An amazing 80’s band, Ezequiel or Jarren? Why not all three? At the very least, it’ll make my Google searches efficient. And yes, while we (the royal we) generally don’t cover multiple players in this content space, it’s hard to pass up such a nominal title. Not just that, but there’s a somewhat weird poetic juxtaposition here in terms of what Jarren Duran and Ezequiel Duran bring to the table. And while I’m still reveling in the +5 to creative writing by using the word juxtaposition in terms of what each player brings to the table, I’m still humbled by the fact that I’m drawing a blank on a proper Duran Duran pun that doesn’t involve someone being a wolf and also hungry. I mean, let’s be honest, I’m hungry, but not like Michael J. Fox 80’s hungry. 40-year-old jokes make me sad…
So as I alluded to above, in what is referenced in history as “The Great Allusionizing”, or so I’m told, the two Durans have a lot of similarities. Both are generally young with Jarren at 25 and Ezequiel at 23, and have less than 50 games of MLB experience, and not to be mean, but both are kinda “meh” on a general interest scale. That scale totally exists and no, you can’t use it. Where the differences start showing is basically in how they hit the ball, with Jarren being used at the lead-off position when starting for the Red Sox, and Ezequiel having the power stroke (in direct comparison).
Known to have blazing, double-plus speed (WHY NOT TRIPLE-PLUS TO THE EXTREME), as a 2016 prospect, he carried a 3.93 time from home to first base (above average is considered to be 4.20). Overall a terrific athlete, the rest of his tools unfortunately have always been considered pedestrian. Which is strange because why would they be walking down the sidewalk? Regardless, despite having good bat speed, the long stride sometimes causes issues, especially when trying to drive the ball which plays a part in capping his power potential. This is all to say that we have a guy who can steal some with respectable BA and OBP ratios and his minor league numbers kind of bear that out. Bare? I like being bare, especially during the summer season, but bears can also eat you. Unless you distract them with honey. Or salmon. But generally holding a 10ish BB% and a 25ish K% for two seasons in Triple-A can definitely translate to the MLB, but as we’ve seen in 158 PA’s, the wait could be a bit longer than expected. Currently holding a 4.4 BB% and 32.3 K% does not bode well for a player who derives their value from getting on base, but I can say that there has at least been improvement between this year and last. His O-Swing% is lower while his overall contact has risen substantially, and he’s been able to cut down his SwStr% down from 15.9% to 10.9% in 2022. Will he suddenly become the next peak Johnny Damon? No, but I do see improvement on the horizon and with the niche he fills, there are benefits to seeing how he progresses.
On the flip side, we now have Ezequiel, or Zeke if he were a toga-wearing frat boy. Not really built like a power hitter standing at 5’11” and just 185 pounds, this Duran has been able to his explosive and aggressive approach to generate power. While known for a low-average hit tool, he does show patience going deep into counts but was always considered a bit raw otherwise due to having an almost 8-point plan for a swing. Developing a cleaner stance and swing in the Rangers system, Duran rocked the Fall League in his 2022 Double-A season, hitting 34 homeruns with a very respectable .317/.365/.574 triple slash. Granted, that seems like a seal of approval, but I do remain cautious. Ezequiel has tendencies to get pull-happy, and generally, long swings and aggressiveness lead to Jobu syndrome. For those uninitiated, his profile has trouble with the off-speed stuff. And with a current 3.1 BB% and 26.6 K% in 64 plate appearances, we’re seeing that play out a little. Obviously, he still has adjustments to make, which is possible due to his age and the fact that he actually does have the ability to draw out counts, but for now he’s an injury fill-in with some pop.
Both these players, as I admitted, register as “meh” but we can’t deny that when you add them together, you get a great throwback article title. More useful to you, the reader, there are two types of players here and while both haven’t shown that much, they will get some opportunities. Even with a measured projection for both, they do have what we need sometimes, and that’s power and speed, and they both have a bit of potential to do more.
Or in this case, A View to a middling asset that might or might not help you in very subtle unspectacular ways. Yeah, I’m telling you, there is no Duran Duran pun that works here…
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him on Twitter @jaywrong.