Daniel Duran: Rays 24th Rounder May Have Had Best 2012 of Anyone

By Robbie Knopf

It’s not always easy to evaluate Division II picks in the MLB Draft. The competition level just isn’t the same. But some players stand out. Daniel Duran was one of those players.

Duran is a 6’1″, 185 third baseman originally from Ecuador, is a senior outfielder who plays for Division II Cal State Los Angeles- no, he doesn’t play for Cal State Los Angeles, he is Cal State Los Angeles. The CSULA Golden Eagles went 26-22. That was nearly all Daniel Duran. Listen to these stats, and no, there are no typos in the following numbers: Duran posted a .451/.533/.737 line with 23 doubles, 9 homers, and 44 RBI in 48 games. And this isn’t a case of a team that hit ridiculously. The Golden Eagles posted a .308/.375/.456 line as a team, great but no where the stratosphere of Duran’s numbers. The Golden Eagles as a whole drew 11 intentional walks. 9 of them were issued to Duran. Wow. Adding to the story is that Duran was actually a pitcher in high school before getting converted to third base in junior college (Riverside City College).

How about Duran’s tools? Duran’s power really isn’t that impressive, considering he couldn’t even slam 10 homers in Division II. His plate discipline also isn’t so great either. He did walk 33 times in 2012 compared to just 13 strikeouts, but nearly all of those were a result of him being pitched around. But he has a quick bat that’s allergic to whiffing and hits quite a few line drives as well. Defensively, Duran has a great arm but is completely erratic in his defensive actions. He is extremely slow and struggles to make the necessary plays. He may very well have to move to a corner outfield spot or first base as a pro and he may not have the power to profile there. But his hitting ability is worth the risk at this point in the draft. Duran’s upside is a corner player who hits for a high average. In the 24th round, that’s definitely a worthwhile gamble, especially considering Duran is a senior sign, and maybe Duran can give the Rays some value moving forward.