For the Texas Rangers, second base is a position that offers a lot of promise moving into 2016.
Last season, Texas Rangers fans were delighted with the emergence of Rougned Odor as the second baseman of the future. Now, all eyes turn to him to build on last season and come into his own as one of the players that represents the future for the Texas Rangers.
Heading into the 2016 season, Rougned Odor is the hands down starter for Texas at second base. In 2015, he hit .261 with a .316 on-base percentage and 16 homeruns. For Odor, 2015 was the tale of two halves as he was sent down to the minors in the early part of the season to get focused on his game. Upon his return, Odor hit .273 with a .520 slugging percentage and hit 12 of his 16 homeruns. During the second half of the season, Odor embodied what Rangers baseball is all about with his scrappiness and never quit attitude. There are no questions that he will be the starter for Texas come Opening Day. The only question that remains is how good of a 2016 season will Odor actually have.
Call to the Pen
With Odor considered to clear cut starter, questions turn to who will be the backup second baseman come start of the season. Right now Hanser Alberto is listed as second on the depth chart for Texas ahead of former number one prospect Jurickson Profar. Alberto got some playing time at second for Texas last season and put up a .222 average at the plate. Currently, he makes the most sense as the number two because of Profar’s injury issues and lack of big league playing time over the past couple of years. Spring training will determine whether or not Profar has what it takes to make it back with the major league club and surpass Alberto on the depth chart. Many think that Profar is still the better player of the two and hopefully taking a season off to get back from injury will be a positive as his career progresses.
In the System:
Currently, the Rangers don’t have many second base specific prospects in the minors. Veteran Pedro Ciriaco, who Texas signed this past offseason, would probably be next in line for a call-up if the need arose. His defensive ability is stellar and he also provides some flexibility for the Rangers because of his experience at second, shortstop and third base. Ciriaco’s bat is the low point of his game which is why he finds himself in the minors currently. Most likely, Ciriaco would only find his way into second base if an injury occurred to one of the guys currently there and the Texas Rangers needed another option to keep things fresh.
As prospects go, the top prospect for Texas who could find himself playing second base falls to either Travis Demeritte or Josh Morgan. However both these players in most scouts’ opinions are at least 2 years away from the big leagues so they don’t really warrant any discussion.
If Texas decided to go this route, it would most likely be in the distant future after some catastrophic injury swarm had hit the Rangers and they had lost two or more of their current second baseman. The top second base free agent currently is Dan Uggla who spent 2015 with the Nationals where he played in 67 games. Uggla however is a aging veteran who has been on the decline for the past few seasons and would not be a very reliable option if Texas needed another man for second base. The Texas Rangers best bet would be to transition another player over to the position in order to add flexibility to the players on the bench.
Position Grade: A-
Come 2016, the Texas Rangers are in good shape when evaluating second base. Odor seems to be one of the top second baseman in the league headed into the new season and is only 21 years old. Right now the position grade is an A- but that’s sheerly because Odor has yet to reach his full potential.
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