Rougned Odor, the Slugging Second Baseman for the Texas Rangers
Rougned Odor plays hard, exudes a lot of energy
Rougned Odor is one powerful package of a ball player, and packed into a small frame. He's got explosive energy, plays as hard as a human body can, and likely pisses fire and vinegar. He's one of those exciting sorts of athletes who is going all out all the time. We fans here in Texas love him for his aggressive style of play, and know that should he keep it up, he'll start getting recognized for it all, all over the nation.
I like to buy the Lindy's Sports Manual for baseball every year. It is a publication following every season which is put together by scouts, and it attempts to predict the performances of both players and teams for the upcoming season. The one for the then upcoming 2015 season raved about Odor. By the time the 2015 season was done though, Rougned had outdone the Lindy's people's predictions.
I don't do the fantasy sports things myself. I don't have time for it. The people at Lindy's Sports are predicting big things for Rougned Odor again this year though. They realize their predictions are conservative - as Odor produced more last year than they predicted, they conservatively predict he may do the same again this year.
Rougned Odor demonstrating his quick, compact swing
Rougned Odor and his brother, Rougned Jose Odor
Odor became a Texas Ranger in the lost season of 2014. The Rangers had traded Ian Kinsler to Detroit for Prince Fielder. Jurickson Profar, the most sure thing prospect in baseball at the time, was set to take Kinsler's spot at second base. It didn't happen that way. Young Profar seriously damaged his right shoulder. He couldn't make any throw from anywhere.
So the Rangers were scrambling for a legit Big League double play partner for Elvis Andrus to have at second base. Finally, a youngster was given a shot, he was just 19 years old, and from Venezuela, that was Rougned Odor.
But while we're on the subject of men named Rougned Odor, we should tackle one particular problem. There are two Rougned Odors around. The Rangers second baseman named Rougned Odor says he was introduced to baseball by his grandfather who took him to see one of his uncles play down in Venezuela. The uncle's name was Rouglas Odor, and he'd played minor league ball for a couple Big League organizations, and now he's a minor league hitting instructor. Then, there is the brother of Rougned Odor, and his name is also Rougned Odor. Seriously. Rougned Jose Odor is also a part of the Texas Rangers organization, but he is not currently on the Major League roster.
A very young ball-playing Rougned Odor
Rougned Odor was signed young, and progressed quickly in the minor leagues
The man we often call Rougie was born February 3, 1994 in Maracaibo, a town in northwestern Venezuela. It is the second largest town in the nation, after the capital of Caracas. Rougned is hardly the first young man to make the Major Leagues from Maracaibo. Baseball is huge in central America, and the Major Leagues are certainly more competitive, and more exciting for players such as Rougie being a part of it all.
Rougned was introduced to baseball early in life, and always wanted to be a part of it. He excelled at baseball from a young age, and in 2009 was a part of the World Youth Baseball Championship team, as a 15 year old second baseman. He became a wealthy man before you could truly call him a man. The Texas Rangers signed him up to play professional baseball just before he turned 17 years old. He got $425 thousand dollars to sign a contract.
He went to the northwestern A ball league, where he was the youngest player in the entire league. The next year, 2012, he'd play in the south Atlantic A ball league. By 2013 he was with the Rangers AA Frisco RoughRiders. While triple A ball is where Big League teams usually dip into insofar as bringing someone up from goes, double A is also frequently used. In other words, sometimes players will go straight from double A to the Major League team.
For the 2013 season in the minor leagues, Odor would show himself a hitter. He batted .305, and he hit 11 home runs, 41 doubles, and batted in 78 runs. The production was rewarded with an invitation for Rougie to attend spring training with the Texas Rangers in 2014.
Rougie Odor making a play at second base for the Texas Rangers in 2014
2014 - Rougned Odor is the youngest player in Major League Baseball
Major League teams often invite a youngster to spring training as a sort of reward for doing well in the minor leagues the previous season. It is usually only meant as an award, a bit of recognition. In other words, the players shouldn't assume they're going to be on the Major League roster when the spring training is over with.
