Odor could provide boost to Orioles' offense at 2nd base - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Odor could provide boost to Orioles’ offense at 2nd base

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee USA Today Sports

No position produced worse results for the Orioles in 2021 than second base. Kelvin Gutiérrez, Jahmai Jones, Domingo Leyba, Jorge Mateo, Rio Ruiz, Ramón Urias, Pat Valaika and Stevie Wilkerson combined for a .192 average and a .527 OPS.

Gutíerrez had only one at-bat as a second baseman, and got a hit. Of the others, only Mateo, who hit .255 when playing second in 16 games, had a respectable average.

Urías, who hit .304 with an .834 OPS as a shortstop, hit only .200 in 28 games at second. Jones, who is grappling with playing second after beginning his professional career as an outfielder, hit only .152 in 66 at-bats.

Valaika, who played second more than anyone else and is a free agent, hit .207 with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 64 games, by far the most on the team.

Urías and Gutiérrez are penciled in as the nominal shortstop and third baseman while Mateo and Jones remain on the 40-man roster.

When the Orioles signed Rougned Odor just before the Major League Baseball lockout began, there was disappointment among the fan base because of his recent lackluster seasons.

Last year, in 102 games with the New York Yankees, Odor hit .202 with a .665 OPS. He had 15 home runs and 39 RBIs. Those were far below his best career numbers, and he played 33 games at third base.

In Odor’s 65 games at second, he hit .232 with a .748 OPS. At third, where he played for the first time in his career, he hit .151 with three homers and eight RBIs.

Odor is more comfortable playing second, but his ability to play third was an attraction as well.

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Odor will turn 28 in February, and if he merely duplicates the numbers he put up at second for the Yankees, the Orioles will have made a wise investment. He’s owed $12.3 million in the final year of a four-year contract by the Texas Rangers, who dealt him to New York in April. The Rangers will pay $11.76 million, and the Orioles will pay the minimum salary.

Odor also has hit well at Oriole Park — a .294 average with two home runs and eight RBIs in 24 games.

A year ago, the Orioles hoped that Yolmer Sánchez, whom they had claimed on waivers from the Chicago White Sox, would be their starting second baseman. Sánchez was only a season removed from winning the Gold Glove in 2019, but it was obvious to the Orioles that he had regressed in spring training and was released. He signed with the Atlanta Braves and hit only .216 for Triple-A Gwinnett and never made it back to the majors.

Odor is one of just two left-handed hitting infielders on the 40-man roster. Terrin Vavra, who’s supposed to start the season at Triple-A Norfolk, is the other.

Interestingly, Odor hit better against left-handers (.227) than right-handers (.191) in 2021. For his career, Odor is slightly better against right-handers (.236) than against left-handers (.229).

Vavra, who was limited to just 48 games because of a back injury, played at Double-A Bowie when he was healthy, and he could be an option for second base later in the year.

Mateo, who also played shortstop, showed excellent speed before his season ended because of a back injury. His ability to play second, short, the outfield and pinch-run could make him a useful member of the team in 2022.

Two of the Orioles’ most promising infield prospects, Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg, who each played at Low-A Delmarva and High-A Aberdeen before concluding their seasons with Double-A Bowie, play shortstop and third base.

Their top prospect at second is Connor Norby, who was their second-round draft pick in 2021. Norby hit well at Delmarva (.283 in 26 games) after seven games in the Florida Complex League, but he’s not a prospect for 2022.

If Jones shows improvement offensively and defensively, and Mateo continues to play well, perhaps that squeezes Odor. But, for now, Odor, who hit 30 home runs and 93 RBIs while hitting .205 with a league-high 178 strikeouts for the Rangers in 2019, should be a favorite to be the Opening Day second baseman in 2022.

Notes: Last week, the Orioles signed six international free agents — right-handed pitchers Bryan Bautista, Darwin Caballero, Raynel Duran, Jarlin Guerrero and Wilton Rondon, and left-hander Noelin Cuevas. Guerrero’s signing was reported last week. … Maikel Franco, who was the Orioles’ starting third baseman for much of 2021 before his August release, signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals. … Roland Hemond, who was the Orioles’ general manager from 1988-1995, died at 92.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

 

 

 

 

 

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. WhyDoIBother

    December 14, 2021 at 7:43 am

    Let’s compare 2021:

    Player A 202/286/379/665 OPS+ 82 WAR 0.3 361 PA
    Player B 279/361/412/774 OPS+ 111 WAR 1.9 296 PA

    Raise your hand if you think Player A will provide an offensive boost over Player B.

