Texas Rangers fans are witnessing an abysmal offensive season from Rougned Odor. He’s in a hole that will be incredibly difficult to come out of.
The Texas Rangers have the worst offensive player in Major League Baseball. Say want you want about Rougned Odor, but statistics don’t lie, and his are downright dreadful. Odor has the lowest batting average (.165) and lowest OBP (.232) among qualified hitters. His .313 SLG is 4th worst and his .546 OPS is 2nd worst in MLB.
To put things into perspective, the 25-year-old second baseman is hitting three points below Chris Davis’ record low batting average from a season ago. Davis of course accumulated his .168 BA over a full season, so there’s plenty of time for Odor to distance himself from it. However, there are very few signs that he will.
In fact, there’s a good chance Odor’s season gets cut short, or is at least disrupted, by some time in the minor leagues. He could be demoted as early as Willie Calhoun‘s return from the injured list in the next week or two.
There’s the occasional indication that Odor is working out of his slump. He’ll hit a few balls hard one game but then take a step back the next game. “Slump” is a generous term at this point, as the Texas Rangers are more than two months into the regular season and Odor has 182 at-bats to his name.
Other established big leaguers are performing well below their standards, such as Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals and Jose Ramirez of the Indians, but no one is experiencing anything close to the lows of Odor.
What exactly is contributing to his extreme troubles?
First and foremost, he’s hitting .136 against the fastball this year. Let me repeat — ROUGNED ODOR IS HITTING .136 AGAINST THE FASTBALL THIS YEAR. That’s going to make things difficult. He also has a .158 BABIP and wRC+ of 39 (league average is 100) vs. the fastball.
Remember that impressive 2016 season in which Odor cranked 33 home runs and posted a .271 batting average, ultimately earning himself a 6-year, $49.5 million contract? That year, he hit .295 against the fastball with a wRC+ of 173.
He used to destroy the four-seamer, to the point where opposing pitchers threw it to him less than half the time. Given his struggles against it this season, Odor is seeing the fastball more in than ever, specifically 52.3% of the time.
It doesn’t get much better when other pitch types are traveling towards him. He’s hitting .167 vs. sliders this year, .125 vs. curveballs and .136 vs. changeups. His only saving grace is the sinker, in which he is hitting .313 against.
If you’ve caught the majority of Rougned Odor at-bats lately, you’ve probably noticed a routine combination of high-and-outside fastballs and low-and-in breaking balls. He is an easy out for pitchers, giving the Texas Rangers a serious hole towards the bottom of the lineup.
Comments have been made in the past about him swinging too heavy of a bat. He wraps his pinkie around the knob of the bat rather than using the knob as support, which logically makes for a longer swing. He also has a rather excessive leg kick, just about parallel with his waist.
Chris Woodward, Luis Ortiz and the other Rangers’ hitting minds surely have a plan for getting Odor turned around. You would think a toned down leg kick would be part of it. Hitting is all about timing, and although leg kicks are becoming more and more common, they can be tricky.
Jose Bautista had a big stride, as does Josh Donaldson. Those two have had much success with it, but many others have not. Just look at some of the best hitters in the game and you’ll notice strides that are nice and simple.
Mike Trout has a little kick, but it’s very quick. His quick stride and quick hands are part of what makes him the most dominant hitter in baseball. Christian Yelich‘s stride is slower, though about as moderate as Trout’s. J.D. Martinez and Cody Bellinger hardly even lift their foot off the ground.
Every hitter has their way; however, it appears Rougned Odor’s way is not working. It has worked off and on over the last two seasons, but not at all thus far in 2019. If he doesn’t find his way soon — perhaps over the next 10 days — he may be off to the minors amid his 6th major league season.