When Ian Kinsler was shipped off to the Detroit Tigers before the 2014 season it was probably hard for both sides.
Kinsler was leaving the only organization that he ever knew while the Texas Rangers were losing the man that was their everyday second baseman since 2006.
The Rangers received slugger Prince Fielder in the deal, and he was expected to replace the production that Kinsler brought to the team. Kinsler hit 156 HR’s over an eight-season span while wearing a Rangers uniform, while posting two separate (09′ & 11′) 30-HR seasons.
Fielder did have a solid season for the Rangers in 2015 but that one good season was sandwiched in between two years that were cut short by nagging neck injuries. It ultimately cost him his career, actually so it’s fair to say at this point that the Tigers got the better end of the deal because while Fielder will never play professional baseball again, Kinsler has rarely missed any games over the past three seasons.
The original plan for Kinsler’s replacement was for the Rangers top prospect Jurickson Profar to be the second baseman of the future, but injuries to his right shoulder halted his progression a little.
In comes a 20-year old Venezuelan named Rougned Odor who was signed as an amateur free agent in 2011.
He was originally called up in May 14′ (probably before he was ready) due to an injury to starting second baseman Donnie Murphy and Josh Wilson getting designated for assignment.
Odor had a pretty solid rookie season, batting .259 with 9 homers and 48 RBI in a “lost” season for the team that dealt with non-stop injuries.
He started off the 15′ season on the Major League roster, but he struggled mightily with a .144 average, which led to him getting benched and eventually getting sent down to Triple-A.
He tore it up at Triple-A Round Rock during his demotion, batting .352 before getting the call-up to the majors about a month later.
He is living proof that getting sent down to the minors is not the worst thing in the world because he hit .291 while recording 15 homers and 52 RBI the rest of the season and helping the team reach the postseason.
This season, he has really taken off and has established himself as a powerful force in the middle of a lineup that also includes Mitch Moreland, Adrian Beltre and Ian Desmond.
He surprisingly leads this powerful lineup in home runs, with 27.
Not bad for a guy that is 5’11”, weighs 195 pounds and is only making a little north of $500,000 this season.
Your casual baseball fan may only recognize him from the punch heard around the world (sorry, Jose Bautista) but Odor is much more than that.
He has the confidence of a guy that’s twice his size and he has shown the power of the guy that Kinsler was traded for.
The second baseman position in the American League is absolutely stacked right now, with stars like Kinsler, Robinson Cano, Jose Altuve, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis and second-tier guys like Jonathan Schoop, Starlin Castro and Brian Dozier.
Odor may be in that second-tier category right now but he is trying very hard — and succeeding — to cement himself into that “superstar” status.
– Khristian Peel
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