Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor has struggled with his plate discipline lately. Could this be a sign of future trouble?
Analytics are a phenomenon of the last decade or so. OPS wasn’t really a big thing until perhaps the last fifteen years or so. If you take a look at a guy’s stats, sometimes it looks like they are doing just fine or doing the same as they have ever done, but the analytics revolution has changed that narrative. You see something like run differential, usually a good predictor of wins, would have the Boston Red Sox (+84) miles ahead of the Baltimore Orioles (+28), but the O’s are one game ahead in the standings. While the wins predictor doesn’t always work, analytics for individual players can predict peaks and valleys more accurately.
Texas Ragners second baseman Rougned Odor is a player seemingly hitting just as he always has, all three slash lines right around his career norms (.262/.287/.455). A look deeper by Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs.com showed that Odor was the worst in the major leagues over the last 30 days in plate discipline.
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The typical major league hitter is swinging at 30 percent of pitches outside the strike zone (known as O-Swing %). Odor swung at 49 percent of such pitches in that time frame. At the same time, Odor swung at 55 percent of pitches inside the strike zone (Z-Swing% norm is 65%). This six percent difference between the two was first in the majors by a wide margin (ten percent).
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Odor is getting fewer fastballs to hit over the last 30 days as well. Only 43 % of the pitches he saw were fastball, the lowest rate in the majors. Pitchers know that he is willing to chase balls out of the zone so they are throwing him junk off the plate and he is chasing it.
What is noteworthy about these trends is that just over 30 days ago was Odor’s right cross to the face on Toronto Blue Jays slugger and demonstrative playoff bat flipper Jose Bautista. For a 22 year old player like Odor, who has not been a patient hitter over his career, this aggressiveness could come back to bite him at some point if he continues to chase junk out of the zone. One walk and 21 strikeouts over a 30 day span (seven walks in 244 plate appearances this season) is not a tolerable trend for a hitter. His lack of discipline in punching Bautista is carrying over to his reduced discipline at the plate. Is Odor pressing to make up for the seven games he missed or is this just a fluke?
would like have been playing in the majors for the two calendar years Odor has been in the majors if not for Profar’s succession of injuries over the past two seasons. Profar has been starting at third base recently since
‘s hamstring injury, but Beltre’s return tomorrow would put Profar in position limbo. Profar is hitting .333/.359/.493 in 78 plate appearances this season. They are going to want to keep Profar in the lineup and Odor’s lack of discipline could prevent Odor from improving on his .262/.287/.455 batting line.
Second base could be up for grabs if Odor does not start putting up better numbers. What will the Texas Rangers do?