The electric second baseman just signed a six-year contract extension in the off-season. But is it time to start worrying about his poor production.
Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor is in the midst of an eight game hitting streak. The fourth longest hitting streak currently active. However, all that glitters is not gold. Despite the hitting streak, Odor has been a well below average hitter over the stretch.
Of all players with a current active hitting streak of five games or more, Odor is one of only two with a batting average under .300 during the streak. His .390 slugging percentage is easily the lowest among the 12 players with a streak of eight games or more.
His ten strikeouts over the course of the streak is the second highest, only behind Brian Dozier, who’s hitting streak is currently two games higher than Odor’s at ten.
Over the course of the streak Odor has only had multiple hit games once. In fact, out of his 52 games, he’s only had multiple hits in a game seven times. Two of which came within the first four games of the season.
His current hitting streak encapsulates what has been the problem for the second baseman this year. Inconsistency, mixed with a high strikeout rate and a major dip in slugging. This has led to 0.0 WAR, the second lowest among qualified second baseman.
His 5 percent walk rate has been an improvement over his career average, but it’s still one of the lowest in baseball. He’s chasing pitching out of the zone at the second highest rate of his career and he’s swinging and missing more than ever.
His .147 ISO is on pace to be the second lowest of his career, only ahead of his 2014 rookie season. His 59 wRC+ is easily the lowest of his career and the seventh lowest in all of baseball.
So, what’s wrong?
Baseball is a game of adjustments and Major League pitching staffs are good at adjusting.
Odor has seen a fastball 48 percent of the time, the lowest amount of his career and the 13th lowest percentage in all of baseball. Pitchers are adjusting, Odor is not.
His 3.2 value against the fastball lines up with his career average. Odor has always been one of the games premier fastball hitters. However, how much does that really matter when a majority of the pitches you see are off-speed?
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His -5.1 value against the changeup is the third worst in all of baseball. And he’s seeing them a whopping 15.3 percent of the time. Easily the highest percentage of his career.
Only three players see more curveballs than Odor, and his -1.5 value against the pitch is the 29th lowest.
Pitchers have begun to figure out the second baseman and it is starting to show.
So, is it time to worry?
Rougned Odor is still only 23 years old. He’s the ninth youngest player in the American League despite 2017 being his fourth full season. There is plenty of time and room for improvement.
However, Odor hasn’t shown much improvement over the course of his career.
His strikeout percentage has only increased since his debut while his walk percentage has continued to decrease, aside from the start of this year.
2016 was arguably the best offensive performance of his young career, but his porous defense made him the worst defensive second baseman in baseball, according to most advanced metrics.
Is it time to worry that Rougned Odor is a bad player? No. His numbers are trending upward and will more than likely deviate towards the mean.
However, it may be time to worry that Rougned Odor doesn’t have the superstar development trait most fans were hoping for.
If he continues to not adjust to off-speed pitches this may be the Odor we see for the rest of his career. A guess hitter who punishes fastballs but chases too much junk to be considered an All-Star level player.