SURPRISE, Ariz. -- For some Texas Rangers, spring training isn't about winning a spot on the big-league club. It's about getting a taste of what spring training is like on the major league side of the complex and learning from the players and coaches.
Rougned Odor is one of those prospects getting the opportunity to do just that. The 20-year-old is coming off an impressive season as the youngest player in the Carolina League (Class A) with Myrtle Beach. He hit .305 with a .369 on-base percentage and an .822 OPS. He had five homers and 59 RBIs in 377 at-bats and stole 27 bases (he was caught eight times). Of Odor's 115 hits, 42 of them were for extra bases. Odor played well enough that he was promoted to Double-A Frisco, where he hit. 306 with six homers and 19 RBIs in 134 at-bats. Again, he showed the ability to get extra-base hits (16 of his 41 were of that variety).
The Rangers like Odor's potential. He doesn't have great speed, but he's a good baserunner. His bat has stayed consistent and he's improving defensively (scouts say that's the area that needs the most work).
"I'm enjoying this and learning from Elvis (Andrus) and Adrian (Beltre)," Odor said. "It's little things I'm learning that can become big things. It's been great."
The Rangers have been impressed by how Odor has responded to being challenged. His bat didn't falter when he went to the tougher Double-A for the second half of last season, and there are many that expect he'll end up in Triple-A before the year is out (he'll probably start in Frisco, but nothing has been decided yet). He played with Luis Sardinas in Frisco and the two could be paired again (and if you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, do yourself a favor and check them out).
Odor has already caught the eye of the manager this spring.
"I like his game," skipper Ron Washington said. "He can play. He’s not afraid. We’ve got to get him to play just a little under control. And before this camp is over, we’ll get him under control.
"He’s got quick-twitch muscles. Like most young kids, they turn a double play or they start a double play and all they’ve got on their minds is rushing and getting it there and there’s timing. If the timing is right, there’s no rushing involved. We need to get him to develop a clock."
Odor echoed those same sentiments, a sign that he's listening and learning.