Rougned Odor

From BR Bullpen


Rougned Roberto Odor Zambrano
(Stinky, Roogie)

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 200 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Infielder Rougned Odor is the nephew of minor league manager Rouglas Odor, major leaguer Eddie Zambrano, Venezuelan League MVP Roberto Zambrano and AAA player Jose Zambrano. His younger brother, who is confusingly also named Rougned Odor was signed by the Texas Rangers early in 2015. The two namesakes formed a double play tandem for the first time at a Grapefruit League game on March 17, 2018.

Odor starred for Venezuela in the 2009 World Youth Championship, hitting .536/.545/.857 with 9 runs, 12 RBI and 5 steals in 7 games. He was 5th in the event in average (between Francisco Lindor and Guillermo Avilés), tied Chin-Lun Chang for 8th in slugging, tied for third in hits (13, behind Austin Cousino and JoMarcos Woods), tied Kun-Yu Wen for 6th in RBI, tied for second in homers (one behind Aviles), was 7th in total bases (between Guy Edmonds and Reydel Medina) and tied for second in steals (one behind Urving Kemp). He was named to the All-Star team for the tournament as the top second baseman.

In January 2011, he was signed for a $425,000 bonus by Texas Rangers scouts Rafic Saab and Mike Daly. He was sent to the Spokane Indians and hit .262/.323/.352 with 33 runs in 58 games despite being over 4 years younger than the Northwest League average. He led league second basemen with 119 putouts. Baseball America named him Texas' #9 prospect and as #7 in the NWL (between Matt Andriese and Jorge Alfaro). At age 18, he was starting in a full-season league, producing at a .259/.313/.400 clip with 19 steals in 29 tries for the Hickory Crawdads. Baseball America rated him as the top defensive second baseman in the South Atlantic League, as the 20th-best prospect in the SAL and as #11 in the Rangers' chain.

Odor had a strong 2013, hitting .305/.369/.454 with 33 doubles and 27 steals in 35 tries in 100 games for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans then .306/.354/.530 in 30 games after being promoted to the Frisco RoughRiders (where he was the youngest player in the Texas League. In the California-Carolina League All-Star Game, he hit 8th and played 2B for the Carolina League and went 1 for 5 with two runs in a 12-2 victory. He was among the Carolina League leaders in average (3rd, behind Michael Ohlman and Billy Burns), OBP (8th, between Kevan Smith and Drew Robinson), slugging (5th, between Smith and Adrian Nieto), OPS (4th, after Ohlman, Joe Wendle and Smith), steals (tied for 5th) and doubles (tied for 5th with David Rohm). He was named the league's All-Star second baseman. For the year, he was among the Texas minor league leaders in runs (3rd behind Ryan Rua and Joey Gallo), hits (156, 1st by 7 over Luis Sardinas), doubles (41, 1st by 5 over Chih-Hsien Chiang), RBI (5th, between Trever Adams and Yangervis Solarte), total bases (242, 2nd, 14 behind Gallo) and steals (32, tied for first with Sardinas and Jim Adduci Jr.). He was tied for third in the minors in doubles, behind only Brandon Drury and Tony Renda. Baseball America raised his prospect ratings: third in the Carolina League (after Lindor and Kyle Zimmer), fourth in the Texas League (trailing George Springer, Mike Foltynewicz and Yordano Ventura), first in the Rangers chain (slightly ahead of Alfaro) and #39 in all of baseball.

He struggled in winter ball in 2013-2014, hitting only .227/.279/.320 in his Venezuelan League debut with the Navegantes del Magallanes; he fielded .954 at 2B, which he split with Adonis Garcia. He began 2014 with the Frisco RoughRiders and was hitting .279/.314/.450 with 6 homers after 32 games.