    Thank you.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 14, 2021 at 8:00 am

      Joe, can you explain who Player B is?

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 14, 2021 at 11:19 am

        My money is on Ramo Urias. Why else woud he bother?

  2. Orial

    December 14, 2021 at 8:26 am

    I have absolutely nothing against the Odor signing. The roll-call of 2nd basemen mentioned above along with .202 being the new .242 means–why not? Are the bigger,high price candidates out there-maybe but for a stop-gap–why not? None of the prospects?(Henderson,Westburg,Norby)are ready so once again–why not?

  3. Orioles20

    December 14, 2021 at 8:27 am

    There were better options than odor. He might hit for some power but other than that it’s almost like watching Davis. I saw from Dan connoly that the orioles hired Brendan Fournie to be the baseball strategy director. What is that supposed to be? Is this the analyst they want to travel with Hyde and the team that Roch mentioned in MASN at the beginning of the offseason.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 14, 2021 at 8:40 am

      Too funny Al. Baseball Strategy Director? Hah.

      Throw the ball.
      Hit the ball.
      Catch the ball.

      What day of the month is payday?

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 14, 2021 at 11:22 am

        Apologies to #20 … ’twas not Al that brought our attention to the silliness of hiring a ‘strategy director’.

    • dlgruber1

      December 14, 2021 at 9:52 am

      Ah BRR, you’re showing your age by simply stating throw the ball, hit the ball and catch the ball. C’mon man, you know there so much more to it than that in today’s game. There’s the bat flip, the admiring the ball and then the trying to stretch a single into a double when it hits off the wall when you were SO sure it was gone. And lets not forget the adjusting all the jewelry and body armor between pitches. I mean, there’s a LOT of strategy in all that.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 14, 2021 at 11:23 am

        It’s like I’m Fred Flintstone’s favorite pet, eh?

    • Icterus fan

      December 14, 2021 at 3:11 pm

      Gruber1, love the list you’ve compiled. Let’s not forget keeping the shades on top of the bill of your cap while tracking fly balls – in the sun.

    • CalsPals

      December 14, 2021 at 4:51 pm

      Icty, totally agree, never seen anything more ridiculous, can’t understand other than they’re getting money to wear a brand, still makes no sense…go O’s…

    • Raymo

      December 14, 2021 at 7:10 pm

      Is anyone else surprised that they haven’t started wearing their hats backwards yet?

    • Icterus fan

      December 14, 2021 at 7:22 pm

      Please Raymo, no additional fashion ideas here!

  4. TxBirdFan

    December 14, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Rich – I have to respectfully disagree with you on Rougned. My disenchantment with Odor has nothing to do with his play as a Yankee. As a Rangers season ticket holder I saw him play here as a starter for 6 years, and the fan base couldn’t wait to get rid of him. He had some good years early on but then hit .204 in 2017, .205 in 2019, and .167 in 38 games in 2020 before being sent to the Yankees. Similar to Chris Davis, Odor lost his stroke and hasn’t been able to find it. I was ecstatic when he was traded to the Evil Empire where he batted only .202 in his new environs. Orioles Mgmt has to do much better than this. He’ll have a few good games but he’ll be gone by the All-Star break, and everyone on this team will be glad to see him go.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 14, 2021 at 9:51 am

      Tx, it’s simply a low-cost gamble. Odor is not going to be more than a half-season or perhaps full season stopgap until one of their prospects is ready to get a shot. If Mateo outplays him, that’s fine.

    • TxBirdFan

      December 14, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      I agree he’s a stopgap, but there has to be better character guys on the market that could be brought in at a similar salary. That was my point. When you go dumpster diving you typically wind up with garbage.

    • CalsPals

      December 14, 2021 at 4:54 pm

      I would take Valkaia over Odor in a heartbeat…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 14, 2021 at 5:15 pm

        I dunno …. I say put Pat V, Odor and Urias in a room and let ’em slug it out.

