5 Reasons Why Rougned Odor is the Future of the Texas Rangers
By Kenneth Nash
Rougned Odor had the best season of his career in 2015 and everything is looking up for the young second baseman
Rougned Odor had a second half performance for the Texas Rangers that was the best of his young career. In 2015 he hit .261/.316/.465 with 16 HR and 61 RBI. Straightforward, these numbers seem fairly average. A .261 batting average is the mark of a decent hitter that probably is a adequate 2 hole hitter, or a guy who bats 6th or 7th in the order. Most people would hardly look at the stat line and say we’re looking at one of the top players on a team’s roster. But Rougned Odor is a breed all his own.
When looking at Odor’s stat sheet, one needs to compare the stats put up in April and May against those in June-August. After a slow start to the 2015 season, Texas sent Odor down to AAA Round Rock on May 11. He was hitting .142 and had a .210 OBP. The demotion was designed to give Rougned time to get his head straight and recommit himself to the game. Odor was called up by the Rangers in mid-June and looked like a different ballplayer hitting .340 from June-August. Rougned is the future of the Rangers organization and here’s 5 reasons why.
For somebody to be the true future of an organization, they need to be relatively young. The player needs to be a pretty good ballplayer before he ever enters his prime. Enter Rougned Odor. Odor is all of 21 years old and he’ll turn 22 in February. He is still probably 3 or 4 years away from entering his prime playing years and he’s already a consistent .260 hitter with decent power. Along with his consistency, in 2015 he showed flashes of greatness that projects a possible future .300 hitter.
Believe it or not, the Texas Rangers have a distinct attitude about them. They’re a scrappy ball club with an “It’s us against the world” attitude. According to ESPN’s “expert” 2015 divisional predictions, the Seattle Mariners or the LA Angels were going to win the AL West and the other team would make a wild card. The Rangers were projected to finish 4th or 5th by most. However, as the tale would tell, Texas finished 2015 capturing another AL West title with Rougned Odor playing a large role. Odor fits this model of exceeding expectations. He wasn’t a highly touted foreign player. He’s 5’11”, 190 pounds, with no exceptional power or speed to speak of. But Rougned Odor plays with heart, and after being called up in June, we saw a player who went 100 mph all the time.
Rougned Odor plays a position where he’s not likely to lose his starting spot, but there will also be a lot of competitors pushing him in his play. Second base is also a position that doesn’t have a ton of superstars across the league. You’ve still got big names like Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Jose Altuve and former Ranger Ian Kinsler and there’s still tons of talent at the position. But when you look at the Top 10 second basemen in the MLB according to ESPN.com, only 3 of those players are under the age of 30 and only Altuve is young enough to be considered a couple of years away from his prime. Tying back into age, by the time Odor enters his prime, most of the top second basement in the league will be approaching 35, 36, or 37 years old.
The key to having a player be a franchise’s future is making sure he’s under contract for a number of years. Currently, Rougned fits that build. As of 2016, he’s Pre-Arbitration eligible and won’t hit arbitration until 2018. Besides that, he won’t be a free agent until 2021 meaning that he likely will be a Ranger for at least the next 5 years. Texas is only paying Odor $500,000 a year which allows the team to find other pieces to build with until he hits his prime. The key will be extending Rougned prior to free agency because when that time comes, teams will pay for his services.
The final reason to why Rougned Odor is the future face of the Texas Rangers’ franchise is the Rangers themselves. Right now, this ball club is missing that one true superstar, fan favorite player. Prior to the ugly breakup in 2013, Josh Hamilton had been that player. Since then, a number of players such as Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar were destined for that role but came up short. Odor can be that guy and many predict that he will. He has a certain confidence about him that some of the other players lacked.
Rougned was obviously a big part of the Texas Rangers 2015 campaign and will continue to play a large role in their success for the foreseeable future.
By the 2018 season, Rougned Odor will be an All-Star and will be in the discussion for AL MVP.
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