He was called up to the big leagues on May 8, 2014, when the Rangers decided to shake up their line-up in the absence of Jurickson Profar, who had been slated to be the starter at second base but had been injured all season. His replacements, veteran back-ups Josh Wilson and Donnie Murphy, had hit little in his absence, so the call was made to Odor, who thus became the youngest player in the majors that season, and the first major leaguer to be born in 1994 when he made his debut. He went 0 for 4 against the Colorado Rockies in his first game (retired three times by Franklin Morales and once by Tommy Kahnle), then on May 9th, playing only his second game, was at the center of things when Yu Darvish made a bid for a no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox. After retiring the first 20 batters of the game, Darvish gave up a pop fly to shallow right to David Ortiz in the 7th; Odor backed up and RF Alex Rios raced in to catch the ball, but it fell between the two. Rios was charged with an error even though he did not touch the ball, a call from the official scorer that kept the no-hit bid alive. Ortiz came back to bat in the 9th and this time pulled a ground ball to Odor's left for a single. Rougned was playing in a defensive shift and would have had to field a routine grounder had he been in his normal position, but all teams used this sort of shift against the power-hitting lefthanded hitter Ortiz, who always pulls the pitch towards the right side of the field. Odor collected his first career hit in that game, a single off Clay Buchholz in the 4th. A few days later, Major League Baseball reversed the official scorer's call on Ortiz's 7th-inning blooper, giving him a hit. Rougned hit his first career homer on May 12th, connecting off Brad Peacock of the Houston Astros in a 4-0 win. On May 24th, he had a five-RBI night with two triples when the Rangers defeated the Detroit Tigers, 12 - 2. When he connected for a grand slam against Erasmo Ramirez of the Seattle Mariners on August 27th, he became the youngest player in Rangers history to do so, beating the previous record holder, Roy Howell, by over a full year. He ended up hitting .259/.297/.402 in 114 games, for an OPS+ of 96, as the team's regular second baseman, not bad numbers for such a young player who would have spent the season in the minors were it not for unexpected injuries. Of note, his 7 triples put him 8th in the American League.

As spring training opened in 2015, the Rangers got some bad news when they learned that Jurickson Profar would require surgery on his injured shoulder and would likely miss a second straight season of action, but that only served to confirm Rougned's position as the team's starter at second. However, plans changed as he had a very difficult start at the plate, hitting a mere .144 in his first 29 games. On May 9th, he was sent down to AAA while minor league veteran Tommy Field took over at second base. He found his stroke with Frisco, as he hit .352 with 12 doubles and 5 homers in 30 games. He was called back on June 15th, when Delino DeShields Jr. went on the disabled list and in his first game back that day hit a two-run single off Adam Liberatore that was key to a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He continued to hit well the rest of the way, finishing the season at .261 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in spite of his poor start. He then went 5 for 18 (.278) with a double and a homer and 7 runs scored as the Rangers lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in the Division Series.

On March 25, 2016, he had a three-homer game and drove in four runs in a Cactus League game against the San Diego Padres, giving more signs that he was a candidate for a break-out season. On May 15th, he was at the center of a major brawl between the Rangers and Blue Jays, in the 8th inning of the final meeting of the season between the two teams, who had maintained something of a feud since their meeting in the Division series the previous year. The brawl started when Jose Bautista, who had been hit by a fastball by Matt Bush to reach base, slid hard into Odor in an attempt to break up a potential double play. Bautista was called out, as was batter Justin Smoak, in an invocation of the "Chase Utley rule", but he and Odor came to blows, with Rougned landing a big punch on the Blue Jay slugger's jaw. A free-for-all ensued, and both Odor and Bautista were ejected. Three days later, Odor was handed an eight-game suspension, in addition to a fine of $5,000. The penalty was reduced to seven games on appeal. In spite of these shenanigans, he had a great season, hitting .271 in 150 games, with 33 doubles and as many homers. He scored 89 runs and drove in 88 as the Rangers posted the best record in the American League. In the Division Series, where the Rangers again faced the Blue Jays, he went 2 for 10 with a homer.

