2017 Projection: Why Rougned Odor Could Be A Prime Overdraft Candidate

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There’s going to be a lot of buzz around Rougned Odor entering 2017, and it is fair.  He’s going to be just 23-years old on Opening Day and has already shown just how good he could be with this gaudy 2016 line:

605 At Bats
.271 Batting Average (164 Hits)
33 Home Runs
88 RBI
89 Runs
14 Stolen Bases
.296 On Base Percentage
.502 Slugging Percentage
.297 Batting Average on Balls in Play

He showed power, speed and a solid average, so why would anyone be concerned?  He should be a slam dunk Top 5 option, right?  Those who saw our early second base rankings (click here to view) knows that’s not our feeling.  Why?  Let’s take a look:

The big question comes in regards to his plate discipline and whether or not he’s going to be able to make the necessary adjustments:

  • Line Drive Rate – 17.6%
  • SwStr% – 12.0%
  • O-Swing% – 41.8%

Obviously these numbers are going to have a significant impact on his batting average, with there being a good chance that his strike out rate rises (21.4%).  While it wasn’t an issue during his minor league career, there’s an obvious approach pitchers can take and the question is going to be if he can adjust to it.

This is where the questions about his power also come into effect.  Last season Odor hit 17 HR against fourseam fastballs, with 7 more coming against sinkers, cutters and split-fingered fastballs.  That means he hit a total of 9 HR against changeups, sliders and curveballs, and his averages against the pitches were sub par as well:

  • Changeups – .228
  • Sliders – .152
  • Curveballs – .253

A propensity to chase outside the strike zone plus his immense power against fastballs should lead to him seeing more and more offspeed pitchers/breaking balls.  The question is going to be if he can adjust, stop straying from the strike zone and make solid contact against them?  If he can’t, and it’s impossible to imagine that it all comes together so quickly, there are going to be struggles.  It’s not to say that he’s going to be a complete bust, as here is our early 2017 projection:

.258 (155-600), 29 HR, 85 RBI, 85 R, 14 SB, .296 BABIP, .295 OBP, .477 SLG

That would be a strong season, and definitely one to keep him among the Top 10 options in the league, but we’d also be hesitant to project him even matching his 2016 success (let alone taking another step forward).  It will come in time, but there are adjustments that need to be made and it’s a good bet that given last year’s numbers they come along slowly.  Don’t make the mistake and overreach for him.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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  1. Big Mike says:

    I’m banking on him. The lack of walks bothers me, but batting eye is one of those “old man skills” that comes to young ballplayers in time – walk rate generally increases constantly as a player ages. I think the game will continue to slow down for him and he’ll make some adjustments and get a little better control of the strike zone next year. Veteran 23-year-old keystoners who can hit 30+ HR don’t just grow on trees. I think he’s a top-3 2B next year, so I’m keeping him.

    If my assumption about walk rate and his ability to adjust is true, and he goes from his 3% walk rate from this year to a low but still better walk rate of 6% next year, what does that do to your projections?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Obviously that would improve the projection, but he’s given us little reason to think he will make that kind of jump. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I would anticipate there being more bumps along the road before he adjusts and turns the corner.

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