After a terrible season in 2017, and perhaps an even worse start to his 2018 campaign, Rougned Odor was pretty much left for dead in the hearts and minds of baseball fans with his contract extension already garnering mockery and despair and his place as a starring piece for the future of the Rangers was no longer assured.
It was incredibly deflating after back-to-back 2.5+ fWAR seasons in 2015 and 2016.
Slowly, but surely, with all the talk about the hard work he was putting in to make the adjustments necessary to reclaim his status as a big league weapon, Rougie has done it. Rougie is all the way back.
Odor has completely turned things around over the last couple of months. He cratered with an OPS of .544 in May and folks were starting to wonder if it was just time to finally install Jurickson Profar as the second baseman of the future.
Since then, however, Odor has improved each month with an OPS of .765 in June and now an OPS of .943 in July. He’s been red hot in the last two weeks which landed him the American League Player of the Week award the week after the All-Star break.
It seemed impossible after an injury and an OPS of .565 in April, but Rougie’s OPS for the season has climbed to .781 which is just barely behind Nomar Mazara’s .783 for second best on the team behind Shin-Soo Choo’s .877.
The turnaround culminated tonight with a 5-for-5 evening with two home runs (one of which came via an inside-the-park trot turned mad dash), a double, three runs scored, and two RBIs in a game started by Justin Verlander in Houston against the presumed World Series favorites.
Most of all, Rougie just looks like his old dangerous, agitating, feisty self again and that’s always and forever the best Rougie. When Rougie is annoying the opponent and their fans, instead of Rangers fans, he’s at his absolute best.
Player of the Game:
(A PotG hat tip to Ariel Jurado, as well, as the young righty claimed Cole Hamel’s spot in the rotation and pounded the zone with his sinker while allowing only a George Springer solo dinger (and who amongst us hasn’t?) in six innings of solid work in just his second career big league start against the reigning champion Astros. He can now call himself a winning Major League pitcher.)
Up Next: The Rangers actually go for a sweep of the Astros tomorrow in the final game between these two teams in 2018. Mike Minor makes the start for Texas while Houston will counter with RHP Lance McCullers Jr. First pitch from Minute Maid Park is scheduled for 1:10 pm CT.