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May 9, 2014

The Call-Up

Rougned Odor

by Chris Rodriguez and Craig Goldstein


The Situation: Former no. 1 overall prospect Jurickson Profar is out for several more weeks and Donnie Murphy just landed on the disabled list with a neck strain. Josh Wilson, the Rangers’ Opening Day second baseman, was designated for assignment. The Rangers are looking for a jolt until Profar returns.

Background: The Rangers signed “Roogie” Odor out of Venezuela for $425,000 and he immediately found success in the states, slashing .262/.323/.352 in 258 plate appearances as a 17-year-old in Low-A Spokane. The promising start jumpstarted an accelerated path to the big leagues for Odor, as he landed in Hickory (A-Ball) in 2012 and again held his own. Often in the shadow of other highly touted middle-infield Rangers prospects, Odor finally got his time to shine in 2013. Across two leagues, he hit .303 with a .369 on-base percentage and raised his slugging to .474. In fact, in 144 Double-A plate appearances, Odor slugged an eye-popping .530. After the season, he was rated the no. 1 overall player in the Texas Rangers system and second-best second baseman in the minors according to Baseball Prospectus.

The Scouting: Odor is a hitter, first and foremost. His bat-to-ball skills are well above average and he combines that with impressive bat speed and a plan at the plate. With “elite baseball instincts” Odor projects to be at least above average with the stick, with a chance for plus-plus potential. At a listed 5-foot-11 and 170 lbs., Odor has some surprising pop in his stick and can drive the ball into the gaps with ease. The over-the-fence power isn’t quite there yet, but at physical maturity it could play to league average.

On defense, Odor has the tools to handle shortstop, with an above-average glove and enough arm to make it work, but at times he can be a little wild with his actions and make it harder than it needs to be. Second base seems to be his best position going forward (he’s played there all year in Double-A). The plays will be a little easier there and he can slow the game down, and that is where he’ll be starting in Texas.

Odor plays the game with confidence and exuberance and plenty of #want, which can be a very good thing, but also can turn into a detriment to him and his team. At times, the game can slip away from him and he can be a little careless. His speed is only about league average (which is fast) but that speed plays up due to his sheer desire to succeed. Even in spring training games, the desire was palpable. As long as he shows that type of play in the majors, he will win himself a lot of fans in Texas very soon.

Immediate impact: It might not be fair to ask a 20-year-old to hold down the fort at second base for a couple weeks, but Odor has the makeup to be the right man for the job. I wouldn’t expect much power out of him, but he’s going to battle and make the pitcher work. Look for solid at-bats with good defense. He’ll likely get the majority of playing time until Profar returns, so Rangers fans can get a good look at their second baseman of the future. —Chris Rodriguez

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Related Content:  Texas Rangers,  Prospects,  Scouting

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Raising Aces: Making S... (05/09)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The Call-Up: C.J. Cron (05/07)
Next Column >>
Premium Article The Call-Up: Rafael Mo... (05/13)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Painting the Black: Go... (05/09)

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