It is 2021.
It is Spring Training again for Major League Baseball. It has been the first full Spring Training since 2019, as last year was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and eventually split in two.

This spring has started out with different challenges. Mike Minor was traded during the season in 2020, and Lance Lynn was dealt in the offseason. Texas lost their two best pitchers. But those weren’t the biggest deals that the Rangers made.

Texas ended up trading Elvis Andrus and a low-level catching prospect to the Oakland A’s for Khris Davis and top prospect catcher Jonah Heim.

Andrus had become expendable after it was announced that Isiah Kiner-Falefa would take over the everyday duties at shortstop. Manager Chris Woodward also stated that the team was ready to move on from Rougned Odor and replace him at second base with Nick Solak.

Odor was not one to go without a fight and ended up in a battle this spring for the starting position at third base (which Kiner-Falefa won the Gold Glove for in 2020).

Rougned Odor has impressed Woodward and his assistant coaches so far this spring with his glove and his bat. He is currently slashing .357/.400/.643 with one home run this spring. However, he has only had 14 at-bats, which means that it is just a small sample size for all players. He realizes that he is not constantly facing big-league talent every time he comes to the plate.

This, to me, still looks like the same old song and dance that we see every season. He has had an excellent spring and stumbles out of the gate when the regular season begins.

He should be entering his prime at age 27 but he has taken a downward trend over the past few seasons.

One example is his wOBA (weighted On Base Average). For those not familiar with wOBA it is a stat that applies values to how a player got on base versus the simple OBP. For example, a double is worth more than a single, a triple more than a double, etc.

This is how Odor has fared the past few seasons versus the league average.

Photo: FanGraphs

He was above average when he entered the league and then suddenly fell off. You can see his improvement after 2017, followed by the downward trend again in 2018.

Another advanced stat to look at is his BABIP or Batting Average of Balls In Play. This takes into account all batted balls minus home runs and strikeouts. Basically, any ball put into the field of play.

The next chart shows how his BABIP correlates to his wOBA.

Photo: FanGraphs

His BABIP trends downward even worse which is not good which means that he was getting on base but without a lot of extra base-hits.

While he may be the front runner to be the opening day starter at third base I would advise you to tap the brakes on him being in a Texas uniform all season.
I don’t see him trending back up in 2021. However, I will eat crow if necessary.

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