Texas Rangers: Rougned Odor and the Art of Patience
The Texas Rangers were patient with Rougned Odor this season, and they are now reaping the rewards. Hopefully Odor’s turnaround can maintain.
Patience is a virtue. At least, that’s what they say. But sometimes you can wait too long, and opportunity slips away. The Texas Rangers and Rougned Odor is a perfect example.
Odor made his debut in 2014, showing some promise by putting up a .259/.297/.402 slash at only 20 years old. But more than the numbers, Rangers fans loved his attitude. He acted like he belonged. He brought an edge to a Rangers team that needed it. I loved the look in his eye when a game was close. There was an intensity, a fire that showed he had no fear of the moment.
The next season, Odor improved. His slash improved to .261/.316/.465. He also hit sixteen home runs. His fielding was a little shaky, but he was young. There was room to improve, but also so much promise.
Except Odor struggled in 2017. And by struggled, I mean he became a frustrating strikeout machine. I can’t tell you how many times I screamed at my TV for Odor to lay off the high fastballs or the breaking balls in the dirt. Just pick one to not hack at is all I asked. But Odor just kept swinging.
Odor finished 2017 with a .204/.252/.397 slash, all the worst of his career. He had more strikeouts than hits and walks combined. I thought it was just a blip, a player struggling one year, possibly burdened with the weight of a new contract. He’d reset over the offseason and come back even better in 2018.
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But then April rolled around and turned into May, and Odor still wasn’t hitting. Suddenly the contract that seemed like such a bargain had turned into an albatross. Still, the Rangers stayed patient. Odor still struggled through June. What looked like a down year was starting to look like a trend. Perhaps 2016 wasn’t a breakthrough year; maybe it was Odor’s peak.
This is where knowing when to be patient and when to move on matters. Knowing when to wait a little longer and when to cut your losses is a skill. The Rangers waited on Odor, mostly because, well, what else could they do? They’d get nothing of value in return for a player on a big contract that had scuffled for a year and a half. So they waited, and they hoped.
Their patience was rewarded.
Odor went into the All-Star break batting .239 with six homers. Since the break, he’s hit .333 with eleven home runs. He has more walks in July and August than in the previous three months combined. Odor has been one of the best hitters in the American League in the second half.
Odor rewarded the Rangers’ patience with a patience of his own–his re-branded approach at the plate. The reason for his turnaround was a new-found discipline at the plate. Yes, he’ll still occasionally chase those high fastballs, but not like he used to. Now he waits for his pitch, and more often than not, he gets it.
Sometimes you have to give players time. It’s rare when everything just clicks and they have a great career from start to finish. There will be ups and downs with a few bad seasons here and there. But if they’re willing to learn and work on their craft, they’ll get better. It just takes time. Sometimes the waiting is the hard part. But again, that’s why they say patience is a virtue. The Texas Rangers’ patience with Rougned Odor seems to be paying off.