He played for the Venezuelan national team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was then offered a contract extension by the Rangers for a six-year deal worth $49.5 million, making him one of the cornerstones of the team's future. The contract also included an unusual clause, which was that the Rangers were to offer two horses to Rougned as a bonus. He started the 2017 season with a bang on April 3rd as he homered in his first two at-bats, in the 1st and 3rd innings against the Cleveland Indians, but the Rangers still lost the game, 8-5. He played in all 162 games that season, but generally the season was a disappointment as he hit just .204. The power was still there, with 30 homers and 75 RBIs, but his OPS+ truly reflected the drop in production, as it went from 105 to 64. His OPS was relatively low already because of his propensity not to take a walk, so that made it all the more surprising on August 2, 2018 when he became the first player in history to draw five non intentional walks in a game and also hit a home run. It came in a 17-8 win over the Baltimore Orioles; all three others who had had five walks and a homer in a game before him - Hank Aaron, Edgar Martinez and Mark McGwire - had seen at least one of the bases on balls be of the intentional variety. He played 129 games that season and hit a lot better, raising his OPS+ to 96. He hit .253 with 18 homers and 53 RBIs and improved his OBP from a laughable .252 to .326. He also led the American League in caught stealing with 12, in spite of stealing just 12 bases.

Rougned's fall began anew in 2019, as he led the American League with 178 strikeouts in 145 games. He did slug 30 doubles and 30 homers, but batted just .205 with an OBP of .283. He scored 77 runs and drove in 93, but that was mainly a result of being surrounded by better teammates (Joey Gallo, for one, had a tremendous first half), as his OPS+ was 79. He was still a liability on the basepaths with just 11 steals in 20 attempts. The bottom fell out of his production in 2020 as his batting average went well below the Mendoza Line, at .167, his OBP was a putrid .209, and his OPS+ was 61. He continued to hit the occasional home run - he had 10 in 38 games but contributed little else with the bat as the Rangers had a very poor season. In 2021, even though he had two years left on his contract, the Rangers decided to cut their losses after a tough spring training in which he batted just .200. He was designated for assignment on March 30th, just before the season started, and on April 6th was traded to the New York Yankees for a couple of prospects with Texas picking up almost all of the salary still due him. The Yankees were looking to him as a "depth player", if he could benefit from the "pinstripes bounce" that had extended the career of a number of other players who had completely lost their way before being rejuvenated in the Bronx. Moving to the Yankees meant that he had to shave the massive beard that had defined his look for the past few seasons, as the Yankees still had a policy banning facial hair. It was fair to say that he looked a full ten years younger after the shave. In his first game in pinstripes on April 11th, he delivered the game-winning hit with two outs in the top of the 10th against Collin McHugh of the Tampa Bay Rays to endear himself to his new fans. Given the Yankees' unending string of injuries that season, he turned out to be an important player, as a capable major leaguer able to play every day, at a number of positions, even if he still had issues with a low batting average and plentiful strikeouts. On August 21st, he cost himself a homer when he called for time in the 7th inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins; it was granted by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a fraction of a second before Ralph Garza's pitch. Odor, not realizing the timeout had been granted, slammed the ball out of the park for an apparent three-run homer, but it was ruled no pitch. Garza then proceeded to strike him out. In all, he played 102 games for the Yankees, hitting .202 with 15 homers and 39 RBIs, with an OPS+ of 82. He played both second and third base, depending on the need. In the Wild Card Game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on October 5th, he came in as a pinch-hitter for SS Andrew Velazquez in the 6th inning and stayed in the game at third base, going 0 for 2. It turned out to be his final game as a Yankee as on November 23rd, he was released when the team needed to trim its roster in anticipation of the 2021 Rule V Draft.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2016, 2017 & 2019)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2016, 2017 & 2019)


Further Reading[edit]

  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "With young reputation on the line, Rougned Odor 'can't change'", USA Today Sports, May 17, 2016. [1]
  • T.R. Sullivan: "Odor key to improving Rangers' offense: Second baseman showed power, now has to maintain consistency",, December 15, 2017. [2]

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