Ezequiel Duran made his center field debut with Triple-A Round Rock on Friday, and he made sure to remind Texas Rangers fans that he has some pop at the plate.
The Rangers sent Duran down on June 26 in an effort to allow him to get consistent at-bats and to start training in the outfield, a position that he hasn’t played often as a professional. The Rangers had a log-jam at third base with Josh H. Smith, and the Rangers are set at middle infield with Corey Seager at shortstop and Marcus Semien at second base.
On Friday, Duran made his debut in the outfield. So, of course, he went 3-for-3 with a home run against Las Vegas.
Duran joined the Rangers on June 4 when Smith suffered a shoulder injury. With the Rangers, Duran started mostly at third base, finishing with a .258 batting average, a .281 on-base percentage and a .716 on-base plus slugging percentage. He had two home runs and eight RBI, along with two stolen bases.
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As a minor leaguer this season — which combines his work with Round Rock and Double-A Frisco — Duran is hitting .315/.369/.953 with nine home runs, 34 RBI and nine stolen bases.
Duran is the No. 4 prospect in the Rangers’ system, per MLB.com. The only infielder ahead of him in the rankings is No. 3 Josh Jung, a third baseman who hasn’t played this season due to injury. Ahead of them are pitchers Jack Leiter, who skipped his last start due to arm fatigue, and pitcher Cole Winn.
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