What's That Odor?
If you were counting on Jurickson Profar to score 100 runs and be productive for the Texas Rangers in 2014, you should probably start perusing the waiver wire and crossing your fingers. The starting second baseman injured his throwing shoulder and will be out at least 10-12 weeks.
The Rangers had already spent a lot of energy this spring trying to piece together a pitching staff that, as of Opening Day, only has two starters (Yu Darvish and Martin Perez) that any other team would possibly want. Derek Holland is already hurt and may not be back until July, while Matt Harrison has a bad back and it’s anybody’s guess as to how long he will last.
2014 Season Outlook
But back to second base. There are a couple of journeymen directly behind Profar on the depth chart, but neither Adam Rosales nor Josh Wilson inspires very much confidence. Both of them are well over age 30 and have career batting averages well under .250. There’s also Kensuke Tanaka. He’s a career .286 hitter who has some speed (22 stolen bases in AAA last year with the San Francisco Giants’ organization), but he’s even older than Rosales and Wilson, and is probably more of a platoon player at this stage of his career. That may clear the way for Rougned Odor, who is only 20 but is nonetheless a great sleeper or late-round pickup for your fantasy draft.
Odor has played in just 30 games above High-A ball, but he’s looked very, very good in those 30 games. He had a .303/.362/.472 line in the minors last year, with 31 steals, to boot. He’s had a good spring, hitting .294 (5-for-17) through March 23. He has very little power, but the Rangers aren’t looking for someone with power for this spot in the lineup. They just need someone who can get on base ahead of Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, Alex Rios and the other guys on the wrecking crew. As a bonus, Odor is apparently a disruptive force once he gets on. He may have problems stealing bases against major league pitchers, at least in the early going, but he has that aggressive running style and first-to-third speed that helped the Rangers win two consecutive pennants earlier in this decade.
Truthfully, Profar may not have been the long-term answer at second base anyway. After a fast start, he finished with an OBP of just .301 last season. Odor is solid in the field and has the same upside that Profar had when he was at AA. Odor may not be in the Opening Day lineup, but after two or three weeks of fill-ins, expect the wunderkind to pick out his walk-up song at Globe Life Park.