After hitting at least 30 home runs in two straight seasons, Rougned Odor hit 18 home runs last season. Part of the reason was a hamstring injury that limited him to 129 games and a poor start to the season.
The Rangers second baseman might have fallen short in some areas, but some encouraging signs bode well for 2019.
Odor made his major league debut at age 20. He exploded in his third year in the majors with a .271 average, 89 runs, 33 home runs, 88 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 2016. The next season, the batting average dipped to .204, although he had 79 runs, 30 home runs, 75 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.
The concern was the plate discipline. Odor hardly ever walked with a three percent rate in 2016 and 4.9 percent in 2017.
While Odor had a 23.7 percent strikeout rate last season, he became more patient with an eight percent walk rate. He batted .253 with 76 runs, 18 home runs, 63 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 129 games.
Odor hurt his hamstring early in the season and took a while to get going. In the first half of the season, he batted .229 with 26 runs, four home runs, 19 RBIs and three stolen bases in 188 at-bats. Odor picked it up in July and August with a .302 average, 41 runs, 13 home runs, 41 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 192 at-bats before fading in September with a .202 average and one home run.
Odor has been a streaky player and last season’s August and September are the prime example. Odor had 30 RBIs in August and three in September.
The key things that stand out are his changes from the first half to the second half. He increased his line drive rate from 16.7 percent to 21.9 percent. The hard-hit rate rose from 39.5 percent to 50.3 percent. The contact rate increased from 72.1 percent to 80 percent.
The walk rate started to increase in the second half in 2017 to 6.3 percent. In the first half of 2018, he had a 7.6 percent walk rate, and it jumped to 8.4 percent.
Odor is slated to hit second and has an ADP of 147.45. He has two seasons of 30 home runs before the age of 25 and has at least 12 stolen bases in three straight seasons. Odor had a 45.2 percent hard-hit rate last season, a career high. He made improvements in the second half and has already produced good numbers when the plate discipline was poor.
Odor is a good target at second base for his price. There’s a good chance he can reach 30 home runs and 15 stolen bases.
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