Rougned Odor and the Stand-In Second Baseman

Bob Levey

The Rangers' youngster is in the bigs, playing, and healthy. The bigger-name guy there, Jurickson Profar, is none of those things.

(This is my second straight Wednesday writing about a Ranger. It was unplanned. But yay, team I like.)

Sometimes I figure out who to write about by surprise.

See, what I normally do - I think I've mentioned this before - is sort all players in the Yahoo! fantasy free-agent database by ownership percentage, and start clicking through until someone's percentage surprises me. Sometimes there's another reason - I already know who I'm shooting for on Friday, with or without Yahoo!'s help - but in general, that's the process.

Tuesday, though, the player whose ownership percentage stopped me was Jurickson Profar's. He's still owned in 42 percent of Yahoo! leagues, which makes a certain amount of sense-we're basically a year removed from Profar being the top prospect in baseball, and barely two months from him being the presumptive starting ranked as high as the No. 9 second baseman in our preseason consensus rankings. He's hurt now, but he'll likely be back by, what, the end of June? I can see why people would be hanging on to him.

Still, though, seeing that Profar is still reasonably widely owned made me wonder how widely owned the Rangers' current second baseman, Rougned Odor, is.

Three percent.

See, I don't understand that at all. I know he's been up only a few days, but I was expecting him to be owned in, what, a quarter of leagues at least?

Last week, the Rangers put Donnie Murphy on the DL and Josh Wilson on waivers, calling up Odor. Sure, they called up Luis Sardinas as well, but for now, it's Odor's job - he's started five of the team's six games since his arrival.

In 26 games, Murphy has put up a .211/.293/.296 slash line, with Murphy at .224/.257/.269 in 24. That's ... pretty danged special. So no, contrary to many of my posts, I'm not claiming Odor is a prime fantasy option strictly because of his likely full-time plate appearances. I mean, that helps, but it's more than that.

Odor was Keith Law's No. 64 prospect entering this season (there's a paywall there, and if you're one of those "I ain't payin' for no internet stuff" people, you're weird). The first sentence from that bio: "Odor doesn't have huge tools, but he has the one that counts, the hit tool ..." It's a pretty positive review, lemme tell ya. Our own prospect team didn't foresee him getting to the bigs this quickly, but had optimistic words to say whenever he did.

Only 20 (and only that as of February), Odor wasn't supposed to be up in the bigs this quickly. Then again, he's less than a year younger than his spirit brother Profar, who, you know, was up last year. Odor has decent power (more in the long run, but go check out his home run in Houston Monday) and speed (32 steals in the minors last year). His plate discipline isn't the same as Profar's, but in a standard 5x5 fantasy league, even that isn't going to do much to hurt you.

For right now, Odor is a starting second baseman. He profiles as a very slightly lesser version of what we thought Profar would be, with probably a little less batting average and pop and a little more speed.

A lot of injury situations feature an injured proven player replaced by a youngster. If, say, Robinson Cano or Evan Longoria goes down, and a youngster pops up to replace him, the youngster's performance is almost irrelevant - the star gets his job back when he's healthy. Profar is hitting .231/.301/.343 as a big-leaguer, disappointing considering his pedigree. No one is remotely giving up on him, and he'll be a big-leaguer when he's healthy. But, in this case, Odor's performance is relevant. He hits well, meets his potential a bit, then Profar might return to the Rangers in the same role he had in 2013 - super-utility guy, starting in any given position from one day to another.

It might not be enough to bump Odor into the upper echelon of fantasy second basemen for the rest of the season. There are a lot of wild cards in his 2014 prognosis. But Odor is currently the 40th most-owned second baseman in fantasy in Yahoo. Kolten Wong (minors) is owned more. Alexander Guerrero (minors, and no job waiting for him in the bigs) is owned more. Kelly Johnson, Dustin Ackley, and Dan Uggla are owned more. Brian Roberts. DJ LeMahieu. Brad Miller. I could go on, but all of these second basemen are players who I would at least seriously consider owning Odor over.

So, hey, fix that.

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