By: Rich Arleo 

CBS Local Sports, in our “30 Players 30 Days” spring training feature, profiles one young player from each Major League Baseball team leading up to opening day.

Rougned Odor, Second base, Texas Rangers

2014 season (Minors): 32 G, 129 AB, .279 BA, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 6 SB, .763 OPS

2014 season (Majors): 114 G, 386 AB, .259 BA, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 4 SB, .698 OPS

Not long ago, the second baseman of the future for the Rangers was mega-prospect Jurickson Profar. Before the 2013 season, Profar was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball by all the major publications. The Rangers had been making plans to make room for Profar since before 2012, when they traded Michael Young. Then a year later, they traded incumbent second baseman Ian Kinsler. It was all for Profar.

And then, Profar injured his shoulder. Then he re-injured it and missed the entire 2014 season, making room for Odor to have a surprisingly good rookie year at the age of 20. Then Profar underwent right labrum surgery earlier this year, and he will miss all of this season as well. Now, at 21 years old with almost a full season under his belt, Odor is ready to prove that it is he who is actually the Rangers’ second baseman of the future.

Odor began 2014 in Double-A, and after putting up a .279/.314/.450 line and showing off his combination of power and speed, the Rangers made the call. Odor skipped over Triple-A and made his big league debut on May 8. He would go on to have a serviceable rookie year on a terrible team. He showed off some pop with nine homers and 14 doubles, and a little bit of his speed on seven triples, but he struggled a bit as a basestealer and was caught on seven of 11 attempts. Odor was obviously a bit raw at the plate, but at 20 without a single game above Double-A under his belt heading into his MLB debut, that’s no shock.

The second baseman was signed as an amateur free agent in 2011 and ranked as the No. 42 prospect in baseball prior to last season after he hit 11 homers and stole 32 bases with a .305/.365/.474 slash line in 130 games between Class A Advanced and Double-A in ‘13. Considering how much of a hike in talent Odor faced jumping up to the Majors, he handled himself quite well and should only be getting better.

In his rookie year, Odor ranked seventh among second baseman in ISO (.142 isolated power), just behind the former Rangers Kinsler (.145), so the power potential is real. This spring, Odor has gone to work at the plate with a .382 average and 1.005 OPS through 16 games.

The ever-conservative Steamer projections have him with 12 homers and 12 steals this year, but 15 and 15 in a full season is a legitimate possibility. And if he gets better jumps this year, the number of steals could rise. ZiPs projection system is even more bullish, ranging Odor at 17 homers (the same number they have for Robinson Cano and Brian Dozier) and 15 steals with a .326 wOBA (weighted on-base average), good for 10th at his position. Those are all impressive projections, especially for a 21-year-old, and barring injury there is no reason we don’t see Odor build on his rookie season and cement himself as the Rangers’ starting second baseman.

 Rich Arleo is a freelance sports writer and editor who covers Major League Baseball and fantasy sports. You can follow him on Twitter, @Rarleo 

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