Who is Rougned Odor?
It's pronounced Roog-ned O-Dure. Yes, you can make jokes about smells - last week, Myrtle Beach ran a Rougned Odor scratch-n-sniff card night.
It turned out to be a good-bye present to the 19 year old second baseman. The day after the promotion, Odor was on his way to AA Frisco. This is noteworthy for several reasons. One is a 19-year-old in the Texas League tends to draw attention, as the league's median age is 24. Two, Odor was the youngest player in Hi-A baseball to start the season. He hit exactly .300 while down there. If Odor continues to hit while in AA, the timeline for his arrival in MLB starts to coincide eerily with the day the he can legally drink.
Rougned Odor will succeed because of:
Odor's hit tool is, at the worst, a plus; more rosy reports say plus-plus. As mentioned before, he hit .300 in Hi-A this year, as the youngest player in the league. More than that, he had a .368 on-base percentage (which would tie him for fifth among all MLB second basemen, for perspective) and a .450 slugging percentage (which would be fourth best).
He has another trait that's just downright loveable. His slugging has increased in each of the last three season, from .352 to .400 to .450. In his three games in Frisco, he's slugged .667. Insignificant due to the tiny sample but worth noting since it fits in the pattern and also is generally awesome. Despite escalating quality of competition and gulf between his age and the league average, players that adjust to the level of competition tend to succeed more than the guys who let competition adjust to them.
It's worth noting that his .300 batting average was fueled in part by a .351 Batting Average on Balls in Play- BABiP- that is likely to drop to the vagaries of luck, compounded by pitchers who place their pitches better and fielders who know their positions better in the higher levels. Not quite a red flag but something to watch.
Rougned Odor will fail because of:
A lack of a true superlative tool.
True, Odor's bat is good, and his glove is also good. His speed is good, and his batting eye is ok. His power has probably over-performed in games compared to what it really is, but we'll see.
All in all, that's a toolbox with one really good tool, and a lot of others that are good, but just don't stand out. It's possible that Odor highlights a rift between scouting and stats, because his production has always been great, while scouting reports return good-but-not-great grades.
That's why this last month in Frisco and the first half of next season are probably the most key points to his development. The jump from High-A to AA is the second most difficult mountain to climb in baseball (the jump from AAA to the major leagues is, by orders of magnitude, more difficult).
It's easy to see a drop off in BABiP, a continued rise in strikeouts (his strikeout percentage has risen, much like his slugging, over the last three years- 14.3%, 13.8%, 16.0%. Also like his slugging, his tiny sample size rate from Frisco is 21.4%. Meanwhile his walk rate has been fairly stagnant- 5%, 5.3%, 6%. And, because Roogie apparently loves patterns, 14.3% at Frisco.
Also, you might note a paucity of second-base prospects in baseball. This is because a good percentage MLB second basemen were shortstops in the minors. Roogie's played a few turns at shortstop, but he's made his bones at second. While playing 2B in the minors isn't a death sentence, it does close a few doors to him.
A baseball player Rougned Odor should remind you of:
It's lazy and it's sensationalist but, as a left-handed second baseman with above-average power for the position, it's easy to make the comparison to Robinson Cano. But, I don't think Odor's top-end of the development path would put him on Cano's level. I think Odor's going to be a good everyday second baseman, while Cano's one of the best players in the AL and has a good chance to be a Hall of Famer. A more realistic (but still pretty optimistic) name is Todd Walker who played from 1996-2007, with a career .289/.345/.435 triple slash line.
A retired professional wrestler Rougned Odor should remind you of:
I'm going to be completely honest here; when I came up with the whole silly pro-wrestler-comp thing, it was because of the natural comparison between Rougned and Razor Ramone. Razor used to introduce himself as the bad guy. Rougned once started a brawl by sliding into second base. Both Latin American guys, both fond of gold chains, both center their personas around machismo.
In fact, I think I like Roogie Ramone better than Roudned Odor . Razor Odor works, too, but it just seems kind of obscene.
For all your Odor-related puns, follow Joseph Ursery on Twitter at @thejoeursery.