Look, this sounds like a broken record that keeps repeating itself in every Texas Rangers fan’s conversation.
It has always been, “we need to bench Rougie,” or it’s “Odor hasn’t done anything since his knockout punch on Bautista.”
The fact of the matter is, they’re right. Rougned Odor has not been the player that the Rangers signed to a multi-year contract back in 2017. Before he signed his contract, he hit .265 with 58 home runs and a .302 on-base percentage.
Not bad, of course, but then everyone knows what happens next. His batting average drops to .217 since 2017, his strikeout total continues to grow, but what’s even worse is his strikeout percentage. Out of 1,638 at-bats since 2017, he has struck out 483 times, which is 29% of his at bats that he is striking out.
Think about it, Rougned Odor has a higher strikeout percentage than he does batting average. Yet he continues to get the longer-than-necessary “leash” at the plate when you have young prospects waiting in line for their opportunity to shine.
Chris Woodward spoke about Odor before Sunday’s game vs the Angels:
“If he really continues to struggle and doesn’t hit balls hard, I will have to make a change at some point.”
This season, Odor has a .114 batting average with 16 strikeouts in 35 at bats. Before his hit in the final game of the recent Angels series, Odor was on an 0 for 16 streak. He went 1-4 with 3 strikeouts in the final game, continuing his normal Rougie ways, flashing a bit, then reverting back to his struggles.
Options for Replacing Rougie
Everyone has their guy that they want to have the next shot at overtaking second base, but who is a realistic option today that could help this team consistently in the lineup?
Nick Solak, acquired last season from Tampa Bay, is widely thought of an outfielder for the team but forget that he came up through the Rays’ farm system as an infielder. He has played 31.1 innings at second base this year, filling in nicely when asked upon.
He has yet to make an error at second base in 2019 or 2020 in 9 games played at the position. If Woodward pulls the cord on Rougie, Solak could be the best option who’s bat is more consistent than Odor’s. Solak is a career .271 hitter with a .376 OBP, which is what this lineup needs more of. Could we see Solak at second?
Anderson Tejeda is a name that flashed over the past week and has caught some eyes in his MLB debut with a 2-4 showing with a HR. He played second base in his only 2 games played, but he offers a new face and bat that could fill in when needed. Before the season, he never played above A-Ball in the farm system, but shined when thrust into the mix.
Wooward said that he liked Tejeda because “the kid has no fear at all… he saw 5 pitches and swung at all five of them.” Sure, at the plate you want a smart hitter, especially in certain situations. However, if Tejeda gets his opportunity again, don’t be surprised if he takes advantage of it again, adding to the legend of the young prospect.
Look, before you go off and say “he’s hurt or he wasn’t even doing that well before he got hurt,” let me point out that he couldn’t possibly do worse than what he has already done. Santana proved to be a great utility last season, playing in 17 games, 133.2 innings with only 3 errors. Defensively, Santana isn’t a liability, but his bat would need to come alive.
Santana could be activated Sunday after being put on the 10-Day IL, retroactive of July 30. But with his forearm injury, it’s still a long shot due to concerns about him being able to throw the ball without re-injuring it. If we see Santana getting a shot a second base when he gets back, it wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen, right?
Isiah Kiner-Falefa has come on nicely after a slow start, hitting .333 on the season. Now he’s already in the lineup, but if you switch him to second, move Frazier to 3rd (his more natural position), you could find a replacement with Rob Refsnyder at first base, who is hittinf .278 in 8 games this season. Sure, it’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s possible.
The season is full speed ahead, or as fast as it can get to at this point, and the Rangers are finally picking up some momentum as one can find in the consensus’ picks.
Changes could be made to help this team, and Odor could be benched sooner than later if he continues this trend.
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