Rougned Odor’s Slow Start Should Not Surprise You

I’ve been receiving lots of questions about Rougned Odor lately, in the comments section of my weekly second-base posts. Being the fool that I occasionally am, I wrote up an entire post about Odor, without realizing that Ben Duronio did so less than a week ago. Thankfully, my views on Odor are at odds enough with Ben’s that I was able to retool the post you’re reading now into a counterpoint of sorts.

Like I said, I’ve been fielding plenty of questions about Odor, and understandably so. He’s off to a putrid start, slotting in as the No. 37 fantasy second baseman through the season’s first few weeks. He has just eight hits, good for a .140 batting average that has many owners in early-season panic mode.

The sample sizes are still so small that my views on the 21-year-old haven’t changed much. I’ll probably knock him down a couple notches in next month’s second-base rankings, but even if he keeps slumping, he’ll likely slot into the No. 18-20 range for me (I had him at No. 16 coming into the season).

Odor is clearly suffering from some degree of bad luck, as his .163 BABIP indicates. For a guy with a career .312 BABIP in the minors — and a .294 mark last year in the majors — I would imagine he’ll be able to hit in the .260 range rest-of-season. His on-base skills haven’t yet developed to the point where it’s reasonable to expect too much more than that, but his AVG won’t likely be killing owners like it is right now.

There is one troubling trend in his three-week data set, and it’s something that Brett Talley discussed in his October column on Odor. In that piece, Brett explains how Odor became less and less selective on offspeed pitches as the 2014 season progressed, which led to a corresponding increase in his whiff rate.

So far this season, it seems this trend has continued, and it’s not doing Odor any favors:

Pitch Category Count AB K BB HBP 1B 2B 3B HR BAA SLG ISO BABIP
Hard 208 47 10 4 4 5 3 1 1 .213 .383 .170 .250
Breaking 78 16 4 1 1 2 1 0 0 .188 .250 .063 .250
Offspeed 50 17 2 1 0 2 0 0 0 .118 .118 .000 .133

In the season’s first few weeks, opposing pitchers certainly seem to be attacking Odor with offspeed pitches outside the zone, and is it ever working. Odor has seen 128 non-fastballs this season — with only 28 of those pitches finding the strike zone:

plot_h_profile.php

Of the 100 offspeed pitches he’s seen outside the zone, Odor took a hack at 49 of them. It’s no surprise that he’s coming up empty so frequently:
plot_h_profile.php
As I said before, I’m still not ready to put much stock into the samples we’ve got to work with so far in 2015. However, Odor’s tendency to chase offspeed pitches was an already-existent problem that is only getting worse. He needs to make a serious adjustment to his approach, and pitchers will continue exploiting this weakness until he does.

Odor is still just 21 years old, so he remains an interesting piece for dynasty leagues. However, just looking at this year, it’s hard to see him as more than a fringe MI option in mixed leagues. He has a little bit of power and a little bit of speed, but not enough of either to make much of an impact at present. Furthermore, he usually bats in the bottom third of the order for the team with the second-worst OPS in the American League, which severely limits his run/RBI potential.

I’m not overreacting to his slow start — in fact, I’m barely reacting to it at all. The truth of the matter is that I’m not sure how much we should’ve been expecting from a still-raw 21-year-old who usually occupies the 8-hole for a bad baseball team.

We hoped you liked reading Rougned Odor’s Slow Start Should Not Surprise You by Scott Strandberg!

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Scott Strandberg started writing for Rotographs in 2013. He works in small business consultation, and he also writes A&E columns for The Norman Transcript newspaper. Scott lives in Seattle, WA.

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Buctober 2015
Guest
Buctober 2015

What’s more likely to happen? Travis keeps up his pace or odor turns it around?

KB
Guest
KB

Devon Travis isn’t going to hit .360 w/ 45 home runs this year, so he won’t keep up this pace. Odor will turn it around, how much so is the question. I think ultimately Travis is better than Odor ROS, just not as much better as he has been.