        • WorldlyView

          December 14, 2021 at 6:22 pm

          BRR, Having them fight it out is not the ideal solution. They would probably keep swinging and missing. Let the Baseball Strategy Director decide which one is least worst.

    • CalsPals

      December 14, 2021 at 6:28 pm

      WV, that’s hysterical & accurate…:)…go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      December 14, 2021 at 7:24 pm

      WV – congratulations- I actually did LOL when I read that.
      Post of the month.

      • WorldlyView

        December 14, 2021 at 10:05 pm

        Ict and CP, Thanks for the kind words. I must acknowledge the help provided by the Orioles’ management and ownership. Without their foibles, my snark would not have been possible…or necessary.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 14, 2021 at 8:43 am

    RIP Roland Hemond.

  6. Bman

    December 14, 2021 at 9:01 am

    I imagine we’ll see Vavra at some point possibly over the summer. Maybe Mateo and Gutierrez surprise. Os won’t turn the ship around till the pitching is satisfactory. That probably means Means, Rodriguez, Hall and Bradish in the rotation. Baumann in the rotation or the pen. And a top line free agent starter or two.

  7. mlbbirdfan

    December 14, 2021 at 9:08 am

    Odor is TERRIBLE. Imagine a player who bats 7 times, homers once, and strikes out the other six times. That’s Odor. Those are his career numbers. Now imagine he cannot get to any ground balls more than a few feet away from him. That’s Odor on defense in his career. Not to mention his brawl with Jose Bautista. Google that!

    Orioles are treading water; Odor will be a dead weight who will drown in his own incompetence. As a season-ticket holder, I continue to be nauseated by the decisions of Mike Elias and the Angelos Boys.

    • Raymo

      December 14, 2021 at 7:07 pm

      I remember Odor clocking Bautista, and I see it as a check mark in the plus column.

  8. Buzz1979

    December 14, 2021 at 10:45 am

    More HR than any other 2B over the last 7 years, oh, that’s terrible!? What was terrible was our 2B production, led by the likes of non MLB players like Wilkerson!

    • Icterus fan

      December 14, 2021 at 2:45 pm

      Easy Buzz, Wilkerson seems to have a fan club around here.
      And with Odor, well, it’s a done deal. Try not to cheer when he’s hitting homers out of our “bandbox”. It’s not long term, it cost us little, and hopefully soon we can see what our developmental players can do.

  9. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 14, 2021 at 11:43 am

    The Athletic gave the O’s a grade of D for it’s early offseason moves, or lack of.

    Jim Bowden writes: “They continue to follow a blueprint of “tanking” and hoping their top prospects like catcher Adley Rutschman will arrive in 2022 to help them win more games.”

    Of our future 2nd baseman this: “Odor, 27, is a below-average major leaguer.” …. ‘ nuff said

    This is how the rest of the country views this organization boys. How embarrassing.

    • TxBirdFan

      December 14, 2021 at 12:51 pm

      Right on Boog! The O’s have become the laughingstock of MLB. The Rangers lost 102 games last year, but instead of tanking for 4-5 years they went out and spent $500M on free agents that will put a competitive team on the field right away, while some of their prospects develop. I’m looking forward to watching them play next year. Can’t say the same about my Orioles.

      Drink Root Beer.

  10. Buzz1979

    December 14, 2021 at 12:33 pm

    More HR than any other 2B over the last 7 years!

    • Birdman

      December 14, 2021 at 1:16 pm

      Hanser Alberto had a better OBP and OPS than Odor each of the last 3 seasons.

  11. Phil770

    December 14, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    Hanser and Villar are still available.

  12. WorldlyView

    December 14, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    It’s come to this: We’re debating whether a barely marginal second baseman is going to make a measurable difference in what promises to be a well above 100 loss season. Sad. Furthermore, I’m losing confidence that Elias is an unstoppable super-genius in assembling a pennant contender.

    • CalsPals

      December 14, 2021 at 4:57 pm

      Why are we debating this signing, because it’s the only real FA Mikey has signed, we got nothing else to talk about, agreed, it is sad, that is now the level the O’s are operating at…go O’s…

  13. jimcarter

    December 15, 2021 at 11:28 am

    I COULD be struck by a meteor, but it’s unlikely. Players rarely improve with the Orioles. If there is a resurgence, it comes after they leave…especially with pitchers.

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