In a country not known for its baseball, Duran became interested in the sport at a young age despite Ecuador's overwhelming passion for soccer. Duran started competing in his hometown, Guayaquil, Ecuador, and as a teenager began playing the United States.
"Baseball is not big over there at all," said Duran of baseball in his native country. "A lot of friends got involved [with baseball] and I started being successful in it. My parents supported me all the time. I came here to compete and I finally got to go to college."
Duran was recruited to come play in America by a coach that had seen him play in Ecuador at age 12. The following year, Duran flew to California to play for the ABD Bulldogs, a competitive travel team program, where one of his teammates was current Princeton shortstop Brandon Martin.
During his time in America from the ages of 13-18, Duran learned how to play the game and morphed into a monster hitter, eventually gaining the opportunity to play at Riverside Community College.
After two seasons at RCC, Duran unsuccessfully tried to walk on at Louisiana State University. His subsequent attempt to apply to California State institutions was a disgruntling process for Duran who just wanted a chance to play at a competitive collegiate level.
"I did not have enough academic units," said Duran about his transition from RCC. "I really needed to do something. Everybody responded to me, but Cal-State L.A. really took the time with me. I filled out the paperwork so I could play and I took the units I needed and I was eligible to play Div. II baseball."
His first of two seasons with the Golden Eagles began with a bang. In the seventeen games of 2011, Duran was hitting .403 with two home runs and 14 RBI. He hit safely in 15 of 17 games and was already developing as one of the best hitters in all of Division II.
But on March 5, 2011 in a conference game against Cal State East Bay, Duran had a season-ending injury that was coupled with a tragedy back home.
"The seventeenth game, I got hurt and had to get ACL surgery," said Duran. "My mom passed away and I really had everything against me. I had one [college] year left, this year, and I said I have to leave everything on the table and just let it all go."
After rebounding from both emotional and physical turmoil, Duran rebounded with an intense focus and drive that can only be called inspirational.
Duran was fourth in all of Division II this spring with a whopping .451 batting average in 48 games, all of which he started. He had 79 hits in just 175 at-bats with a team leading 9HR/44RBI. His on-base percentage finished at a magnificent .533, placing him in the top ten nationally in several major hitting categories.
Fittingly, Duran was named to the All West-Region First Team and was the NCBWA Div. II West Region Player of the year. He also set a school record for batting average in a season.
Despite the recognition and accolades, Duran was happy just to be selected and get an opportunity to play professional baseball. To make things even more interesting, Duran was drafted in the 24th Round to the Rays and Cal-State L.A. teammate Chad Nacapoy was taken by Tampa Bay in the 38th Round. Both were assigned to play in Princeton.
"The beginning was surreal, I wasn't expecting it," said Duran of his draft experience. "I was really excited to get drafted and to be with a teammate when I got drafted. I called him before he knew. I guess his Internet wasn't updated. I'm definitely going to take advantage of this. I'm really going to appreciate all of the work you guys put in on the field and the clubhouse."
After a late start with the Rays because of problems with a Visa, Duran made his long awaited professional debut with Princeton on July 13. In a 13-1 drubbing of the first-place Danville Braves, Duran hit an RBI single in his second professional at-bat.
Duran is a pure hitter and now has his chance on the big stage. And one thing is for sure, he's ready for spotlight.
"I'm recognized as being a hitter," said a confident Duran. "I will definitely compete at the plate."
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