Rougie Odor would not be on the Texas Rangers roster after the conclusion of the 2014 spring training. But it wouldn't be long before he was called up to the Major Leagues. He made his debut with the Texas Rangers roster on May the 8th. He was 19 years old at the time, and the single youngest player in Major League Baseball. He was the youngest player in the Major Leagues for the entire 2014 season. He did quite well for one so young, hitting .259 with 9 home runs and 48 runs batted in - in 417 official at bats.
Highlights of Rougned Odor in 2015
Rougie Odor's 2015 season of excitement
In 2015 Rougie would start the season as the Rangers every day second baseman. The 2014 season had been a disaster for the team, they had a very poor record. But for Rougned Odor, the season was a wonderful opportunity. He earned the starting spot for the 2015 season, but he started the season with an awful showing at the batter's box.
A free swinger, Odor was swinging at every pitcher's first pitch. MLB pitchers are not dumb, and every player is scouted by the opposition's advanced scouts. So pitchers knew to just throw a pitch outside the strike zone to Odor on the first pitch, he was going to be swinging at it no matter what. So Odor was demoted in short order. He needed to work on taming his aggressiveness. Whatever was said to him down at triple A ball surely took hold, and proved effective. He regained his hitting stroke and then some. He was recalled on June 15, and brought a really visible fire back with him.
Rougned Odor is only 5 feet and 11 inches tall, and only weighs 195 pounds. Then again, this is roughly the same size of others who've gone on to produce some real power numbers in their careers. Last season we saw Odor hit some laser beam like line drive home runs. He's a legit power threat, kinda like Ian Kinsler who he replaced. For the 2015 season Odor would get 470 official at bats, hit .261, with 16 home runs and 60 runs batted in.
He'd get a chance to shine some in the post season too. Now fans all over the US and Canada know the name of Rougned Odor, and know how much he hustles to make things happen on the ball field. He didn't go without controversy though. When you play as aggressively as Odor does play, you will wind up making some enemies on other teams, and with their fans. Odor now has a bit of a reputation for what some call dirty slides, or take out slides.
Rougned Odor - he also serves as a living free weight for Prince Fielder to do squats with
2014 Topps Update Baseball #US-276 Rougned Odor Rookie Card
What can we expect from Rougie Odor in 2016?
The other day, just a day or two prior to the publication of this webpage, Odor hit 3 home runs in a spring training exhibition game. The Texas Rangers people were trying to figure out if anyone had done that before. You know how it goes, spring training doesn't count, so you get a lot of substitutions during the game. Anyway, it was impressive.
But Odor already has the starting second base position. It is his position to keep or lose, and absolutely nobody expects him to lose the job. Anyone could get injured. Barring injury, Odor is going to be there during the season. The fantasy baseball people are saying he's now the number 7 ranked second baseman in the Major Leagues. He's roughly 22 years old, and is expected to just get better and better.
Rougned is a very fast runner. He has yet to utilize his speed on the bases. In other words, his stolen base game is lacking, but it is being addressed this 2016 spring training, and pitchers and catchers for opposing teams had best be on the lookout for Rougie when he gets on base. He's fast, he's just not learned to read what a pitcher's intents are just yet. As we've said, he's a legitimate 20 home run guy. If he can get an instinct developed for base stealing, he could steal 20 or more bases this year.
Rougie has a short, compact swing, and a very quick bat. We've seen streaks where Odor can't seem to miss balls he swings at. If he turns into a perennial .300 or better hitter, it won't be a shock. What about defense? Odor is steady. People aren't thinking of him as a gold glove candidate, but those people are forgetting he's just 22 years old. Odor has the air of confidence about him you usually do not see in someone with his youth. He is likely to be the face of the Texas Rangers before the 2016 season is done. I'll be rooting for him every game, and you should too. Thanks for reading.