Name: German Duran
Position: Second Base
DOB: August 3, 1984
Frisco second baseman German Duran has been one of the handful of pleasant surprises in the Rangers' minor league system this season.
Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, Duran moved to the Fort Worth area shortly after being born. The local product attended Texas Christian University as a freshman and hit .330 with five home runs and 27 RBI in 51 games with the Horned Frogs.
Duran transferred to nearby Weatherford College for his sophomore season. The 5-foot-10 infielder went on to break the school's single-season home run mark with 13 round-trippers. Duran's performance in his first two years of college – at both the Division I and Junior College levels – convinced the Rangers to select him in the sixth round of the 2005 draft.
The infielder's professional debut with Short-Season Spokane was unspectacular. Though he was named a Northwest League All-Star, Duran hit just .262 with 17 doubles and four home runs in 252 at-bats.
The Rangers jumped Duran past Single-A Clinton in 2006, electing to send him to High-A Bakersfield for the entire season. Duran was up to the challenge, as he put together a solid season for the Blaze, hitting .284 with 31 doubles, 13 home runs, and 15 stolen bases.
Before the 2007 campaign, Duran was nothing more than an intriguing prospect. But the 22-year-old second baseman has put his name squarely on the prospect map with a phenomenal first half with the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders.
Duran currently ranks third in the Texas League with a .325 batting average and second with 13 home runs. He also has 17 doubles, 41 runs batted in, and five stolen bases in as many attempts.
Just one week after being named a Texas League All-Star, Duran was named as one of the Rangers' two representatives in this year's MLB Futures Game, which will be played at AT&T Park during this year's All-Star Break.
Batting and Power: Duran's raw gap power has turned into home run power with the RoughRiders this season. Despite his recent power surge, it is unlikely that Duran will have a great deal of home run power in the Major Leagues. However, he should have above-average gap power with the ability to deposit the occasional ball over the fence. Aside from improving his power, the 5-foot-10 infielder has also improved his plate discipline. The second baseman has cut down on his strikeout rate while increasing his walk rate in each of his three seasons in professional baseball.
Base Running and Speed: Duran's speed is somewhere between average to slightly above average. He will not be much of a threat to steal bases, but his speed also isn't likely to become a liability.
Defense: After spending most of his time at shortstop in 2005 and 2006, the Rangers have made Duran a full-time second baseman this year. He has handled the move well, but still struggles with the routine play at times. Duran has an average arm with decent range. He will make some fantastic plays, but must get over the habit of booting the routine ones.
Projection: Of all the position players in the Rangers' organization, Duran may be the most difficult to project. His small frame doesn't exactly scream out big league power hitter, but Duran has continued to put up dominant power numbers in the Texas League despite being just 22 years of age. Before the season, it looked as if Duran had a shot to be a solid utility player in the majors. Right now, he has a chance to become an everyday second baseman with an above-average bat.