBP at mediocre/adequate levels. But he'll provide more pop than the average utility infielder: If someone gave him 500 at-bats he could hit 30 doubles and 15 homers. His versatility is also a plus. Duran isn't a future star, but he should have a long career as a really good bench guy who could be better than some players with regular jobs.