Jurickson Profar will be out 10-12 weeks with a torn muscle in his shoulder, and Elvis Andrus still a few days away from being game ready, so it is natural to bring up the name of the Texas Rangers top prospect, Rougned Odor. But is he ready to be the opening day second baseman? While I don’t believe he is, he isn’t too far off, and should make his big league debut this season at just 20 years of age.
I have seen Odor a couple time this spring and have been impressed. He has all the makings of a good big leaguer but still has some fine tuning to do. He has a strong arm for a second baseman with good, fluid actions, but I have seen him struggle on plays to his backhand.
At the plate is where he can really shine. He was the youngest player in the High-A Carolina League on opening day of 2013, and put up a triple slash of .302/.364/.452 with 26 steals in 99 games. Late in the season he moved up to Double-A where he put up a better average and slugging percentage, all while still a teenager.
Odor has a very smooth swing from the left side of the plate that gets the bat to the ball very quickly, but I have seen him struggle against same-side pitching. He has a well controlled leg kick, but there is a chance pitchers at the highest level will be able to get him off balance at times, but he rarely gets too far out on his front foot for that to be a big detriment.
Despite being listed at 5’11″ and 170 lbs., his body looks mature for a 20-year old and, while he could certainly add some strength, I don’t see him adding a whole lot of weight in the future. I look forward to seeing him face more upper minors pitching, and if he succeeds there for a month or two, then a call up to the big leagues may be worthwhile.
Odor does not have a long term position with the Rangers as Andrus and Profar are locked up in the middle of the infield. He does not have the arm strength or power profile to be the heir apparent to Adrian Beltre at third base either, leaving Odor’s true value to the Rangers may come as a trade chip in July. An early season call-up before Odor is ready for the big leagues will hurt his value on the trade market, so look for the Rangers to go with a mix of Adam Rosales and Andy Parrino (who has looked really good on the minor league fields) at second base for at least the first month of the season.