With a week of big league action now under his belt, Texas Rangers prospect Rougned Odor is a perfect target for today's Prospect of the Day.
Rougned Odor was signed by the Rangers out of Venezuela in January, 2011. He was well-known to scouts and had a good track record in international competition, but his physical tools drew mixed reviews and some scouts weren't quite sure what to make of him. The Rangers signed him for $425,000, not a small bonus but not a huge one, either. He hit .262/.323/.352 with 10 steals in 58 games for Spokane in the Northwest League that summer, very credible given that he was just 17 years old.
Moved up to Low-A Hickory in the South Atlantic League for 2012, Odor hit .259/.313/.400 with 10 homers, 25 walks, 65 strikeouts in 432 at-bats, and 19 steals. Although not spectacular on its face, that is a strong line for an 18 year old in a full season league. He took a larger step forward in 2013, hitting .305/.369/.454 in 100 games for High-A Myrtle Beach, then .306/.354/.530 in 30 games for Double-A Frisco. He hit .305 with 41 doubles and 11 homers overall, adding 32 steals to the mix.
As you know, Odor opened '14 back at Frisco, hitting .279/.314/.450 in 32 games before his promotion to the majors. He's hitting .182/.217/.318 in his first seven big league contests.
Odor is a 5-11, 170 pound left-handed hitter, born February 3, 1994 in Maracaibo, Venezuela. As noted in the history, he's risen extremely rapidly through the minor leagues, quite notable given that some experts felt when he signed that that the Rangers overpaid even with the $425,000 bonus. His physical tools didn't wow scouts when he was an amateur and showcase tools are often valued more highly than actual game performance on the international market.
Odor has laid any doubts about his tools to rest by showing solid overall baseball skills. He has a quick bat and surprising power for his size. Although he's a rather aggressive hitter and doesn't draw many walks, scouts like his swing and he should hit for average with moderate power. His running speed is just average but he's an adept and aggressive presence on the bases.
As a defender Odor fits very well at second base, showing sufficient quickness, range, and arm strength to be an above-average gloveman. He isn't yet, still needing to cut back on errors, but that should improve with experience. His work ethic is unquestioned and he is a fierce competitor. Sometimes he can be over-confident but that's a very minor concern that will improve with maturity.
Odor needs polish and big league pitchers are likely to take advantage of his aggressive hitting approach in the short run. Ideally he would get more time in Triple-A to put the finishing touches on his game, but circumstances forced his promotion and the Rangers (as they showed with Jurickson Profar last year) aren't afraid to push top prospects ahead of schedule if necessary. Although Odor may not make a huge impact immediately, he certainly ranks as one of the top infield prospects in the game.